Most of the time when your sink clogs or your toilet backs up, you only have yourself (or a family member) to blame. Many things on the market are advertised as flushable, but should never go down your toilet. You may also not be sure what’s okay to put down your sink drains. Plumbing issues can see you ankle deep in dirty water and on the phone to the plumber before you know it.
#1 Flushing things you shouldn’t
Other than the toilet paper you use to clean yourself up, nothing else should be flushed down your toilet, even if the product says it’s flushable. This includes tampons, disposable toilet scrubbing pads, cat litter (even if it promises that it won’t clog your pipes), Kleenex, moist towelettes, condoms, cotton balls, cotton swabs, cigarette butts, dental floss or Band-Aids. Limit what you flush to #1 and #2 and the least amount of toilet paper possible to clean yourself. Your toilet (and plumber) will thank you.
#2 Not minding your hair
Hair is the enemy of plumbing. Most of us lose an average of 100 hairs per day and many times, these end up in our drains. When you brush your hair, it goes down the sink. And when you shower or soak in the tub, hair goes down those drains. Hair is made of keratin, a protein so tough it forms the horn on a rhinoceros. The first step is to keep the hair out of your plumbing. Install a hair trap in your shower and sink and consider clipping your hair up when you soak in the tub. Hair you can see should be pulled out with a snake or your fingers. You may also need a chemical intervention to dissolve it.
#3 Overfeeding the garbage disposal
A garbage disposal is not a catch all that replaces your trash can. Some things just aren’t meant to go down there. Grease, oil and fats should definitely not be poured down the drain – they can congeal and clog your pipes. Also, skip fibrous items like onion skins, artichokes, celery or corn cobs or husks. A few potato peels are okay, but if you’re making a big family meal and will have a ton of peelings, give them to the compost pile instead. Potato starches can build up and block your drain. Be sure to always run water before, during and after using your disposal and put a little dish soap down the drain as well.
#4 Dumping non-organic materials down the drain
If you’re into DIY, that’s awesome, but you shouldn’t use your sinks as waste receptacles for your projects. Paint is one thing that should never go down your drain because it can clog your sink. Brushes are better cleaned in the garage with solvents or with a hose outdoors. Better yet, choose disposable brushes and paint pan liners so you don’t have to put anything at all down the drain. Spackle, paint thinner, motor oil and other chemicals can destroy your pipes and pollute our water supply.
#5 Repairing your own plumbing (unsuccessfully)
Have you seen this kitschy sign at an auto shop? It reads: labor charge $30 an hour, $50 if you worked on it first. The implication here is clear. If you monkey around with something without the know-how you can make things worse. For basic clogs that you can dissolve, snake or plunge out, it makes sense to try it yourself first. But for more complicated repair jobs, you’re better off calling in a trusted professional from the get-go. A skilled plumber can diagnose and fix your problem rapidly but it can cost more if they have to fix the original problem plus anything you broke trying to repair it yourself.
Call Paul Honeyman and his team of experts at Budget Sewer when you’ve got a sewer crisis. Trenchless repair and advanced video diagnostics save time, money and your lawn. Call us today for sewer help anywhere in the Seattle area at (206) 381-1904.