9 Things Plumbers Wish You Wouldn't Do
There are many things big and small that we do everyday that would make plumbing professionals cringe. While some might be minor nuisances, many are things that help prevent major problems that cost everyone excessive time, work and money. Taking a few extra steps in the short run can avoid a big hassle in the long run, so make sure to take note and think like a plumber would.
Ignoring the Problem
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is ignoring a plumbing problem. Even with minor instances that appear to be just little irritations, like a slow drip from the faucet or a toilet with a phantom flush, the damage can grow over time and eventually require major, unnecessary repairs or replacement.
Most small issues are things that can be corrected by the homeowners themselves with cleaning or other minor corrections. Simple fixtures can be replaced, such as a toilet flapper, and are fairly inexpensive to do so.
Taking On Too Much
Even for the experienced homeowner, there are instances that require professional help. While most homeowners are hesitant to spend the money on having a plumber come and correct the problem, it is important to consider the additional damage and cost if a mistake is made attempting to correct it on your own. If the damage is more involved or complex than you are comfortable with, call a local plumbing expert.
Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
Clogs from foreign objects used around sinks and drains are common and sometimes feel seemingly inevitable. Because of this, many solutions are readily available to homeowners at local stores. However, the most common among these, chemical drain cleaners, are actually the least recommended by most plumbers.
These drain cleaners are not as effective as presented for getting rid of clogs. The strong chemicals are harsh enough to cause damage to the pipes and equipment, including underground pipes that are difficult to access. These can cost in both time, space and money if repairs are needed, which heavily outweigh the temporary relief of the chemical drain cleaner.
Using Drop-In Tank Cleaners
Drop-in toilet tank cleaners are another quick solution to cleaning that sounds appealing but can cause serious damage to the entire system. The chemicals in the tablets can wear all of the various parts in the tank and cause accelerated aging in the entire system while waiting for use. On the other hand, if used too soon, they can get clogged in the pipes. It is best to stay away from use altogether to prevent costly and premature damage to the toilet.
Treating the Toilet Like a Trash Can
Out of sight, out of mind is a common thought process for many but just because something heads down the drain doesn't mean it quite makes it all the way out of the home. Q-tips, paper towels and feminine products can cause difficult clogs, even despite their small sizes. In addition, even things that are advertised as flushable are not completely so. The only thing that should be flushed is toilet paper and a trash can should be provided for the rest.
Forgetting the Hoses
It is very common for hoses for household machines like washers and dish washers to be forgotten, but they do require maintenance or replacement. These should be checked and inspected for damages often and replaced every five years to avoid accidents and flooding. Additionally, ensuring that stainless steel is used on every water line is important as this will reduce rusting and increase the life of the pipelines.
Overloading the Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals are a wonderful tool to get rid of scraps and keep excessive food waste out of landfills. However, they do have their limits. It is important to understand these limits before tossing everything down the kitchen sink. Bones, fibrous foods, pasta and coffee grounds are just a small selection of things that can damage or clog up a garbage disposal over time. Be sure to check the limitations of the current system and keep those foods out of the drain.
It's important to know about the plumbing system your home, especially where the main water valve is located. In the case of major plumbing emergencies, it is crucial to be able to get to these without hesitation. During the next service call, be sure to ask the location of the valve and other important parts for future reference.
Overextending the Water Heater
The average lifespan for a water heater is twelve years and they should not exceed fifteen before being replaced. The older they get, the greater the risk their is for failure and serious flooding. Though the water is a significant purchase, the damage they can cause adds much more.