Being a homeowner is a huge responsibility. There's no landlord to call when something goes wrong. If your roof needs replacing or the cable goes out, you have to do it yourself or call someone to do it. The same goes for your plumbing systems. You may not think too much about your toilet, faucet or showerhead if everything is working correctly. However, if something stops working, it could negatively impact your everyday routine. Imagine getting home from a long day only to discover that you can't bathe.
While you can't predict a pipe giving out or a dishwasher breaking, there are plenty of proactive steps you can take to ensure your plumbing fixtures stay in working order. Here are five things your Tuscaloosa, AL plumber wants you to know:
Protect your toilets
You may think that your toilets can withstand just about anything, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the plumbing connected to bathrooms is quite sensitive. If the wrong items are flushed, you could be left with an extensive and expensive mess. Some items can be damaging to both your plumbing systems and the environment. For example, lots of women think it's OK to flush feminine products like tampons and sanitary pads. However, these can clog sewer systems because they are made to absorb water, not break down over time. The same goes for other water-absorbing products like paper towels and cotton balls. Anything like this can cause backups down the road. Some families who have children think that disposable wipes are good to flush down the toilet. However, these can can lead to serious clogs in your plumbing. Be sure to check the label on wipes to see if the ones you're purchasing are compatible with your sewer systems. Lastly, and this one surprises people, be sure not to flush any prescription medicine. Any kind of drug can eliminate the helpful bacteria in water and harm wildlife.
If you aren't sure what is OK to flush and what isn't, just pitch it in the trash. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Take care of your garbage disposal
Most people are too liberal with their garbage disposals. Yes, this is a place for trash to go, but the wrong kind of garbage can really mess with your plumbing. For example, only scraps of food can truly be broken down. By putting them in the disposal, rather than a garbage can, you are eliminating the chance of odor. Here are some items you cannot throw down your disposal:
Fibrous foods like lettuce, carrots, onion skins and potato peels.
Greasy foods or grease from cleaning.
Food that increases in size with water like pasta, rice and other grains.
Don't risk getting your plumbing backed up. If an item seems questionable, just throw it out instead.
Be careful what you throw down your disposal.
Protect your pipes
It doesn't matter what state you live in, during winter it's inevitable for the temperatures to drop. With a decrease in heat, you might need a heavier jacket to stay warm. Well, the same goes for your pipes. In order to protect your fixtures, you need to insulate your pipes. Head to your local hardware store to pick up some pink insulation (the material found in unfinished basements and attics). Cut and wrap the fabric around your exposed pipes. The insulation will help keep the plumbing fixtures warm during the winter. This decreases your chances of freezing and the potential for a pipe bursting down the road.
Keep in mind that insulation won't do any good if your heating systems don't work. Periodically check that your heat is working. In addition, make sure that no pieces of furniture are obstructing the air vents so your home remains just the right temperature.
Don't ignore the problem
When people notice that something is not right inside their home, they ignore it in hopes it will go away. Take a clogged toilet, for instance. A backed up plumbing system happens every once in a while. However, if you're experiencing a clogged toilet on the regular, there could be a bigger underlying issue. The same goes for something like a leaky faucet. It may look harmless, but the constant drip of water can increase your water bill substantially over the course of a year. The last thing you want is to be charged for water you didn't even use. When it comes to little issues, don't try and sweep the problems under the rug. Get it fixed, otherwise it will only cause you more harm down the line.
Call a plumber
Sometimes, a job needs to be done by a professional. If you notice there's an issue in your household, don't wait; call a Roto-Rooter plumber. We'll have someone come out and get the problem fixed fast.
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