Blog posted On January 29, 2020
Many of us are guilty of treating our sinks, drains, and toilets like a trash can. Once it rinses down or flushes away, it’s forgotten—right? Wrong. Some of the seemingly innocent items you flush can cause serious damage to your home’s pipes. Not only can these mistakes be costly to fix, the flooding they may cause will bring a host of problems. Doyle James, the president of Mr. Plumbing, warns homeowners about the most dangerous plumbing mistakes.
No, flushing your cat’s waste is not the same as flushing your own. Cat litter contains clay and sand, which can cause major trouble for your plumbing system. Kitty litter is designed to absorb moisture and create clumps, which can immediately clog your pipes. Instead, scoop and sift through your cat’s litter box, then dispose of the waste in a trash bag.
Whenever your shower drain is clogged, it’s probably due to the most common culprit: hair. When taking a shower, loose hairs easily slip down the drain, forming knots and clumps in the pipes. These clumps may cause major clogs and trap in odor. Avoid this plumbing hazard by investing in a hair catcher for your drain. These silicone drain covers catch loose hairs in the shower and keep them from going down the drain. After your shower, you can easily dispose of the hair in the trash can. This reusable drain cover often costs between $5-$10 and can save you on plumbing costs in the long run.
It’s best to keep unused medication out of the wrong hands, but flushing pills will cause its own problems. Though these substances, whether prescription of over the counter, may not damage your pipes, the ingredients may pose dangers to your water supply. The best way to dispose of medications is through your local pharmacy, police station, or verified drug disposal programs.
When you’ve got a pan full of bacon grease, it may be tempting to dispose of it by pouring it down the drain. While the hot grease may be liquid consistency in the pan, it will cool and solidify in the pipes. Once solidified, the grease will cause a major blockage. Instead of letting grease, fats, or oil clog your drain, pour it into an empty can or jar, let it solidify, and then dispose of it in the trash.
Even when the packaging reads “flushable” in big letters, wet wipes do not disintegrate at the same rate as toilet paper, often leading to a clogged sewer pipe. Similarly, cotton products such as tampons and sanitary napkins can cause major clogging. Instead of flushing any of these items, wrap them in toilet paper and toss them in the trash.
Taking care of your plumbing system is an important part of the general upkeep of your home. While some mistakes are bound to occur, don’t make a habit of any of them. Plumbing issues can be costly to fix, but money will be the least of your concerns if these issues lead to a flood. Your local plumber will be able to solve any issues you face, and they’ll be thankful that you are cognizant of your plumbing system.