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Are Little Habits Slowly Sabotaging Your Home’s Plumbing?


Most plumbing issues, like clogs and leaks, don’t just appear overnight. They slowly progress over time, though you only start to notice them once they become severe enough to cause noticeable symptoms. Often, homeowners’ bad habits contribute to the development of these plumbing issues. Are you engaging in any of these bad plumbing habits? If so, now is the time to break them.

Putting the Wrong Foods Down Your Disposal

Garbage disposals certainly make kitchen cleanup more convenient, but they’re not a license to put anything and everything down the drain. If you’re putting grease or greasy foods down your disposal, chances are good that your drain is developing a layer of congealed fat inside of it. It’s only a matter of time before the clog becomes severe enough to block the drain; it may grab onto other food particles and grow larger.

To avoid kitchen drain issues, never put the following down your disposal:

  • Fibrous foods like corn stalks and onion skins
  • Cigarette butts
  • Anything glass, metal, or paper
  • Expandable foods like rice and pasta
  • Coffee grounds

Always run cold water while putting foods down the disposal. This helps solidify any oils in the food so they get ground up, rather than sticking to the inside of the pipe.

Letting Hair Go Down the Shower Drain

Hair has the nasty habit of clinging to soap deposits on the insides of drain pipes. Then, before you know it, you have a thick, hairy clog that’s difficult to remove. Even if you have short hair, you should never let hair go down the shower drain. Spend a few dollars on drain baskets to keep in your shower drains, and empty them every couple of days.

Flushing Wipes and Feminine Hygiene Products

Feminine hygiene products may say “flushable” on the back, and so may wet wipes. But while these items may flow freely through a perfect plumbing system, not every plumbing system is perfect. Many homes have tree roots growing into their main sewer lines. Even if these roots themselves are not large enough to cause a blockage yet, they may grab onto items like wipes and feminine products, perpetuating a large clog.

A good rule of thumb is to only flush the three “p’s”: poop, pee, and paper. If you use wipes or other products, wrap them up and put them in the trash instead.

Relying Heavily on Drain Cleaner

While using chemical drain cleaner every few years may not cause substantial damage, reaching for these products every time you have a slow drain will lead to leaks and pipe damage. The main ingredient in these cleaners is hydrochloric acid, which slowly eats away at your pipes as it sits inside of them. Over time, your pipes become more prone to leaks and cracks.

If you make sure it’s completely sealed around the drain, a plunger will clear most clogs. If that does not work, try a biological drain cleaner. These cleaners contain enzymes and bacteria that break down the clogging material naturally and without damaging your pipes.

Landscaping Without Considering Your Plumbing

When you put in new trees and bushes, you really must take the location of your main sewer line into account. If you plant a tree or bush too close to the main line, it may only be a matter of years before the roots reach the line and begin growing into it. If you don’t know where your main sewer line is, ask your plumber to mark it for you the next time they come. Then, avoid planting trees or shrubs in that area.

Are you worried that your bad habits have been sabotaging your plumbing? Contact HELP to schedule a plumbing tune-up. We’ll check all of your drains, pipes, disposal traps, and other plumbing fixtures to detect and treat problems before they get worse.

Posted in: Plumbing

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