COVID-19 Actually Caused Significantly More Drain Clogs Than Ever BeforePosted By: Ed Miller
As we continue to get back to “normal life,” there’s a lot that the COVID-19 pandemic changed for the worse – and one of those things was the amount of drain clogs. As millions of people began to work from home in 2020 and family gatherings and events were canceled for virtual options, the amount of clogged drains actually went up significantly – more than they ever have.
But what caused this sudden surge of drain clogs throughout much of the world?
No Squares To Spare
When things began to pivot, toilet paper started to fly off the shelf, as residential bathroom usage increased. If there’s no toilet paper, people turn to other options for wiping purposes – but more on that later. It wasn’t just toilet paper that was vanishing, people were also grabbing all of the cleaning products to fight off any potential germs. Some of the wipes, rags and paper towels used with those cleaning products suffered the same fate as toilet-paper: getting flushed. It led to more backups. This is a reminder to never flush anything but toilet paper down your toilet.
A Change In (Work) Flow
Thanks to working from home, the majority of the population who had been using a variety of restrooms throughout the day, was suddenly using their household plumbing systems only. As a result, it created a much higher workload for residential drains. This drastic overnight change meant a lot more flushes and a vastly higher workload for household plumbing systems. It also exacerbated previously-existing plumbing issues, meaning a higher likelihood of sewer backups.
COVID In Our Drains
Did you know that COVID can be traced in our drains? In January 2021, daily samples taken at a Boston wastewater treatment plant showed a rise in COVID-19. Experts already knew that people excrete RNA copies of the virus and that it can be found in our waste but what they discovered was that these samples could help track and better prepare for upticks in COVID spreads throughout the community. This information, tested in Massachusetts, proved there is a direct relationship between COVID-19 in wastewater samples and known community cases.
Beware Of The “Flushables”
More and more companies are claiming their wipes and other sanitary products are flushable but consumers who take them at their word are causing huge problems for their homes and even their cities. Don’t believe it could be that bad? Recently, some cities have suffered from fatbergs, monstrous masses of solid waste of congealed fat and personal hygiene products. If that fat and those hygiene products make it through your drain system without clogging it, a much larger blockage could form in the main city sewer – and it could still disrupt your routine.
This “flushable” term is smart, but somewhat misleading, marketing. It merely means that it’s possible to flush them, not that it’s actually safe to flush them. That wording isn’t nearly as appealing on the package, though! By that logic, small toys and cell phones are “flushable.” See the problem? Just because the packaging says it’s flushable, does not mean we should put it down our drains. The only product that should ever accompany your waste is toilet paper!
Things might be almost back to normal these days but that’s not going to stop drain clogs! If you’re worried about what you were flushing while working from home, give us a call or schedule an appointment online and we’ll come out, for free, and assess your drain line.