Needing a plumber in Austin can be inevitable if you are experiencing a drippy or ruptured pipe. But many times, you can prevent plugging your pipes or breaking your garbage disposal, both of which can be pricey to take care of.
Here are some of the most frequent issues our pros get calls about at Strand Brothers Service Experts and how you can prevent them.
1. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes
Even though they might be known as “flushable wipes,” the best place for them is the trash. The only thing that should be flushed (other than the obvious) is toilet paper and septic treatments, if you have a septic system.
A Canadian study that looked at 101 such wipes learned they all failed a flushability test, according to Forbes. Because flushable wipes don’t break down 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 attach to other gross things that shouldn’t go down the toilet, including cooking fat and hygienic products, to lead to a fatberg. In addition to being dirty and just plain gross, environmental nonprofit Green America says these blobs are costly to get rid of. If you’re on a city sewer system, those are costs that could get assigned to you down the road.
Whatever kind 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 Waste Bin
Besides flushable wipes, there are a few 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 overflow your toilet, sticking you with an expensive (and gross) mess.
3. Relying on Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs
Having drop-in toilet fresheners may seem like a good way to keep your toilet bowl sanitary, but they may cause more trouble than good. These tablets typically contain chemicals, including bleach, which can wreck rubber parts in the tank. And as the tablets melt, they can plug the toilet and keep it from flushing.
4. Dumping Chemical Drain Cleaners
If your sink is clogged, your initial answer could be to get a low-priced liquid drain cleaner. However, there are several things you should know about these drain cleaners.
- They’re harmful. Drain cleaners are a toxic blend of chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. They also create severe fumes that can lead to respiratory irritation.
- They can eat through your pipes. If these cleaners can burn your skin, think about what they can do to your piping: corrosion, breaks and even failure.
- They’re harmful to the environment. As you can imagine, these substances aren’t very environmentally friendly.
- They might not even unclog your drain. Regardless of all the chemicals they pack, drain cleaners sometimes don’t even work or only work for a short time. That’s since they often move the clog further into your plumbing until it creates 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 break up clogs and foul odors. While they may work more slowly than a chemical-based cleaner, they’re healthier for you, your plumbing and the environment.
If you’re dealing with a difficult clog that just won’t dissolve, getting in touch with a professional plumber like Strand Brothers Service Experts is your wisest option for drain cleaning. While you can rent a drain auger or plumbing snake, it’s easier to have an Expert perform the job. That way, you’ll also avoid harming your pipes and a wide variety of troublesome issues including leaks, damaged seals and troublesome odors.
After your drain is clear, keep it that way by installing a screen to keep hair or food scraps from plugging it again.
5. Getting Rid of Grease Down Your Sink
It can seem like it’s not a problem to dump a little bit of fat down your pipes. But over time, that grease can accumulate and clog your pipes. If the grease finds its way into the sewer system, it can cling to flushable wipes and lead to a yucky fatberg like we mentioned previously.
To skip plumbing troubles, drain the oil into a can. After it solidifies, you can throw it away in the garbage.
6. Turning to Your Garbage Disposal for Everything
Your garbage disposal is a useful tool for getting rid of little amounts of food waste. But it can’t eliminate everything. To avoid malfunctions or clogs, we suggest not putting these items down your garbage disposal:
- Coffee grounds
- Pasta, oats, rice and bread
- Bones, nuts, pits and seeds
- Onions and potato peels
- Fibrous fruits and vegetables
If your garbage disposal has a bad smell, you can clean it with citrus peels or a mix of baking soda and vinegar.
7. Ignoring Maintenance for Your Plumbing System
Similar to your heating and cooling system, your plumbing also requires annual tune-ups. This service can help us spot little issues before they lead to major problems, including a damaging water leak. Some of the problems we are on the lookout for involve:
- Proper water pressure
- Leaky or clogged pipes
- Correctly functioning supply lines and plumbing fixtures including sinks, tubs, showers and toilets
If you do notice an issue, including a dripping sink or pipe, it’s important to get it repaired immediately before it becomes worse or leads to damage.
8. Making an Attempt to Fix Your Plumbing on Your Own
When you are dealing with a dripping pipe or a leaking washing machine, we recommend calling an Expert at Strand Brothers Service Experts for leak repair before it grows or results in damage.
Repairing plumbing is a detailed job that’s best left to specialists. There’s a reason why plumbers complete extensive certification and licensing. Don’t try water pipe repair without help or get a handyman, because you could end up wasting time and creating a costlier expensive problem.
9. Trying to Tune Up Your Water Heater Without Professional Help
When it comes to your water heater, service and tune-ups are best left to the professionals. This includes draining it or checking the temperature and pressure valve. If this isn’t performed right, you could burn yourself with hot water or flood your residence.
Experienced water heater maintenance provides peace of mind that your water heater is running right. It also gives you a heads-up when it’s time to start planning for water heater replacement, as they usually only run for about 10 years.
10. Not Realizing Where the Water Main Shutoff Is
When your home has a large water leak, it’s important 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 house:
- 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, Strand Brothers Service Experts can help you find it.
It’s also a wise idea to have a water leak protection system that will alert you and cut off the water if there’s an issue. You can even use a smart system to watch water use and tell you via your phone if there’s trouble.
Whatever plumbing problem you’re dealing with, our Expert plumbers at Strand Brothers Service Experts are ready 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 finished right. Give us a call at 512-596-1257 to request 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.