10 Things Your Plumber Wants You to Stop Doing Now

Requiring a plumber in Elkhart can be inevitable if you have a dripping or broken pipe. But a lot of the time, you can prevent blocking your pipes or breaking your garbage disposal, both of which can be costly to fix.

Here are some of the most regular problems our professionals get calls about at BW/Cook Service Experts and how you can stop them.

1. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes

Although they might be known as “flushable wipes,” the right place for them is the waste bin. The only thing that should be flushed (except for the obvious) is toilet paper and septic treatments, if you have a septic system.

A Canadian study that tested 101 such wipes learned none of them passed a flushability test, according to Forbes. As flushable wipes don’t disintegrate like toilet paper, they can block your sewer line and make your toilet back up.

They can also wreak havoc on city sewer systems or your septic tank. These wipes can attach to other gross things that shouldn’t be disposed of down the toilet, like cooking grease and hygienic products, to lead to a fatberg. In addition to being unhygienic and just plain gross, environmental nonprofit Green America says these masses are pricey to get rid of. If you use a city sewer system, those are costs that could get passed on to you in the long run.

Whichever type of wipe you’re using—makeup remover, cleansing, baby or sanitizing—it should go in the trash once you’re finished.

2. Flushing Other Things That Should Go in the Trash

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

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Makeup remover pads
  • Cat litter

In addition to wipes, these things can block your sewer line and overflow your toilet, leaving you with a costly (and icky) mess.

3. Dropping in Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs

Having drop-in toilet fresheners may seem like a good way to keep your toilet bowl clean, but they may cause more trouble than good. These tablets often contain chemicals, like bleach, which can destroy rubber parts in the tank. And as the tablets melt, they can block the toilet and keep it from flushing.

4. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

If your sink is plugged, your immediate answer could be to buy an inexpensive liquid drain cleaner. However, there are some things you should know about these drain cleaners.

  1. They’re poisonous. Drain cleaners are a toxic mixture of chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. They also make intense fumes that can result in respiratory irritation. 
  2. They can corrode your pipes. If these cleaners can burn your skin, imagine what they can do to your piping: corrosion, fractures and even failure. 
  3. They’re not good for the environment. As you can imagine, these chemicals aren’t exactly good for the environment. 
  4. They might not even unplug your drain. In spite of all the chemicals they pack, drain cleaners sometimes don’t even work or only work for a limited time. That’s due to the fact they often move the clog more into your plumbing until it leads to a big problem.

If you do require a drain cleaner, we suggest using an enzymatic cleaner. These chemical-free cleaners have bacteria and enzymes to break up clogs and unpleasant odors. While they could take more time than a chemical-based cleaner, they’re safer for you, your plumbing and the environment.

If you’re experiencing a difficult clog that just won’t dissolve, getting in touch with a professional plumber like BW/Cook Service Experts is your best option for drain cleaning. While you can rent a drain auger or plumbing snake, it’s easier to have a professional perform the job. That way, you’ll also skip harming your pipes and a wide variety of troublesome issues including leaks, nonworking seals and horrible 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. Pouring Grease Down Your Sink

It might seem like it’s not a issue to pour a small amount of fat down your sink. But as the years go by, that grease can grow and block your pipes. If the grease finds its way into the sewer system, it can build up with flushable wipes and create a nasty fatberg like we talked about prior.

To skip plumbing woes, drain the oil into a container. After it solidifies, you can toss it in the waste can.

6. Relying on Your Garbage Disposal for Everything

Your garbage disposal is a beneficial tool for breaking up little bits of food. But it can’t get rid of everything. To avoid issues or clogs, we recommend not putting these things 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 is smelly, you can freshen it with citrus peels or a combination of baking soda and vinegar.

7. Skipping Maintenance for Your Plumbing System

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

  • Adequate water pressure 
  • Leaky or blocked pipes 
  • Properly functioning supply lines and plumbing fixtures including sinks, tubs, showers and toilets

If you do see a problem, like a leaking sink or pipe, it’s crucial to get it repaired right away before it gets larger or causes damage.

8. Attempting to Fix Your Plumbing Without Professional Help

When you are dealing with a dripping pipe or a leaking washing machine, it’s important to call an Expert at BW/Cook Service Experts for leak repair before it grows or causes damage.

Fixing plumbing is an in-depth job that’s best done by pros. There’s a reason why plumbers complete extensive certification and licensing. Don’t attempt water pipe repair without help or call a handyman, since you could end up wasting time and having a more expensive problem.

9. Trying to Tune Up Your Water Heater on Your Own

When it comes to your water heater, service and maintenance is best left to the pros. This includes draining it or testing the temperature and pressure valve. If this isn’t performed correctly, you could burn yourself with scalding water or flood your house.

Professional water heater maintenance provides peace of mind that your water heater is running properly. It also offers you advance notice when it’s time to start planning for water heater replacement, because they often only operate for about 10 years.

10. Not Realizing Where the Water Main Shutoff Is

When your home 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 often found 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: move it clockwise until you can’t anymore. 
  • If it has a lever: move it about a quarter of the way.

If you’re still not sure where the valve is located, BW/Cook Service Experts can help you find it.

It’s also a good idea to get a water leak protection system that will turn on an alarm and shut off the water if there’s trouble. You can even use a smart system to keep an eye on water use and alert you via your phone if there’s a problem.

Whatever plumbing issue you’re dealing with, our Expert plumbers at BW/Cook Service Experts are ready to help you. And we’ll back our work with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee* for a year, so you’ll have peace of mind that your repairs were completed like they should. Contact us at 574-218-6404 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.
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