Your Plumber Wants You to Quit Doing These 10 Things Right Away

Having to have a plumber in Albany can be inevitable if you have a drippy or burst pipe. But the majority of times, you can avoid plugging your pipes or breaking your garbage disposal, both of which can be costly to fix.

Here are some of the most frequent problems our plumbers field calls about at Roland J. Down Service Experts and how you can stop them.

1. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes

Even though they might be called “flushable wipes,” the ideal spot for them is the trash. The only thing that should be flushed (except for the obvious) is toilet paper and septic treatments, if you use a septic system.

A Canadian study that examined 101 such wipes learned they all didn’t pass a flushability test, according to Forbes. As 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 a lot of trouble to city sewer systems or your septic tank. These wipes can conglomerate with other yucky things that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, such as cooking grease and hygienic products, to result in a fatberg. In addition to being unhygienic and just plain nasty, environmental nonprofit Green America says these masses are expensive to repair. If you rely on a city sewer system, those are bills that could get passed on to you down the road.

No matter what style 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 Waste Bin

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

Together with wipes, these things can clog your sewer line and back up your toilet, saddling you with a pricey (and gross) mess.

3. Dropping in Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs

Relying on drop-in toilet fresheners might seem like a great way to keep your toilet bowl fresh, but they can do more damage than good. These tablets typically contain chemicals, including bleach, which can wreck rubber parts in the tank. And as the tablets dissolve, they can clog the toilet and prevent it from flushing.

4. Dumping Chemical Drain Cleaners

If your sink is clogged, your immediate response could be to get a cheap liquid drain cleaner. However, there are several things you should be aware of when it involves these drain cleaners.

  1. They’re toxic. Drain cleaners are a toxic mixture of chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. They also create severe fumes that can lead to respiratory irritation. 
  2. They can eat through your pipes. If these cleaners can burn your skin, think about what they can do to your plumbing: corrosion, cracks and even failure. 
  3. They’re not good for the environment. As you can imagine, these chemicals aren’t extremely environmentally friendly. 
  4. They might not even unplug your drain. In spite of all the chemicals they include, drain cleaners sometimes don’t even work or only work for a limited time. That’s since they often move the clog more into your plumbing until it leads to a major problem.

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

If you have a tough clog that just won’t go away, calling a professional plumber like Roland J. Down 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 do the job. That way, you’ll also skip breaking your pipes and a host of horrible issues like leaks, broken seals and horrible odors.

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

5. Getting Rid of Grease Down Your Sink

It could seem like it’s not a issue to dump a small amount of fat down your pipes. But over time, that grease can grow and block your pipes. If the grease gets into the sewer system, it can build up with flushable wipes and create a gross fatberg like we discussed earlier.

To avoid plumbing troubles, drain the fat into a container. After it hardens, you can toss it in the waste can.

6. Turning to Your Garbage Disposal for Everything

Your garbage disposal is a helpful tool for breaking up small bits of food. But it can’t break up everything. To prevent malfunctions 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 freshen it with citrus peels or a mix of baking soda and vinegar.

7. Skipping Maintenance for Your Plumbing System

Much like your heating and cooling system, your plumbing also needs annual tune-ups. This service can help us spot small issues before they result in major problems, including a damaging water leak. Some of the issues we watch for involve:

  • Proper water pressure 
  • Drippy or blocked pipes 
  • Properly working supply lines and plumbing fixtures such as sinks, tubs, showers and toilets

If you do find a problem, like a dripping sink or pipe, it’s crucial to get it taken care of right away before it becomes larger or leads to damage.

8. Attempting to Fix Your Plumbing Without Professional Help

When you are dealing with a dripping pipe or a leaking washing machine, we recommend calling an Expert at Roland J. Down Service Experts for leak repair before it grows or results in damage.

Repairing plumbing is a complex job that’s best done by pros. There’s a reason why plumbers finish extensive certification and licensing. Don’t try water pipe repair without help or get a handyman, because you could end up wasting time and having a pricier 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 specialists. This includes draining it or testing the temperature and pressure valve. If this isn’t performed correctly, you could burn yourself with boiling water or flood your house.

Professional water heater maintenance provides peace of mind that your water heater is operating like it should. It also offers you a heads-up when it’s time to start thinking about water heater replacement, as they usually only last for about 10 years.

10. Not Realizing Where the Water Main Shutoff Is

When your residence has a large water leak, it’s important to be knowledgeable about where the main water valve is and how to switch it off. This valve is usually situated 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: rotate it about a quarter of the way.

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

It’s also a good idea to install a water leak protection system that will alert you and cut off the water if there’s trouble. You can even use a smart system to keep an eye on water use and alert you through your phone if there’s trouble.

Whatever plumbing problem you’re dealing with, our Expert plumbers at Roland J. Down 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 finished like they should. Give us a call at 518-417-2938 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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