10 Things Your Plumber Wants You to Quit Doing Now

Needing a plumber in the U.S. can be necessary if you are experiencing a dripping or broken pipe. But the majority of times, you can prevent clogging your pipes or breaking your garbage disposal, both of which can be costly to fix.

Here are some of the most regular issues our Experts receive calls about at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing and how you can stop them.

1. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes

Although they might be referred to as “flushable wipes,” the right place for them is the trash. The only thing that should be flushed (apart from the obvious) is toilet paper and septic treatments, if you rely on a septic system.

A Canadian study that tested 101 such wipes discovered they all failed a flushability test, according to Forbes. As flushable wipes don’t dissolve like toilet paper, they can block your sewer line and make your toilet back up.

They can also cause a lot of trouble to city sewer systems or your septic tank. These wipes can conglomerate with other gross things that shouldn’t go down the toilet, such as cooking fat and hygienic products, to create a fatberg. Besides being unsanitary and just plain gross, environmental nonprofit Green America says these blobs are expensive to fix. If you use a city sewer system, those are costs that could get shuffled to you in the long run.

No matter what type of wipe you’re using—makeup remover, cleansing, baby or sanitizing—it should be tossed in the trash once you’re done.

2. Flushing Other Things That Should Go in the Garbage

In addition to flushable wipes, there are a few other things that don’t belong in your toilet. These involve:

    • Feminine hygiene products
    • Makeup remover pads
    • Cat litter

In addition to wipes, these things can clog your sewer line and make your toilet run over, sticking you with an expensive (and nasty) mess.

3. Using Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs

Having drop-in toilet fresheners could seem like a smart way to keep your toilet bowl sanitary, but they can do more damage than good. These tablets usually contain chemicals, such as bleach, which can destroy rubber parts in the tank. And as the tablets melt, they can clog the toilet and keep it from flushing.

4. Dumping Chemical Drain Cleaners

If your sink is clogged, your first answer might be to purchase an inexpensive liquid drain cleaner. However, there are several things you should realize about these drain cleaners.

    1. They’re toxic. Drain cleaners are a toxic combination of chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. They also make powerful fumes that can lead to respiratory irritation.
    1. They can eat through your pipes. If these cleaners can burn your skin, imagine what they can do to your pipes: corrosion, fractures and even failure.
    1. They’re harmful to the environment. As you can figure out, these substances aren’t very good for the environment.
    1. They might not even unclog your drain. In spite of all the chemicals they include, drain cleaners sometimes don’t even work or only work for a limited time. That’s because they often move the clog further into your plumbing until it leads to a huge problem.

If you do need to use a drain cleaner, we recommend using an enzymatic cleaner. These chemical-free cleaners rely on bacteria and enzymes to get rid of clogs and bad odors. While they could require more time than a chemical-based cleaner, they’re safer for you, your plumbing and the environment.

If you’re dealing with a strong clog that just won’t break up, contacting a professional plumber like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is your wisest option for drain cleaning. While you can rent a drain auger or plumbing snake, it’s simpler to have a professional finish the job. That way, you’ll also skip breaking your pipes and many other bad issues like leaks, broken seals and horrible odors.

After your drain is working like it should, keep it that way by installing a screen to keep hair or food scraps from clogging it again.

5. Dumping Grease Down Your Sink

It might seem like it’s not a big deal to pour a small amount of oil down your pipes. But over time, that grease can accumulate and block your pipes. If the grease finds its way into the sewer system, it can stick to flushable wipes and develop a gross fatberg like we discussed previously.

To avoid plumbing issues, drain the oil into a container. After it hardens, you can dump it in the garbage.

6. Using Your Garbage Disposal for Everything

Your garbage disposal is a helpful tool for getting rid of tiny amounts of food waste. But it can’t break up everything. To avoid breakdowns or clogs, we recommend not putting these items down your garbage disposal:

    • Coffee grounds
    • Pasta, oats, rice and bread
    • Bones, nuts, pits and seeds
    • Eggshells
    • Onions and potato peels
    • Fibrous fruits and vegetables
    • Grease

If your garbage disposal smells bad, you can revive it with citrus peels or a combination of baking soda and vinegar.

7. Skipping Maintenance for Your Plumbing System

Similar to your heating and cooling system, your plumbing also has to have annual service. This service can help us spot small issues before they lead to big problems, like a damaging water leak. Some of the troubles we check for include:

    • Correct water pressure
    • Drippy or blocked pipes
    • Adequately functioning supply lines and plumbing fixtures such as sinks, tubs, showers and toilets

If you do find trouble, like a leaking sink or pipe, it’s critical to get it repaired without delay before it becomes bigger or leads to damage.

8. Attempting to Fix Your Plumbing Yourself

When you have a dripping pipe or a leaking washing machine, it’s important to call an Expert at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for leak repair before it gets worse or causes damage.

Mending plumbing is a detailed job that’s best completed by pros. There’s a reason why plumbers finish extensive certification and licensing. Don’t try water pipe repair yourself or call a handyman, since you could end up wasting time and having a pricier expensive problem.

9. Trying to Tune Up Your Water Heater on Your Own

When it comes to your water heater, service and upkeep is best left to the pros. This includes draining it or testing the temperature and pressure valve. If this isn’t completed right, you could burn yourself with boiling water or flood your home.

Pro water heater maintenance provides peace of mind that your water heater is running like it should. It also provides you advance notice when it’s time to start planning for water heater replacement, as they typically only run for about 10 years.

10. Not Knowing Where the Water Main Shutoff Is

In the event your residence has a big water leak, it’s important to know where the main water valve is and how to shut it off. This valve is usually situated in a mechanical room near your water heater.

Here’s how to shut off the main water valve in your residence:

    • If it has a wheel: circle it clockwise until you can’t anymore.
    • If it has a lever: move it about a quarter of the way.

If you’re are unsure about where the valve is located, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you find it.

It’s also a wise idea to get a water leak protection system that will turn on an alarm and turn off the water if there’s a problem. You can even use a smart system to monitor water use and notify you on your phone if there’s trouble.

Whatever plumbing trouble you’re faced with, our Expert plumbers at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are ready to assist you. And we’ll back our work with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee* for a year, so you’ll be sure that your repairs were done correctly. Give us a call at 866-397-3787 to book your appointment today!

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