We all want to save money whenever possible and being handy around the house is one way to keep more money in your pocket. Some of us are handier than others. It’s great to be handy but know your limitations or you could end up costing yourself some big bucks as well as time and aggravation. Here are six common plumbing mistakes made by homeowners. You’d be amazed at how many of our jobs involve fixing a mess caused by a DIY project gone wrong!
- ALWAYS TURN OFF THE WATER
This may sound obvious, but we see it a lot more than you’d imagine. Not turning off the water can lead to disastrous consequences including flooded floors, ruined carpets and household items as well as a huge clean up bill. Always turn off the water at the local shut off valve. If that’s not obvious then turn it off at the water main valve. When turning the water back on do so slowly so you don’t create a surge of water that can force leaks at weak joints.
- FLUSHING DEBRIS DOWN YOUR TOILET
The only thing that should ever be flushed down a toilet is waste and toilet paper. PERIOD. Even small items like ashtray waste can lead to clogged drains and overflowing toilets. If your home uses a septic tank system, flushing anything other than waste and toilet paper can lead to major septic problems. If you have small children be vigilant as they may want to experiment with what they can make disappear in the toilet. Fun for them and costly for you.
- WATCH WHAT YOU WASH DOWN YOUR SINKS DRAIN
One of the most common mistakes that professional plumbers deal with is a clogged drain. Washing bacon grease or other greases down the drain for convenience sake can lead to major sink and drain clogs. While it may be convenient at the time, it could lead to costly plumbing repairs. Remember most plumbers charge by the hour. Getting months of grease build up out of your drain could take hours and lead to a large and unnecessary plumbing bill. Take the time to dispose of grease properly and NEVER wash it down the sink. Other substances like leftover food particles, sauces, and even soft drinks can cause problems later. Water is the only thing your drain should ever encounter.
- USING TOO MUCH DRAIN CLEANER
Drain cleaning products are certainly a popular and easy to use alternative to calling a plumber. They can be very effective when used properly to rid of hair in a shower drain or get your kitchen sink unclogged. Just know that using them too often can lead to damaged pipes and drains. Drain cleaners use harsh chemicals to break up grease and solid wastes. Overuse can lead to the erosion of both metal and PVC pipes. A “GREEN” alternative is applying a ½ cup vinegar followed by a ½ cup baking soda and let sit. Wait about an hour and then flush with a pot of boiling water. A pipe snake from your local hardware store also works. Always read the labels of any drain cleaning product and only use where instructed.
- EXPOSED OUTDOOR PIPES IN WINTER
We’re blessed with a warm climate in Florida, but we do occasionally see the temperature plummet into the freezing range. While the pipes in your home should be fine, outdoor pipes are vulnerable and can potentially burst if not protected. If you have an exposed and unprotected backflow valve it’s a good idea to wrap it in insulation to protect it in those rare freezing conditions. You may also want to consider draining your irrigation system as freezing can cause pipes to crack and leaks in PVC joints.
- NOT CALLING A PROFESSIONAL PLUMBER
Depending on your level of experience there are simple plumbing repairs you may be able to perform in your home. For example, changing the flapper valve on a toilet won’t require calling a plumber for most people. However, when in doubt, the safe bet is to call in a professional. Even if you think you’ve fixed a problem, the fix may be temporary and lead to a greater problem down the road because of improper technique. If you’re faced with a plumbing problem and aren’t sure how to handle it, call the professionals at The Clean Plumbers for plumbing solutions you can count on.