A plumbing problem
such as a leaking pipe or low water pressure can really affect your family schedule around the home. Regular daily tasks, such as cooking, showering, laundry and washing dishes, to name only a few, are all affected. Many people take their plumbing for granted; they are surprised when a problem occurs and yet they take no preventative measures to keep their plumbing in good shape. A regularly scheduled maintenance program can detect smaller issues and fix them before they turn into more significant problems. Let’s take a look at seven common plumbing mistakes that every home needs to avoid.
- Consider Low Water Pressure Issues
This is often a sign that there are too many plumbing appliances installed in the home for the plumbing system to handle. The demand outstrips the available supply, and this will lead to a low water pressure level. This can be even more annoying if you live in a neighborhood where this is normal, especially during higher demand periods. The more fixtures you have, the more you may be affected by lower water pressure problems. Contact your local certified plumber for some excellent advice on how you can improve your water pressure in the areas where you need it most.
- Don’t Crowd Plumbing Spaces
The plumbing pipes in your home need adequate room around them for easy and quick access. The clean-outs built into the plumbing system are designed for a plumber to get in and clear out and clogs from blocked pipes. If this space is blocked and there isn’t enough space to work in it can be a real problem. This is often the quickest and most direct way to clear out a clogged pipe and restore normal plumbing functions. If you add in other storage modifications such as cupboards and racks, you must leave enough room around plumbing pipes for access.
- Don’t Use a Drain for Garbage
A sink is designed for liquids to be used and then drain away after. They are not intended to deal with solid matter and putting solid material down the sink is an easy way to cause a blockage. Many people, pore grease and oil into their kitchen sink and they are then surprised when the water won’t drain away. The only sink that’s equipped to deal with waste is a kitchen sink that has a garbage disposal unit. Always ensure that solid debris is not placed into the drain and make sure that everyone in the family understands the importance.
Another common cause of clogs is hair in the bathroom, sinks, showers and tub drains can all be blocked with hair. Hair is great at forming clogs in drains, grease and other materials adhere to it and over time the clog will grow to slow the flow of water and eventually stop it altogether. This is why it’s a great idea to install hair traps in bathroom drains.
Here is a useful list of some common materials that you should never put down a sink drain.
- Oils, grease or fats of any kind
- Coffee grounds
- Broken eggshells
- Used kitchen paper towels
- “Flushable” wipes
- Cotton balls
- Motor oil
- Vegetable peelings
- Fruit pits
- Used cat litter (ignore the term “flushable”)
- Be Careful What Goes in the Toilet
Many people put all kinds of things in the toilet that simply don’t belong there. Kids are the main culprits; some of them have an endless desire to put clothes, toys and huge wads of toilet paper into the toilet. Adults are not off the hook; any plumber can tell some entertaining stories about items they have found in toilets, such as shoes, socks, and bathroom related items. Some of these items fall in when people are distracted, and they are not missed until the toilet is flushed. It’s easy to make mistakes, but the risks can be mitigated by avoiding clutter around the toilet area.
- Close Fixtures in Smaller Bathroom
If you add a bathroom, you may be working with a small area, and it’s important to match the plumbing fixtures to the available space carefully. Don’t cram a shower stall or tub into a space without leaving a gap around the toilet. There needs to be some space for a plumber to work in the event of a plumbing repair or emergency. People using the bathroom should be able to reach the fixtures without feeling cramped and uncomfortable. This advice is also useful for smaller kitchen additions; there should be room to work around the sink and enough space to load the dishwasher.
- Be Careful with Faucets
A dripping faucet is one of the most annoying plumbing issues, and it’s one of the easiest to fix. Anyone with some basic DIY knowledge can fix a drip, but it’s important to take a little care with the faucet. A typical modern faucet is functional, and it looks great, but they are easy to break if you apply too much pressure to them. The handle can easily become loose after a rough repair, and it could even break off entirely. Don’t use brute force to remove a faucet, be patient and take your time.
- Be Careful When Reassembling Fixtures
If you embark on fixing a minor plumbing issue yourself take care to document your progress carefully. Take plenty of pictures and notes as you go and be methodical in your approach. Have some containers on hand for any small parts and fitting, so they don’t get lost. This will be useful later, once the repair is completed it’s important to put everything back together in the correct order. If you lose your way or there is a part left over you can review your pictures and notes and troubleshoot where you went wrong.
Even if you treat your plumbing with kid gloves, there are times when an issue arises that requires immediate attention. This when it’s time to call a local certified plumber for expert assistance.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.