Emergency Services

5 Plumbing Mistakes to Avoid

Copper pipes
Plumbing is one of the most essential aspects of modern living. Think about it for one second. How many times throughout the day do you use your home’s plumbing system? You use your plumbing when using the bathroom, doing laundry, even while you’re in the kitchen using the sink or dishwasher. It’s a big part of your life! Because of this, taking care of your plumbing system is crucial! You want to make sure to avoid doing certain things that will cause your system to deteriorate and stop working.

Plumbing problems can range from the routine and obvious to the severe. Yet, 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 innocent mistakes that ultimately take a toll on your pipes and drains. To ensure that such mistakes don’t lead to problems that may require a plumber’s help, here are five home plumbing mistakes to avoid.

1. Don’t Misuse Your Garbage Disposal

garbage disposal

Garbage disposals, contrary to their name, are not trash cans and should never be treated as such. All too often, though, people use their garbage disposals like trash compactors—putting everything they prepare in the kitchen into the disposal and thinking it will 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 or fibrous 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. Don’t Combine 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. Don’t Pour 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. Don’t Overweigh 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 while taking a bath. Take care to not overweight fixtures and always check them for secure connections.

5. Never Flush Household 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 should never go down the toilet. These large items can get stuck in the u-trap pipe and block the toilet. If this happens the toilet will have to be removed so the item can be retrieved. Often, people will try to plunge the toilet to remove the block, but that only worsens the problem and pushes 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. This is especially important to tell children! If you have a young child who is too young to understand this and likes to put things in the toilet for fun, make sure to monitor them extra carefully when they’re in the bathroom.

Call Shamrock Plumbing!

If you find yourself accidentally making one of the above mistakes, don’t worry. We know what to do and will make the necessary plumbing repairs to get your system back to working order. Call Shamrock Plumbing at 801-505-9505.

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