One thing that many plumbers have found is that homeowners often don't fully understand their plumbing system. This lack of understanding leads to some pretty common mistakes that can actually be problematic for your plumbing system as well as your wallet. Here's a look at some of the things that you should know to ensure that you're not inadvertently contributing to your home's plumbing issues.
Invest In Grease Containers
One of the worst things for your plumbing is cooking grease. Whether it's lard, shortening, animal fat, or butter, these products are only liquid when heat is applied. If you drain the residual grease from cooking down your sink drains (or worse, flush it down the toilet), you're introducing that warm, liquid grease to a cool environment.
At standard temperatures, that grease will solidify again, this time on the inside of your pipes. Grease buildup is one of the most common culprits for slow drain issues, clogs, and backups. That's why it's important for you to invest in some grease containers that you can use specifically for draining grease into to keep it out of your drains.
Be Cautious About What You Flush
Many people view the toilet as a catch-all to flush things that they don't want to put in the trash. Everything from medication to wipes has become fodder for flushing in many households. The truth is that flushing these things is problematic.
Your plumbing system is designed specifically to handle water, human waste, and toilet paper. Anything beyond that should stay out of your toilet because you run the risk of creating serious clogs. Toilet paper is crafted to break down quickly in your pipes. Flushable wipes, medications, and other products aren't. That means that they take much longer to break down, if they break down at all, putting you at risk of creating clogs that can be costly to address.
Clean Your Disposal Properly
Many homeowners have heard the suggestion of using lemon peels to clean their garbage disposal. The idea is to run lemon peels through the disposal to clean the blades and leave your disposal smelling clean. While this method will leave your disposal smelling like lemons, it won't actually clean it the way that you think it will. In fact, it could even damage your disposal blades and pipes.
Lemons are highly acidic. That acid content can cause wear and damage to the metal disposal blades and your pipes. Additionally, lemons themselves won't necessarily clean particles and debris from your disposal blades. If you want to keep your blades clean and sharp without the risk of creating other problems, run a few ice cubes through the disposal periodically. You can also call your plumber and schedule a garbage disposal inspection and cleaning a couple of times a year.
Use Care When Clearing Clogs
With so many clog removal products on the market, many homeowners invest in a bottle or two for helping to clear slow drains. Unfortunately, some of those products can actually cause more harm than they help.
If you have a drain that's flowing slowly or seems to be clogged, start with a sink plunger first. This may create enough force to push the clog and break it free. A few attempts with the plunger will tell you if that's going to get the job done.
If not, you may decide to try using a clog removal product. If you do, it's important that you don't try to plunge the drain again afterward. You could push that clog remover back up the pipes. Since many clog removers are somewhat caustic, this could be hazardous to your well-being. In the event that you have to call a plumber to clear the blockage, make sure that you tell them if you have put a clog remover in the drain.
Reach out to a plumber for more information.