Let’s be honest, you don’t have to be a licensed plumber to tackle some small plumbing repairs around the house. Plenty of homeowners have the general skill to fix small leaks, tighten plumbing connections or change out vanities without the help of a professional.
But for some of us, a professional's help can provide some real peace of mind. Luckily, there are a few common pitfalls you can avoid to save yourself some serious money (and stress), while also preventing your plumbing system from getting damaged from everyday use.
1. Throwing trash in the garbage disposal
The garbage disposal is rather poorly named. While the convenience of a good garbage disposal can't be overstated, it is important to remember that you can't just throw anything down a disposal. Watermelon rinds, avocado peels, egg shells and potato peels are all common items that plumbers fish out of clogged garbage disposals.
Just because a food is biodegradable doesn’t mean it’s safe to put into the disposal. As a general rule, avoid grinding the following items:
- Fibrous vegetables, like celery, asparagus or corn husks
- Food that expands when wet, such as pasta and rice
- Anything that’s very greasy
- Animal bones
- Large quantities of any food
2. Flushing household items down the toilet
Many homeowners treat their toilets like alternative trash cans, but toilets are not designed to handle solid objects. Plumbers at Perma-Liner Industries, LLC explained that they couldn't possibly tell you the number of times they arrived at a home to find that a favorite toy or an excessive amount of toilet paper was flushed down the toilet by a guilty-looking toddler.
Not only can flushing something solid down a toilet cause a clog, it can also lead to backups, stoppages and even an overflowing toilet, which all can have much larger implications on the damage they can do to your home.
3. Relying on chemical drain cleaners
One of the most common problems that plumbers see is an overuse of chemical drain-cleaning products. While these products work well in a pinch, they rely on caustic liquid chemicals to push a solid blockage through the plumbing. This means that as soon as the cleaner can get through, it will move on, leaving the majority of the clog in place.
Over time, overuse of such cleaners can damage the inside of a pipe system leading to costly repairs. In addition, they are not environmentally-friendly. Instead of relying on chemical cleaners, either call a plumber or try your luck with a drain snake.
The better you take care of your home systems, the longer they will last. In addition, it’s always a good idea to know a few general plumbing fixes to help prevent damages before they happen.
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.