When you have plumbing issues, you might turn to the internet to find quick and cheap solutions. While this might seem like a good idea, it’s important to make sure you have the right tools, the right products, and the right information before you start trying to solve your plumbing problems yourself.
Many times, our plumbing professionals receive calls after a homeowner has made a big plumbing mistake and made a problem worse. Trust the professionals at Chesterfield Service for expert plumbing advice and solutions for your home’s plumbing issues.
The Six Most Common Plumbing Mistakes Homeowners Make
It’s ok if you made one of these plumbing mistakes in the first place, but it’s good to know what’s right and what’s wrong so you can avoid doing these things again. If you’re ever uncomfortable trying to fix your plumbing yourself, you can always call your friends at Chesterfield Service for help.
1. Using Improper Tools to Break Up Clogs
Clogged drains can be gross and frustrating. Here are some tips to help unclog them:
Start with the Plunger – Plungers are great for clearing clogs in toilets, sinks, and even tubs. Make sure you have a plunger in your home for this reason. Avoid using tools like bent clothes hangers as they can cause more damage.
- Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners – Most chemical liquid drain cleaners are not strong enough to break up common clogs and can be dangerous for your indoor air quality (IAQ), family’s health, and the environment. In addition, a chemical drain cleaner can corrode your pipes and cause future leaks in your plumbing system.
- Don’t Use High-pressure Water – Don’t bring the garden hose or any other high-pressure water source into the home to tackle the job. Too much water pressure can break your indoor water lines.
- Use The Right Size Tools – You can purchase augers and plumbing snakes at your local hardware store, and they do a great job at breaking down clogs. But make sure you have the right sized auger. One size does not fit all of your drains.
- Empty the P-trap under the sink – For your sink clogs, check and empty the P-trap where many clogs reside.
If you attempt some basic plumbing repairs in your Missouri home, be sure you don’t use too much muscle on common adjustments.
For example, if you’re tightening supply tubes, fittings, pipes, or toilet bolts, be sure not to over-tighten them. It’s easy to break the fitting or at least weaken it which can lead to a cracked component or pipe down the road, leading to a potential flood. In some cases, overtightening the toilet bolts can actually damage or destroy a porcelain toilet.
Along the same lines, don’t force a stuck sink or toilet shut-off valve. If this valve has not been used for a long time, the stem packing seal usually adheres itself to the valve stem. To solve this problem correctly, use an adjustable wrench to gently loosen the nut. If you use too much muscle, you can break the knob as well as the valve steam, causing a larger problem.
3. Overloading the Garbage Disposal
Your garbage disposal is not meant to have food go down it. Your garbage disposal can jam and overheat if you force too much waste down it. If your disposal is clogged, shut it off and try to reach in it to remove any large pieces that are preventing it from working right. Be sure to turn off the breaker that controls the disposal before doing so. If you can’t feel the clog, then call a plumber.
4. Putting the Wrong Items in the Garbage Disposal
While it seems like your garbage disposal can destroy just about anything, there is a limit. Certain items can cause big clogs or damage to your disposal. Avoid putting these items down the disposal:
- Coffee grounds
- Pasta, rice, or bread
- Animal bones
- Nuts and shells
- Pits and seeds
- Onion layers
- Fruit or vegetable peels
- Grease, oil, and fat
- Non-food items
5. Flushing Inappropriate Items Down the Toilet
The only thing you should flush down the toilet is human waste and toilet paper. You should not flush any of the following items:
- Q-tips, cotton balls or other cotton products
- Baby wipes
- Sanitary napkins and tampons
- Dental floss
- Paper towels and tissues
- Cigarette butts
- Cat Litter
6. Not Using Drain Traps
Drain traps come in all shapes and sizes for your various drains. Soap scum and hair can quickly build up and cause your drains to clog. Use drain traps, and clean them on a regular basis.