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The last time my sink clogged up, I tried muscle power and the force of a plunger to unclog the drain. When that failed, I switched to liquid drain cleaner, then graduated to crystal drain cleaner and finally moved up to a thick gel. Nothing helped. At all. Finally, I called the plumber to come over and snake it.

We all know, clogged drains are the pits. Why can't they just not clog, right? Well, a company called PF WaterWorks claims to have a drain that does just that: it NEVER clogs! The see-through self-cleaning drain is called PermaFLOW. It costs only about $40 (less than I spent on the drain cleaner alone), and it's apparently it's a cinch to install yourself.

Here's how it works: The PermaFlow drain replaces a p-trap, which is the curved piece of metal or plastic under your kitchen or bathroom designed to allow waste and water to move through the drain and onto sewage system or septic tank. When you're finished using the sink, clean water settles down into the bottom of the trap and effectively seals the pipe off so sewer gases don't flow back up into your house, as they would with a straight pipe.

I'm all for that. A P-trap that blocks sewer gases is simply a beautiful concept, really. But there is a drawback. The p-trap is also a place for hair, food, and other debris to settle, maybe stick to the side like cholesterol in a vein, and eventually lead to clogging. With a regular p-trap, which is typically made of plastic or metal, you can't see what's going on inside. Butwith a PermaFLOW drain, you can see right through the material to the blockage. But when the trap gets clogged in a PermaFLOW fixture, you simply turn a handle on the side (which is sealed with six gaskets so it won't leak), and a paddle inside sweeps and moves the clog along its merry way. That means no more toxic drain-cleaning chemicals into the environment -- and no more headaches!

Another feature of the unit helps prevent clogs from forming in the first place. PermaFLOW is designed with a slight change in the angle of the p-trap's curve, which the company says creates a bit of turbulence inside the drain, moving debris around and denying it a chance to stay and chat.

PF Waterworks, the Houston company that developed and sells the PermaFLOW, is absolutely, almost freakishly, focused on this one thing: keeping your drains unclogged with the PermaFLOW. Maybe their website is a little flowery as they explain how their product "enhances the quality of your indoor environment and improves the long-term performance of your property, providing a significant value to the owner, the community and our environment." Hey, it's a drain, not a messiah.

But the company does have bragging rights. The PermaFLOW was introduced just a few years ago and it won a bunch of awards in 2008 from Popular Science (one of my personal favorite magazines), Professional Builder (another great publication), Kitchen and Bath Business, among others.

You can order the PermaFLOW drain online. The kit comes with the unit and everything you need to install it.

  • Ma

    The Permaflow seems to me, it is the best thing for my guest apartment, wich the kitchen think is allways clog. I'll order one very soo.

  • Ilene Ito

    Re: Perma-flow drain. So, what happens to the earring? I understand the dynamics of the system but it seems to me that if there is no clog at all and the earring or ring goes down the drain, there would be no need for the product. What if all that turbulence and moving the debris around thereby preventing a clog is the very thing that would save the earring, etc.? Hmmm. I'd have to give that product another thought. Sincerely,

  • Tom

    Their website seems to cover that issue.

  • 3 Comments / 1 Pages

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