Plumbing is a vital service that provides clean, fresh water to our homes and carries away waste. But it’s also an intricate system that can get clogged, corroded and leaky.
It’s important for homeowners to know a few basic plumbing tips and tricks. This will help them prevent and solve problems, such as clogged drains and leaking faucets.
Don’t Flush Anything But Toilet Paper
When it comes to plumbing, the toilet is an essential modern-day convenience that carries water from your home’s plumbing pipes into and from the fixtures in your bathroom. It also flushes away waste from sinks, bathtubs and toilets to the sewage system. Unfortunately, some of the things we flush down our toilets actually pose a threat to your plumbing and your home’s environment. These items can clog the drain lines and lead to sewer backups, which can cause major problems. If you want your pipes to work efficiently, it’s important to avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper.
Many people are confused about what is safe to flush and what is not. Thankfully, there is a simple rule: only flush toilet paper and waste. Anything else can clog the toilet and contaminate your home’s water. Some common household products that are often mistakenly flushed include cotton balls, cotton rounds, swabs, coffee filters, pet hair, photo chemicals, cleaners and toys. These items can clog pipes and lead to costly repairs and even environmental damage.
These items can also be a fire hazard, according to American Water. They also can clog toilets and cause sewer backups, which may result in health risks for your family. If you’re not sure whether an item is safe to flush, throw it in the trash instead of the toilet.
As an alternative to toilet paper, if you’re in a pinch, consider using a single-ply or septic-safe toilet tissue. This will help prevent soft clogs and keep your toilet working properly.
Another option is to use a paper towel or facial tissue and dispose of it in the garbage can. These items were designed to absorb and not dissolve in water, so they’re more likely to clog your drains than toilet paper is.
If you’re experiencing a blocked toilet, be prepared by keeping a few tools around the house. A plunger, drain snake and a bucket will help you get the job done right and avoid a messy repair. If the problem is too big to tackle alone, a plumber should be called in to clear the blockage and save your pipes.
Don’t Pour Grease or Oil Down Your Drains
Many people pour grease and oil down their drains without realizing that this is one of the worst things you can do for your plumbing. Grease does more than just clog your drains; it also wreaks havoc on your entire sewer system and garbage disposal. The problem is that when you pour cooking grease down your drain, it will cool and solidify, forming a sticky sludge that traps other debris that goes down the drain. It is for this reason that it is important to never pour grease or oil down your drains.
Some people think that they can avoid problems by running hot water down the drain when they are done cooking. This does not work because oil and hot water don’t mix. Additionally, when you pour hot water down the drain while the grease is still liquid, it coats the inside of the pipes and creates an ideal environment for clogs to develop.
If you are going to cook with grease, it is best to set it aside in a separate pan or jar until it solidifies. Then you can dump it in the trash and avoid plumbing problems in the future.
You might be wondering, “Can’t I just pour a little bit of dish soap down the drain?” Dish soap is made to break down grease and fats to make them easier to wash off of dishes, but it is not strong enough to dissolve grease that has already cooled and solidified in your pipes. Pouring grease and oil down your drains will only push the gummy substance further into your plumbing and cause more blockages.
If you have accidentally poured grease down your drain, it is a good idea to flush the lines with boiling water. To do this, start by pouring a half cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a half cup of white vinegar. The combination of these two substances will cause a chemical reaction that will produce bubbles that will help liquefy the grease and clear your drains. After the drain has been emptied, flush it again with a kettle of boiling water to get rid of any leftover grease.
Don’t Drill Holes in Your Walls
Many homeowners do a lot of work on their own around the house, and many of these projects involve drilling holes in their walls. While this is a great way to save money, it’s important to be very careful when drilling in your walls. If you accidentally puncture a pipe, it could lead to major water damage in your home. It can also be a health hazard.
It’s very easy to do this by not being careful when drilling in your walls. You should always use a drill that is made for the material you are drilling into. If you don’t, you may damage your wall or get yourself injured. It is also important to understand what the material your wall is made out of before starting a project. For example, masonry walls require a different kind of drill bit than wood or drywall.
You should also be aware of what pipes and wires are in your wall before you start drilling. It is very common for homeowners to hit these things when they drill into their walls. This can be a huge disaster. If you hit a pipe, it could cause extensive water damage in your home and be very expensive to fix. It is also very dangerous to hit electrical wires in your wall. You could electrocute yourself if you do this.
There are some things you can do to avoid this problem, though. First, you should turn off your electricity before you begin working. This will help to prevent any accidents from happening. It is also a good idea to check for electricity with a defices tester before you drill in your wall.
Finally, you should also use a stud finder to see what is behind your walls before you start drilling. This can be very helpful because it will tell you if there is something there that you shouldn’t drill into. You can find these at any hardware store.
When using a stud finder, you should try to look for studs that are either 16 or 24 inches apart. This will give you a better chance of hitting a stud and not a pipe or electrical wire. You should also double check that you’ve found a stud by looking for another stud-like thing either 16 or 24 inches away. If you don’t see one, then it is probably best to stop drilling and move on to a different area of the wall.
Don’t Dispose of Hair Down Your Drains
The average person sheds anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs every day. Those hairs can easily fall into your shower drain and become a major source of clogs. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to minimize the amount of hair that goes down your drains. For starters, brushing your hair before you shampoo will help to remove any loose hairs and prevent them from falling down the drain. You can also use a shower or bath drain cover to keep hairs from entering your pipes. Finally, you should make sure to regularly clean your drains so that they don’t become clogged.
When you notice that your bathtub drain is clogged with hair, it is important not to try and flush the hair down your toilet. Flushing hair down your toilet can clog the pipes and cause sewer backups. It can also pose a health risk as hair may harbor bacteria and other contaminants. Instead, you should try to dispose of hair in a trash can or compost pile rather than a toilet.
If you do notice a clog with hair in your drain, it is best to call a plumber before the problem becomes too serious. While many people will reach for a bottle of drain cleaner like Drano, this can actually create more problems than it solves. A better solution is to pour a solution of equal parts baking soda and white vinegar down the drain. Then, wait for 30 minutes and then pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to rinse away the solution and any remaining hair clog.
If you have a stubborn hair clog, you can try using an auger. This is a long tool that you can insert into your drain to break up and pull out the clog. While this isn’t the most pleasant task, it will save you money and time over having to call a plumber. If you can’t remove a clog with an auger, try using a pair of needle-nose pliers to grab and pull out the hair that has formed.