The Top 10 Things Your Plumber Doesnt Want You to Do

Requiring a plumber in Grand Island can be unavoidable if you are experiencing a drippy or burst pipe. But many times, you can prevent clogging your pipes or breaking your garbage disposal, both of which can be costly to take care of.

Here are some of the most frequent issues our plumbers field calls about at McElroy Service Experts and how you can avoid them.

1. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes

Despite the fact they might be known as “flushable wipes,” the best spot for them is the garbage. The only thing that should be flushed (apart from the obvious) is toilet paper and septic treatments, if you have a septic system.

A Canadian study that looked at 101 such wipes found they all didn’t pass a flushability test, according to Forbes. Since flushable wipes don’t disintegrate like toilet paper, they can block your sewer line and make your toilet back up.

They can also cause problems with city sewer systems or your septic tank. These wipes can combine with other yucky things that shouldn’t go down the toilet, such as cooking fat and hygienic products, to lead to a fatberg. In addition to being unsanitary and just plain nasty, environmental nonprofit Green America says these buildups are expensive to repair. If you’re on a city sewer system, those are bills that could get passed on to you in the future.

Whichever style of wipe you’re using—makeup remover, cleansing, baby or sanitizing—it should be tossed in the trash once you’re complete.

2. Flushing Other Things That Should Be Tossed in the Garbage

Other than flushable wipes, there are several other things that don’t belong in your toilet. These involve:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Makeup remover pads
  • Cat litter

Like wipes, these things can block your sewer line and overflow your toilet, saddling you with an expensive (and gross) mess.

3. Dropping in Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs

Using drop-in toilet fresheners could seem like a smart way to keep your toilet bowl clean, but they might do more harm than good. These tablets usually contain chemicals, such as bleach, which can wreck rubber parts in the tank. And as the tablets melt, they can plug the toilet and prevent it from flushing.

4. Dumping Chemical Drain Cleaners

If your sink is blocked, your first response might be to get an inexpensive liquid drain cleaner. However, there are a few things you should be aware of when it involves these drain cleaners.

  1. They’re poisonous. Drain cleaners are a toxic combination of chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. They also produce powerful fumes that can result in respiratory irritation. 
  2. They can eat through your pipes. If these cleaners can burn your skin, think about what they can do to your piping: corrosion, cracks and even failure. 
  3. They’re not good for the environment. As you can figure out, these chemicals aren’t very good for the environment. 
  4. They might not even unplug your drain. Regardless of all the chemicals they have, drain cleaners sometimes don’t even work or only work for a short time. That’s since they often force the clog further into your plumbing until it results in a big problem.

If you do need to use a drain cleaner, we advise using an enzymatic cleaner. These chemical-free cleaners have bacteria and enzymes to break up clogs and unpleasant odors. While they can work more slowly than a chemical-based cleaner, they’re better for you, your plumbing and the environment.

If you have a difficult clog that just won’t break up, getting in touch with a professional plumber like McElroy Service Experts is your best option for drain cleaning. While you can rent a drain auger or plumbing snake, it’s faster to have an Expert complete the job. That way, you’ll also prevent harming your pipes and a wide variety of troublesome issues including leaks, nonworking seals and troublesome odors.

After your drain is clear, keep it that way by installing a screen to keep hair or food scraps from blocking it again.

5. Dumping Grease Down Your Sink

It could seem like it’s not a problem to pour a tiny bit of fat down your pipes. But as the years go by, that grease can accumulate and plug your pipes. If the grease leaks into the sewer system, it can cling to flushable wipes and lead to a nasty fatberg like we discussed prior.

To avoid plumbing issues, drain the fat into a bowl. After it solidifies, you can dump it in the garbage.

6. Using Your Garbage Disposal for Everything

Your garbage disposal is a helpful tool for getting rid of tiny bits of food. But it can’t break up everything. To stop breakdowns or clogs, we recommend not putting these foods down your garbage disposal:

  • Coffee grounds 
  • Pasta, oats, rice and bread 
  • Bones, nuts, pits and seeds 
  • Eggshells 
  • Onions and potato peels 
  • Fibrous fruits and vegetables 
  • Grease

If your garbage disposal smells bad, you can revive it with citrus peels or a blend of baking soda and vinegar.

7. Ignoring Maintenance for Your Plumbing System

Just like your heating and cooling system, your plumbing also has to have regular service. This service can help us spot small issues before they lead to expensive problems, such as a damaging water leak. Some of the issues we are on the lookout for involve:

  • Proper water pressure 
  • Drippy or plugged pipes 
  • Properly functioning supply lines and plumbing fixtures including sinks, tubs, showers and toilets

If you do spot trouble, including a dripping sink or pipe, it’s crucial to get it repaired without delay before it grows worse or leads to damage.

8. Attempting to Fix Your Plumbing Yourself

When you are experiencing a dripping pipe or a leaking washing machine, we suggest calling an Expert at McElroy Service Experts for leak repair before it gets worse or causes damage.

Fixing plumbing is a complex job that’s best completed by specialists. There’s a reason why plumbers complete extensive certification and licensing. Don’t attempt water pipe repair without help or hire a handyman, because you could end up wasting time and making a costlier expensive problem.

9. Trying to Maintain Your Water Heater Without Professional Help

When it comes to your water heater, service and upkeep is best left to the pros. This includes draining it or checking the temperature and pressure valve. If this isn’t completed properly, you could burn yourself with scalding water or flood your home.

Experienced water heater maintenance offers peace of mind that your water heater is running properly. It also gives you a heads-up when it’s time to start planning for water heater replacement, since they usually only work for about 10 years.

10. Not Realizing Where the Water Main Shutoff Is

In the event your home has a major water leak, it’s essential to be aware of where the main water valve is and how to switch it off. This valve is typically located in a mechanical room near your water heater.

Here’s how to shut off the main water valve in your residence:
  • If it has a wheel: turn it clockwise until you can’t anymore. 
  • If it has a lever: turn it about a quarter of the way.

If you’re are unsure about where the valve is located, McElroy Service Experts can help you find it.

It’s also a good idea to have a water leak protection system that will sound the alarm and turn off the water if there’s an issue. You can even get a smart system to monitor water use and alert you on your phone if there’s trouble.

Whatever plumbing issue you’re faced with, our Expert plumbers at McElroy Service Experts are available to help you. And we’ll stand behind our work with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee* for a year, so you’ll know that your repairs were completed right. Reach us at 308-210-4398 to schedule your appointment now!

*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.
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