Plumbing is a tricky business. All those pipes, bolts, and tubes… it’s enough to drive you crazy! Luckily, plumbers are professionals who have been trained to deal with any issues you might run into. However, it’s inconvenient and expensive to call a plumber too often. That’s why we’ve taken the time to compile a list of basic things you should know to help you avoid plumbing mishaps.
1. Don't put oil down the drain
If you’ve just finished frying some chips, it’s tempting to dump that leftover oil down the drain for a quick clean-up. But don’t! When the oil gets cold it will solidify. So even if that vegetable oil you cooked with was liquid when it was over the stove and when it went down the sink, by the time it goes down through the pipes, it will get cold enough that it turns into a solid and can block your pipes. This is a difficult and messy clean-up, so let the oil cool and dispose of it in a plastic bottle.
2. Flushable wipes - not actually flushable!
Don’t flush any type of wipes or hygiene products down the toilet. Even if the wipes say flushable, it’s a lie. The vast majority of toilets are simply not equipped to handle these items, and it is extremely messy and expensive to retrieve a flushed item that has gotten stuck in the pipes. Stick to toilet paper or bin used wipes.
3. Own a toilet plunger and drain snake
Avoid using chemical drain cleaners as much as possible. Try using a drain snake first, which is a small pipe covered in bristles that can grab and break up clogs as well as removing hair. You can also prevent a lot of clogs, particularly in the shower, by regularly removing hair from the drain and surrounding area or even purchasing a hair catcher to prevent it from going down the pipes.
4. Frequent Inspections
Make sure you have your home’s plumbing inspected on a regular basis by a professional plumber. Aim for yearly inspections. Even if your home looks like it’s in perfect shape, these inspections will look for tiny cracks or leaks in plumbing and various connections. On top of that, they test for several things such as water pressure and water temperature to make sure they are just right.
5. Renter's tip
If you are a renter, make sure to ask your agent where the main water and sewer valves are to switch off your water and sewer lines, in case you or a plumber needs to do so. There’s nothing worse than a tap spraying water everywhere when you have no idea how to turn it off! They likely won’t tell you upfront, so ask and save yourself having to wipe down every surface later on.