Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West

Posted by Kathy Foran on 10/9/2016

If you are like most homeowners, you rarely thinking of the plumbing in your home unless there is a problem: you turn on a faucet, or flush a toilet and expect it to work properly without giving your “pipes” a second thought. However, homeowners, family members or guests may be using your plumbing system incorrectly, even if you are not aware. Misuse of the systems can result in an expenditure of time and money and a messy situation to repair. Locate The Water Shut-Off Make sure that you and all household members know where to locate the water shut off valve. In the event of a broken pipe, overflowing toilet or in the case of an emergency, it is vital to be able to shut off the flow of water immediately. Using The Plumbing System As A Trash Can Are you guilty of rinsing plates off in the sink without first scraping the scraps in the garbage can? If you do not have a garbage disposal unit, food should not enter the drain where it can accumulate and clog pipes. To avoid problems, remove food residue before rinsing and add a sink drainer to the drain cover to catch food items that make their way into the sink. Misuse Of Drain Cleaner When water backs up in the sink or tub, do you immediate reach for a bottle of drain cleaner? Wrong – while the most common solution for sluggish drains is a dose of drain cleaner, it often takes multiple uses to clean the line. Repeated use of caustic drain cleaners can damage pipes and are harmful to the environment. Before you attempt to clean a clogged drain with toxic chemicals, try a plunger or auger. If you resort to using drain cleaner: read the instructions and never use the same type of drain cleaner in a kitchen sink as you would use in a clogged toilet situation. Putting Grease Down The Drain Even if you use a garbage disposal, you should be aware that grease damages drains. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that up to 50 percent of all clogged drains are due to oil, grease and fat build-up in drain pipes. If you pour hot grease down the drain, it will coat the walls of the pipe as it cools. To avoid the problem of grease accumulation, always put hot grease in a container to cool and then dispose of properly. Avoid Toilet Clogs Avoid clogging up your toilets by remembering that once flushed, all materials must pass through a three-inch drainpipe that connects to your septic system or main city sewer system. Avoid dumping food, cat litter or paper towels in the commode. Talk to your kids and other family members about what is and what is not appropriate to dispose of in the toilet. Sanitary napkins, tampons, and disposable diapers should never be flushed. Provide an airtight waste can in each bathroom for disposal of items that should not go down the drain. Damage To Pipes In The Wall Stop and think before you start a home remodeling project: there are a lot of pipes hidden behind your home’s walls. Drilling into a wall to hang a photo or install a bookshelf might cause serious damage to the pipe that was hidden inside the wall. A simple little hole can cause a major leak. Always hang artwork, shelves or towel racks by placing the hanger into the studs of your wall. Use a stud finder before you tackle small home repair or remodeling projects to avoid a major plumbing disaster. If you are contemplating a major remodeling project near or around pipes or plumbing, it is prudent to enlist the services of a professional plumber. Too Much Weight On Plumbing Fixtures Avoid hanging a shower caddy on your showerhead to hold shampoos, soaps, and lotions. Too many heavy items places undo stress on the showerhead and plumbing fixtures that are not designed to be weight-bearing. Your home’s plumbing system is an important part of how your household functions. While it is easy to take our plumbing for granted, when it’s working properly, the savvy homeowner knows that with proper care and maintenance you can keep your pipes and sewer system in excellent condition for years to come.

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