Plumbers get emergency calls for many reasons, from clogged sinks to burst pipes to sewage back-up. Although no one can predict when a sewer main will clog or a toilet flapper will fail, many of the most common plumbing calls could have been prevented with a little foresight and some knowledge of the home’s plumbing system.
Save yourself money and time: Check out these five things your plumber wishes you wouldn’t do.
Use Chemical Clog Busters
A chemical clog buster should never be your first choice when trying to loosen a stopped drain. If there’s something solid in the pipe, the corrosive chemicals may not be able to dissolve it, leaving you with a sink full of burbling liquid incrementally etching your pipes until the plumber arrives.
To unclog a drain, try a plunger, the old baking-soda-and-vinegar trick, a hefty dose of boiling water, or a drain snake. If none of these safe methods work, it’s time to call a professional.
Flush Non-Degradable Items Down The Toilet
Toilet paper is designed to degrade quickly, but facial tissues are not. Neither are wet-wipes or feminine hygiene products or baby diapers. All of these items can easily get caught in the sewer lines. The best rule-of-thumb for keeping your sewer lines clear and avoid messy toilet back-ups is to avoid flushing anything except toilet tissue and, well, you know.
Abuse The Garbage Disposal
Although garbage disposals may seem like mighty machines, their sleek metallic rotor blades chopping with alacrity, they are more delicate than you think. Fibrous materials like banana skins and artichokes can wrap around and strain the blades, and hard items such as chicken bones or stone-fruit pits can grind it to a full stop. Even pasta and potato skins shouldn’t be dumped into the disposal as these starches can swell and gum up the works. Make sure you know the dos and don’ts of proper garbage disposal use, and always flush liberally with water.
Neglect To Learn Location Of Water Shut-Off Valves
Should you find yourself in a situation where water is pouring from a burst pipe, faucet, or across your floor, your plumber will tell you to immediately shut off the flow of water to that area. Do you know where the water main valve is located in your house? Do you know where shut-off valves are located for your faucets, your water heater, or the outside hose bib? Learn their locations now so you won’t have to fumble in rain boots during an emergency.
Tackle Big Plumbing Jobs On Your Own
Homeowners often know how to take care of most simple plumbing issues, like changing a faulty toilet flapper or replacing a washer on a leaky faucet. A little mechanical know-how can go a long way.
But when it comes to bigger issues like installations, fiddling with your water heater’s pressure valve, or anything that involves sewage pipes or a blow torch, you’re served best by a licensed and trusted professional.