5 Plumbing Mistakes to Avoid
Home plumbing is one of the most important systems in the modern house. Taking care of this system and avoiding doing certain things will help keep this system in good condition and, above all, keep the plumber away. Plumbing problems can range from the routine and obvious to the severe, and many of these problems can be prevented from occurring in the first place with a little precaution and upkeep. Taking advantage of the convenience and ease of modern plumbing systems can often lead to innocuous mistakes that can ultimately take a toll on pipes and drains–leading to problems that may require a plumber to fix. Here are 5 home plumbing mistakes to avoid.
1. Misusing Garbage Disposals
Garbage disposals, contrary to their name, are not trash cans. Too often, however, people use their garbage disposals as trash compactors–putting everything they prepare in the kitchen into the disposal and watching it magically disappear–until it doesn’t. Garbage disposals are great for disposing of certain items, but not everything. There are a lot of food products that don’t belong in the disposal for their potential to damage or clog the blade. Rinds, peels, pits, and other hard food items should not be discarded in the garbage disposal. Over time, the blades of the disposal can become jammed or even break from the disposal of certain items. Be sure to throw away most items in the trash and only use the disposal for small scraps and items you know won’t damage the blades or clog the pipes.
2. Joining Dissimilar Metals
This is something that people without a knowledge of plumbing never consider, but something that is very important for safe home plumbing. When connecting different types of metals in plumbing pipes, it is essential to use the proper coupling. Two dissimilar metals connected without a special coupling, such as steel and copper, can quickly corrode at the connection point. This corrosion, known as dielectric corrosion, can become severe enough to close the pipe. Avoiding this potential problem means always connecting different metals with a dielectric union piece that separates the two metals with a rubber washer and plastic sleeve.
3. Pouring Construction Materials Down the Drain
This may seem like something you would never do, but this is a frequent cause of plumbing problems. After caulking some walls or adding a new coat of paint to a room, you may be tempted to wash off your tools in the sink and let all of the excess liquid and material run down the drain. Don’t do this. Compound substances or paint can easily build up in pipes, harden, and block the drain. Even when the liquid runs smoothly down the drain, it can still harden and clog the pipes later. Never empty construction materials or substances into drains. Dispose of them elsewhere and clean tools outdoors to avoid creating clogs or damage to home pipes and drains.
4. Overweighing Fixtures
This may not seem like a plumbing problem that you would ever confront at home, but it is more common than you may think. Placing excess weight on showerheads, faucets, or other fixtures can potentially break the fixture. A common method of storing soaps and shampoo in the shower is on a shower rack hung from the showerhead fixture. With enough weight, the fixture could be pulled out of the wall. The same goes for faucets you may rest your feet on. Take care to not overweight fixtures and always check them for secure connections.
5. Flushing Home Objects
Flushing household objects down the toilet is a great way to block the pipes and have an embarrassing conversation with a plumber. Toys and other items are not appropriate to go down the toilet. These large items can become stuck in the u-trap pipe and block the toilet. The toilet then has to be removed and the item retrieved. Often, people will try to plunge the toilet to remove the block, but only worsen the problem by pushing the item further into the waste line. The best way to prevent having to call the plumber to take your toilet apart to remove an obstructing object is to never discard household objects into the toilet. Be sure to tell this to kids as well.