Here are some helpful hints to avoid a plumbing emergency.
Not EVERYTHING can go down the garbage disposal.
The words “garbage disposal” may leave you with the impression that if you can fit it in the hole, it’s supposed to go in there. There are many things that could create a messy situation when they end up in the disposal.
- Fibrous foods like celery or lettuce can wrap around the blade and bind it.
- Oil and Grease will solidify and cause a stoppage.
- Rice and Pasta will expand with water and eventually clog your drain.
- Coffee grounds appear to go down the drain but often get caught in the p-trap and cause a blockage.
- Bones and fruit pits will dull or break the blades and create a mess that wont go down the drain anyhow.
- Anything left from home improvement projects does not go down the kitchen sink. If it hardens, it will cost a bundle to fix
Washing machine hoses do wear out.
Look your hoses over for cracks or rubbed spots. If they are worn or over 5 years old, replace them. It is a simple project to do on your own. If you’d rather have a professional handle it, we offer that as an additional service to our customers during their annual inspection. Ask your plumber if they could do the same.
Toilets are not made to flush away everything either.
It isn’t just the obvious toy or misplaced keys from the kids or dog that can cause a visit from your plumber. Cigarette butts, sanitary napkins, cleansing pads, etc… can cause a blocked toilet. Regardless of what the package says, toilet tissue is the only thing you should expect to flush. You should also teach children how much is too much.
Keep the tub and shower drains clean.
If you’re like me, you might find that there is a bit more hair at the drain than you had hoped for after each shower. If you have a drain with large holes in your stand up shower, change it. A shower and a tub have the same size pipe to drain the water. Just because you have what appears to be a large strainer in your shower doesn’t mean you can expect more to go down.
Test the main shut off valve.
It sounds minor but your main shut off valve is the first place you go if a major leak occurs. Occasionally shut the valve off and back on to make sure it works properly. WARNING: If you haven’t done this in a long time and you have a gate type valve, you could end up with a leak, especially if your area has hard water.
Cover your exterior plumbing during the freeze season.
They tell you on the news to cover your plants but a frozen pipe will make a much more expensive repair than replacing a plant. You can also allow the water to trickle through the line but don’t forget! Extreme weather is very hard on exterior plumbing.
Probably the very best thing to do is be prepared. When a plumbing emergency occurs it’s not often that you will have ample time to search for someone you know will offer you quality work at a fair price. Have an inspection done. Evaluate what they find. Do what you can at that point to prevent other issues and also evaluate their work. Continue your annual inspections, join a savings program if available, be proactive in keeping things working properly and you’ll be miles ahead of your neighbors that just wait for the unpleasant events to occur.