5 Biggest Plumbing Mistakes Many Homeowners Are Guilty of Making

Plumbing MarkAnthony Ball January 15, 2024

Plumbing is often overlooked, but it plays a crucial role in your home's functionality. Common issues like dripping faucets, leaky pipes, running toilets, or low water pressure can arise due to regular wear and tear. However, some problems result from poor plumbing practices and maintenance, potentially leading to more severe issues like drainage problems and water damage. It's essential to address these issues promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the smooth operation of your home's plumbing systems. Regular maintenance can go a long way in preventing such issues and preserving the integrity of your plumbing.

 

Here are five mistakes and poor habits that many homeowners make, and some tips on how to avoid them:

 

It's crucial to be mindful of what goes down your sink drain, particularly when it comes to oils, fats, and grease. Pouring excessive grease down the kitchen sink can lead to drain clogs and long-term damage. Once the grease has cooled to a manageable temperature, it's best to dispose of it in the trash or a designated disposable container. The same caution applies to items like eggshells, coffee grounds, and any food waste – avoiding their disposal down the sink can help maintain a healthy and efficient plumbing system. Proper waste disposal practices contribute to the longevity of your plumbing and prevent potential issues down the line.

 

A common plumbing mistake homeowners make is flushing materials other than toilet paper or natural human waste down the toilet. While it may seem like common sense not to flush items such as feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, cotton swabs, and even toys, this remains an issue in homes with children and teenagers.

Although these items may flush initially, they can become lodged along the drain line, leading to backups and clogs that are challenging to remove. In severe cases, it can result in flooding and extensive damage to your home. Additionally, flushing non-biodegradable items is harmful to the environment, as city sewer systems are not equipped to handle them. It is best to dispose of such materials in the trash.

Given children's curiosity, especially when it comes to flushing toys and other items, it's advisable to supervise them closely, particularly when they are near the bathroom. This preventive measure can save you from potential plumbing issues and protect both your home and the environment.

 

Relying on commercial drain cleaners frequently, hoping for a quick fix to unclog drains, might prompt you to consider alternative solutions. While these products provide short-term relief, their harsh chemicals can lead to more significant problems over time. The chemicals in these cleaners can damage metal traps in your home's plumbing system, corrode pipe walls, and even harm PVC pipes, ultimately causing leaks and expensive replacements.

Experts recommend opting for natural solutions first, such as a combination of baking soda and vinegar followed by boiling water to break up the clog. Alternatively, tools like a drain snake or a power auger can be effective. If you frequently encounter clogged drains, it may be prudent to enlist the help of a local plumber who can quickly identify and address the underlying issue. This proactive approach ensures a more sustainable and cost-effective resolution to your plumbing concerns.

 

Leaving the water on during water-related projects is a common mistake made by many homeowners and DIYers who assume they can work quickly. However, this approach often leads to unforeseen issues, the most serious being household flooding and potential damage to the floors below.

To avoid such problems, it is crucial to turn off the water at the main water shut-off valve, or at the very least, shut off the valve connected to the specific fixture you plan to work on. Taking the extra few minutes to disable the water supply can be a preventive measure that saves you from potential disasters, preserving thousands of dollars in property and belonging damages. Prioritizing this step ensures a more controlled and secure environment for your home improvement projects.

 

Handling plumbing repairs on your own can save both time and money, but DIYers commonly make the mistake of over-tightening faucet supply tubes, pipes, plastic fittings, and bolts securing toilets or fixtures. The misconception that tighter is better can lead to fittings splitting, cracking, or breaking, ultimately resulting in leaks. The concerning aspect of this error is that it might take weeks for a fitting to completely break, potentially causing significant flooding.

On the flip side, under-tightening can also result in leaks. Regularly checking fixtures and fittings is essential to ensure they remain secure. If you notice any loosening compared to the initial installation, addressing the issue promptly can prevent potential leaks and the associated water damage. Balancing the right level of tightness is crucial in plumbing projects to avoid both over-tightening and under-tightening pitfalls.


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