10 Things Your Plumber Wants You to Quit Doing Right Away

Requiring a plumber in Austin can be unavoidable if you are experiencing a leaky or broken pipe. But a lot of the time, you can avoid clogging your pipes or needing repairs for your garbage disposal, both of which can be costly to repair.

Here are some of the most common problems our plumbers field calls about at Strand Brothers Service Experts and how you can stop them.

1. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes

Although they might be known as “flushable wipes,” the right location 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 tested 101 such wipes learned they all didn’t pass a flushability test, according to Forbes. Because flushable wipes don’t dissolve like toilet paper, they can plug 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 conglomerate with other gross things that shouldn’t be disposed of down the toilet, including cooking oil and hygienic products, to create a fatberg. Along with being dirty and just plain nasty, environmental nonprofit Green America says these blobs are pricey to get rid of. If you rely on a city sewer system, those are expenses that could get shuffled to you down the road.

Whichever type 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 Should Go in the Waste Bin

Besides flushable wipes, there are a few other things that don’t belong in your toilet. These cover:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Makeup remover pads
  • Cat litter

Along with wipes, these things can block your sewer line and make your toilet run over, sticking you with a pricey (and icky) mess.

3. Using Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs

Having drop-in toilet fresheners could seem like a smart way to keep your toilet bowl fresh, but they might do more damage than good. These tablets typically contain chemicals, like bleach, which can destroy rubber parts in the tank. And as the tablets break down, they can block the toilet and keep it from flushing.

4. Dumping Chemical Drain Cleaners

If your sink is plugged, your initial reaction may be to get an inexpensive liquid drain cleaner. However, there are some things you should be aware of when it involves these drain cleaners.

  1. They’re harmful. Drain cleaners are a toxic mixture of chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. They also make powerful fumes that can cause respiratory irritation. 
  2. They can eat away at your pipes. If these cleaners can burn your skin, think about what they can do to your plumbing: corrosion, breaks and even failure. 
  3. They’re bad for the environment. As you can figure out, these chemicals aren’t exactly helpful for the environment. 
  4. They might not even work. In spite of all the chemicals they pack, drain cleaners sometimes don’t even work or only work for a short time. That’s due to the fact they often move the clog further into your plumbing until it leads to a major problem.

If you do need to use a drain cleaner, we suggest using an enzymatic cleaner. These chemical-free cleaners use 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 strong clog that just won’t break up, contacting a professional plumber like Strand Brothers Service Experts is your smartest option for drain cleaning. While you can rent a drain auger or plumbing snake, it’s simpler to have an Expert perform the job. That way, you’ll also skip causing damage to your pipes and a wide variety of bad issues such as leaks, broken seals and unpleasant odors.

After your drain is working like it should, keep it that way by using a screen to keep hair or food scraps from plugging it again.

5. Dumping Grease Down Your Sink

It could seem like it’s not a issue to dump a little bit of grease down your drain. But over time, that grease can build up and block your pipes. If the grease gets into the sewer system, it can build up with flushable wipes and create a yucky fatberg like we talked about prior.

To prevent plumbing issues, drain the oil into a container. After it hardens, you can toss it in the trash.

6. Using Your Garbage Disposal for Everything

Your garbage disposal is a beneficial tool for breaking up tiny food scraps. But it can’t eliminate everything. To stop breakdowns or clogs, we advise not putting these items 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 clean it with citrus peels or a combination of baking soda and vinegar.

7. Ignoring Maintenance for Your Plumbing System

Much like your heating and cooling system, your plumbing also has to have routine service. This service can help us discover minor issues before they lead to expensive problems, such as a damaging water leak. Some of the problems we watch for entail:

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

If you do find trouble, like a leaking sink or pipe, it’s important to get it repaired right away before it grows worse or results in damage.

8. Making an Attempt to Fix Your Plumbing Yourself

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

Repairing plumbing is a detailed job that’s best completed by pros. 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, because you could end up wasting time and having a more 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 testing the temperature and pressure valve. If this isn’t performed right, you could burn yourself with boiling water or flood your house.

Experienced water heater maintenance offers peace of mind that your water heater is working right. It also provides you advance notice when it’s time to start planning for water heater replacement, because they typically only run for about 10 years.

10. Not Realizing Where the Water Main Shutoff Is

If your house has a major water leak, it’s essential to be knowledgeable about where the main water valve is and how to switch it off. This valve is typically found in a mechanical room near your water heater.

Here’s how to turn 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: rotate it about a quarter of the way.

If you’re don’t know where the valve is located, Strand Brothers Service Experts can help you find it.

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

Whatever plumbing trouble you’re experiencing, our Expert plumbers at Strand Brothers Service Experts are here 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 correctly. Give us a call at 512-592-3072 to book 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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