As I entered my new house, I could see how it had been ignored and abused. I silently cursed the friend who got everything ready for me and hated that I hadn’t paid much attention to the crucial things like plumbing.
Besides water stains on the bathroom floors, there were clogged drains, shower heads that just didn’t work and a toilet that kept running. In the kitchen, what was inside the cabinet under the sink was nothing but a nightmare. The area was full of mold, and the drain pipe was damaged. The water supply had an issue as well which I only couldn’t figure out. I had to call a plumber.
Ever since I have kept myself prepared for things I didn’t notice for the first time. Also, it was a horrible way to teach me how taking care of a house’s plumbing matters. I began to dig up more information about how to keep your home’s plumbing in good condition. Yes, I was obsessed, but for the greater good. Now, I can share what I have been learning and practicing.
Don't do these things if you want to avoid plumbing emergencies!
What’s more important than doing something good? It’s not to do the bad. If you’re purely lazy and don’t want to spend a dime on home maintenance, you should at least stop doing things that will ultimately cause damage to your plumbing and a significant expenditure on it. Here are some of the major things you should NOT do.
1 Grease is not for the garbage:
How many times did you pour the extra cooking oil down the drain? It often happens when you deep fry and then have no way to utilize the residue oil. This grease sticks to the pipe walls and acts like a hardened surface. It stays there for a long time, causing more clogs and restricted passage for water. By pouring the grease down the drain, you’re gradually stepping towards a major clog that will cost hundreds of dollars to fix.
2 Don’t flush the ‘flushable’ wipes:
Although a lot of products claim that they can are safe to go down the toilet, it’s far from the truth. The labels can be misguiding, and it’s worse if you don’t even care to read the label before flushing a piece of paper down the toilet. No, it doesn’t just go away. It swims for a long way and ultimately piles up. It isn’t a huge concern for a homeowner. There are fewer chances that these papers or wipes will block your toilet, but they’re a cause of worry for municipal waste management. Stick to just toilet paper. Don’t flush anything else in the toilet.
3 The exposed pipes aren’t clothing racks:
Using that set of pipes to hang wet clothes? Cool, eh! It’s not. Clothes, especially when wet, are heavy and pipes cannot bear the weight of such materials. They’ll ultimately burst and cause a lot of water damage. So, for your sake, leave those exposed pipes untouched.
4 Don’t abuse your garbage disposal:
Anything with a lot of fiber in it doesn’t go well down your garbage disposal. Celery, corn husks, coffee grounds - things like these must be put in the waste bin rather than in the garbage disposal.
Allow me to discuss garbage disposal in a bit more detail. If you haven’t got this appliance, you’re lucky. Trust me! Garbage disposal is a great device which can make our lives easier. But the problem happens when we misuse this and end up with clogged drains and lots of plumbing damages to fix.
While currently we’re discussing just don’ts, I would like to throw some light on things you should DO with the garbage disposal system. These are a few tips about how to use it efficiently followed by what not to do.
Keep it clean and grease free. While you’re disposing of food, pour in lots of cold water over it. It will solidify the fat that goes with the food and removes it. Otherwise, it will stick and cause further damage. Use the garbage disposal system often. If you buy it and let it rust, it won’t be good for the investment you made on this appliance.
- About the don’ts, understand that a garbage disposal system is made to dispose of biodegradable food items.
- Anything else than that will make it faulty.
- Things like plastic, glass, metal, cigarette butts and even paper should not go into the garbage disposal.
- Don’t pour a combustible liquid in it.
- No grease or oil.
- That’s why you need to stop pouring hot water or hot food items into it as the grease in these will liquefy, stick to the system and eventually disrupt its normal functioning.
- Be careful while disposing of the potatoes as the starch in them can make the blades stick.
- Don’t put big pieces of food into it. Cut them or chop them.
- Foods like pasta, spaghetti, and rice expand. They do the same when they enter the drains through the garbage disposal system and cause clogs. Try not to discard them off through this.
- Don’t use chemical laden drain cleaners to clean it. Borax is my favorite to clean up the garbage disposal system.
5 Don’t pour hot water in the toilet:
I know it's a superb idea to pour some water down the kitchen sink. I always do it for I believe it clears the drains. But doing the same with the toilet? No No! The toilet bowl is suitable for water at room temperature. Imagine what would happen if you put boiling water in a piece of glass which is, otherwise, kept at a freezing temperature. It’ll break. The same will happen to your toilet bowl if you try this DIY plumbing trick.
6 Don’t use drop-in toilet fresheners:
Trust me! I have no hard feelings toward companies that manufacture these. But several news reports and articles about this and I understood how such drop-in toilet fresheners contain harsh chemicals that corrode the toilet itself. Doesn’t sound good? Right?
7 Don’t try to fix frozen pipes:
It may sound very easy to fix a frozen pipe, but one small mistake and you can face damage worth thousands of dollars. Some jobs must be handled only by experts. Just don’t attempt it.
8 Don’t ignore a leak:
I can never overemphasize on how much water people waste due to some minor leaks. And let’s consider the situation when you only don’t care about wasting water. Let’s talk about what you care about - water bill. Water bills can become substantially bigger because of a minor leak. What is worse is when the leak goes undetected and is in the inner plumbing system. So, always be on a lookout. Stop ignoring the minor leaks. Get them fixed. And if your water bill suddenly rises, get your house inspected for an internal leak.
9 Don’t hire a handyman or become one yourself:
I agree! Most of this is a marketing gimmick to trick you into hiring a service pro you don’t need. But plumbing isn’t a job that can be done by a handyman or a DIYer. In fact, in some states in U.S., it is illegal to hire anyone but a licensed plumber for this job. You can invalidate your home insurance by hiring a handyman or messing up with the pipes yourself.
I think I have said enough. All the minor things which go unnoticed but land you in a plumbing emergency have been mentioned by yours truly in this post. I haven’t been doing you any favor. It’s my job to tell you about what I know and helps you make informed decisions when it comes to home maintenance.
You can also use this site to locate same day plumbing service professionals in your location. It will indeed make your life easier. It did mine!