Needing a plumber in the Wasatch Front region can be inevitable if you are dealing with a dripping or ruptured pipe. But many times, you can avoid clogging your pipes or needing repairs for your garbage disposal, both of which can be pricey to repair.
Here are some of the most regular troubles our pros field calls about at Barlow Service Experts and how you can avoid them.
1. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes
Although they might be called “flushable wipes,” the ideal place for them is the trash. The only thing that should be flushed (other than the obvious) is toilet paper and septic treatments, if you use a septic system.
A Canadian study that tested 101 such wipes learned none of them passed a flushability test, according to Forbes. Since flushable wipes don’t dissolve like toilet paper, they can block your sewer line and lead to your toilet backing up.
They can also cause problems with city sewer systems or your septic tank. These wipes can combine with other gross things that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, including cooking fat and hygienic products, to create a fatberg. As well as being unsanitary and just plain gross, environmental nonprofit Green America says these masses are costly to get rid of. If you rely on a city sewer system, those are bills that could get assigned to you in the long run.
No matter what kind of wipe you’re using—makeup remover, cleansing, baby or sanitizing—it should be tossed in the trash once you’re finished.
2. Flushing Other Things That Belong in the Trash
Other than flushable wipes, there are several other things that don’t belong in your toilet. These include:
- Feminine hygiene products
- Makeup remover pads
- Cat litter
Together with wipes, these things can block your sewer line and back up your toilet, sticking you with a costly (and icky) mess.
3. Dropping in Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs
Using drop-in toilet fresheners might seem like a great way to keep your toilet bowl sanitary, but they can do more harm than good. These tablets usually contain chemicals, like bleach, which can eat through rubber parts in the tank. And as the tablets break down, they can plug the toilet and keep it from flushing.
4. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
If your sink is blocked, your initial reaction could be to get a cheap liquid drain cleaner. However, there are a few things you should know about these drain cleaners.
- They’re toxic. Drain cleaners are a toxic blend of chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. They also make severe fumes that can lead to respiratory irritation.
- They can corrode your pipes. If these cleaners can burn your skin, consider what they can do to your plumbing: corrosion, breaks and even failure.
- They’re harmful to the environment. As you can imagine, these substances aren’t very helpful for the environment.
- They might not even unclog your drain. Despite all the chemicals they include, drain cleaners sometimes don’t even work or only work for a short time. That’s due to the fact they often push the clog more into your plumbing until it results in a major problem.
If you do need to use a drain cleaner, we recommend using an enzymatic cleaner. These chemical-free cleaners use bacteria and enzymes to get rid of clogs and unpleasant odors. While they could require more time than a chemical-based cleaner, they’re healthier for you, your plumbing and the environment.
If you’re dealing with a strong clog that just won’t dissolve, calling a professional plumber like Barlow Service Experts is your wisest option for drain cleaning. While you can rent a drain auger or plumbing snake, it’s easier to have a pro perform the job. That way, you’ll also avoid breaking your pipes and a host of bad issues such as leaks, broken seals and unpleasant odors.
After your drain is working like it should, keep it that way by installing a screen to keep hair or food scraps from clogging it again.
5. Dumping Grease Down Your Sink
It may seem like it’s not a problem to dump a little bit of oil down your sink. But as time passes, that grease can build up and clog your pipes. If the grease finds its way into the sewer system, it can stick to flushable wipes and create a nasty fatberg like we discussed prior.
To prevent plumbing troubles, drain the fat into a can. After it solidifies, you can toss it in the garbage.
6. Using Your Garbage Disposal for Everything
Your garbage disposal is a useful tool for getting rid of small food scraps. But it can’t eliminate everything. To avoid malfunctions or clogs, we suggest not putting these things down your garbage disposal:
- Coffee grounds
- Pasta, oats, rice and bread
- Bones, nuts, pits and seeds
- Onions and potato peels
- Fibrous fruits and vegetables
If your garbage disposal smells bad, you can freshen it with citrus peels or a mix of baking soda and vinegar.
7. Ignoring Maintenance for Your Plumbing System
Similar to your heating and cooling system, your plumbing also requires annual maintenance. This service can help us spot minor issues before they lead to big problems, like a damaging water leak. Some of the problems we are on the lookout for involve:
- Correct water pressure
- Dripping or plugged pipes
- Adequately operating supply lines and plumbing fixtures such as sinks, tubs, showers and toilets
If you do notice a problem, such as a leaky sink or pipe, it’s crucial to get it taken care of right away before it gets bigger or results in damage.
8. Trying to Fix Your Plumbing Yourself
When you have a dripping pipe or a leaking washing machine, we recommend calling an Expert at Barlow Service Experts for leak repair before it gets bigger or leads to damage.
Fixing plumbing is a detailed job that’s best completed by professionals. There’s a reason why plumbers finish extensive certification and licensing. Don’t try to do water pipe repair on your own or get a handyman, since you could end up wasting time and having a pricier expensive problem.
9. Trying to Tune Up Your Water Heater Yourself
When it comes to your water heater, service and maintenance is best left to the pros. This includes draining it or checking the temperature and pressure valve. If this isn’t completed right, you could burn yourself with hot water or flood your home.
Professional water heater maintenance offers peace of mind that your water heater is operating properly. It also gives you notice ahead of time when it’s time to start thinking about water heater replacement, as they usually only operate for about 10 years.
10. Not Knowing Where the Water Main Shutoff Is
In the event your house has a big water leak, it’s essential to know where the main water valve is and how to switch it off. This valve is typically situated in a mechanical room near your water heater.
Here’s how to switch off the main water valve in your home:
- If it has a wheel: move it clockwise until you can’t anymore.
- If it has a lever: turn it about a quarter of the way.
If you’re don’t know where the valve is located, Barlow Service Experts can help you find it.
It’s also a good idea to install a water leak protection system that will turn on an alarm and cut off the water if there’s trouble. You can even get a smart system to monitor water use and alert you via your phone if there’s trouble.
Whatever plumbing problem you’re faced with, our Expert plumbers at Barlow Service Experts are ready to help you. And we’ll back our work with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee* for a year, so you’ll be sure that your repairs were completed correctly. Reach us at 801-436-8985 to schedule your appointment right away! *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.