Tips To Prevent A Plumbing Emergency
Plumbing issues can really put a damper on your day, especially when they occur at the most inopportune times. For example, picture yourself about to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner with your family. Grandpa is just about to carve the turkey when all of a sudden your plumbing backs up! What a mess! Your only option at this point is to call a plumber to come and fix the problem, but what if this could have all been prevented? Well, it probably could have!
Most emergencies occur during family gatherings around the holidays because there is a large amount of use on the plumbing in your home. The following are 10 easy things to do (and not to do) to avoid having to make that dreaded call to your plumber.
1. Don’t put grease down your drain! Grease solidifies and clogs drains very easily.
2. Don’t use your garbage disposal as a trash can and dump large amounts of food & scraps down it, they build up and will either cause it to back up or breakdown.
3. Always turn on the water before turning on the garbage disposal, and keep it running for at least 30 seconds after turning it off to wash the waste down the drain.
4. Try to scrape off as much scrap food on plates and dishes into the trash, before rinsing in your sink, and especially before entering your dishwasher.
5. Try to keep the area around your sink clear of any small objects such as utensils and other kitchen gadgets that can easily slip down the drain into the garbage disposal and/or pipes.
6. Don’t dispose of any paper towels, cleaning wipes, sanitary wipes, or sanitary napkins down the toilet. These almost always cause toilets to clog. (Tip: Avoid making these items available in guest bathrooms altogether, as guest bathrooms are usually the ones that get backed up first.)
7. Once every two weeks pour about 2 tablespoons of regular liquid dish soap (preferably w/ a degreaser) down the drain, followed by about 1 quart of boiling water. This will help cut down the grease and buildup in your pipes to help avoid future clogs.
8. If you begin to notice the water pressure on any of your faucets getting low, try this: Fill a small sandwich-sized baggie with vinegar. Put the baggie over the faucet so the facet is completely submerged in the vinegar, and tie it down with a rubber band or two. Leave it sitting overnight. That should break down the mineral build-up and clear the holes that caused the pressure to backup.
9. Don’t use a liquid drain cleaner if there is already a clog! Once the clog is past your drain, the harsh chemicals in liquid drain cleaner will sit in your pipes and eat away at them, which will eventually cause even bigger problems.
10. Instead, if you begin to notice a clog or water backing up, try this: Take out as much of the standing water as possible, then pour about 1 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by about 1 cup of vinegar. The bubbling action should cut through most clogs. Once the drain starts running, pour about 1 quart of boiling water down the drain to flush out the remaining material.
Just like your teeth, although prevention through brushing is always your best bet to avoid any problems, sometimes cavities still occur. In this case, although you may follow each of these steps religiously (or at least just a few), problems sometimes still have their way of rising to the surface.
In this case, don’t hesitate or wait until the last minute, give your local plumber a call as soon as possible to set up an appointment. You don’t want to end up knee-deep in brown water at your next big family gathering while the turkey is in the oven, so don’t forget these tips!
If it’s too late and you’re wishing you had read these tips a few days or weeks ago, most plumbing companies are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are available for emergency service as well. So don’t wait any longer, give them a call, and while they’re there, they’ll probably inspect your entire sewer system to check for any further problems. Don’t put their advice to shame. Get what they recommend needs to be fixed right away!
Emergency calls are expensive and you probably don’t want to end up paying them twice!
By Daniel Cordova