Have you ever wondered what your plumber is thinking about as they work away on your clogged sinks or damaged pipes? Although you might assume that they are evaluating the problem and making careful parts lists, your plumber might also be secretly chastising you for making simple plumbing mistakes. Here are three things your plumber wishes you wouldn't do:
1: Reaching For Chemical Drain Cleaner
Although most people figure that chemical drain cleaners are a cure-all for tough clogs, they actually work a little differently than you might think. Unlike acidic drain cleaners, which are typically only available to professional plumbers, commercially available drain cleaners work by heating up the standing water sitting inside of pipes. These drain cleaners usually come in a special bottle with two compartments, so that the chemicals mix together when you pour. As the chemicals combine, aluminum turnings react with sodium hydroxide to raise the standing water to a boil.
Unfortunately, while these drain cleaners are effective against greasy clogs that will melt away, they are completely useless against some types of clogs. For example, if your clog is caused by objects that aren't affected by heat, such as toy marbles or hair bands, that chemical drain cleaner won't free the clog. Chemical drain cleaners can also create a dangerous work environment for your plumber—especially if that standing water doesn't move. Last but not least, since chemical drain cleaners generate heat, they can soften and damage PVC pipes, creating the need for additional repairs.
To avoid problems, try to physically remove drain clogs before you use chemicals. Simple, easy-to-use plastic snakes can help you to pull hair and small objects out of a drain easily. If you have a wet/dry shop vacuum, you might even be able to suck debris out of a drain by creating a tight seal around the opening. If you can't remove the clog on your own, contact a professional plumber for help. By using snaking devices and high-powered cameras, they can quickly identify and resolve the clog.
2: Using Wet Wipes
Those wet wipes might make you feel clean, but they might be causing all kinds of problems for your plumbing. Although wipes might be advertised as "flushable," they can collect in tight curves, septic tanks, or main sewer lines. Believe it or not, city sewer officials in London, England removed a 15-ton, bus-sized mound of flushable wipes and grease from a main sewer line in 2013.
If you keep flushing wet wipes, your septic tank might fill up faster than it should, or your main sewer line might become hopelessly clogged. If you continue to flush, sewage might even regurgitate into your home—creating a messy flooding and health hazards for your family.
Fortunately, you might be able to avoid problems by skipping the wet-wipes altogether or throwing them in the trash instead of the toilet. Keep in mind that toilet paper is specifically formulated to tear apart and break down over time. If you want to feel cleaner, consider upgrading your toilet paper or moistening it slightly before use.
3: Ignoring Hard Water
After living with hard water for a while, you might not think twice about that non-lathering soap or those spots on your water glasses. Unfortunately, hard water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium that can coat the inside of your pipes—restricting water flow and increasing water pressure.
Although a little extra pressure might not seem like a problem, it can actually cause all kinds of problems. As water pushes through pipes, it can put extra strain on joinery and ultimately create leaks that are hidden behind walls.
To keep your pipes clean and healthy, consider installing a water softener if you have hard water. Water softeners typically cost between $1,000 and $2,000, but they last as long as 15 years and can double the life of your home appliances.
By being familiar with basic plumbing mistakes, you might be able to make your plumber's day a little easier and avoid serious issues. To learn more about how to prevent causing damage to your plumbing system, contact a plumbing company like Trenchless Pipe Technologies.
Keeping your home's plumbing system in good working order is a family job. Have you taught your kids what should never be flushed down the toilets or poured down the drains? Do your kids know what to watch for to know that there is a plumbing problem that needs to be addressed? If your kids know what to look for, they will be less likely to contribute to making a minor plumbing problem more serious. This blog will show you things that you should teach your kids so that everyone can work together to protect the entire plumbing system in your home.