Major plumbing repairs are never fun, whether it’s on a weekend, late in the evening, or the middle of a busy work week. If they’re bad enough, you could lose the use of your appliances and end up with water damage in your home – not to mention a risk to your family’s health.

There are a few things you can do to protect your plumbing system and minimize plumbing repairs, however. If there is an emergency, JW Plumbing, Heating and Air is here to help, but we believe in prevention.

Protect Your Kitchen Drains

The drains in your home all lead to your plumbing system. In many cases, what goes down them is the cause of plumbing issues, including cooking grease. While it may be liquid while it’s hot, grease turns solid at room temperature. It goes down your drain, gets stuck in the P-trap, and gathers all the other debris that goes down your drain.

Over time, you’ll end up with a slow drain or full clog that’s much more disruptive than disposing of your grease properly. For example, grease that ends up in your sewer can mix with waste and cause a sewer backup and a major repair.

When you’re done cooking, dispose of grease in a container and let it harden, then throw it out. Put a grease trap in your kitchen sink to catch any extra that comes off your pans while you’re cleaning.

Watch What Goes Down the Toilet

If you’re throwing just about everything in your toilet and flushing it, from cotton swabs to tissues to disposable wipes, you’re risking a clog. A lot of products claim to be flushable when they’re not, often leading to blockages that are hard to fix.

Nothing should flush down your toilet except for toilet paper and waste. If you drop something in the toilet – or your kid likes to flush toys to see what happens – don’t try to flush it down. Use a plunger to get it out or call the professionals.

Don’t Ignore Small Drips

If your sink or shower has a slow drip, it’s easy to go about your day and ignore it. Unfortunately, that slow drip can add up to gallons of water being wasted, increasing your water bill. Left alone, that tiny drip can end up with a burst pipe, water damage, and a lot of frustration.

If you have plumbing skills, you can try to correct a drip yourself by turning off your water supply, taking the faucet apart, and cleaning the internal washer and rings. If that doesn’t correct the problem, or you’re not comfortable, call a professional plumber.

Avoid Liquid Drain Cleaners

It’s a mistake a lot of homeowners make. When there’s a slow drain or clog, they reach for the chemical drain cleaners to fix it. While this can help with really stubborn clogs, it’s overkill for regular use. The chemicals in liquid drain cleaners are highly corrosive and can wreck your plumbing.

It’s better to keep your pipes clear with natural solutions like baking soda and vinegar. Lemon juice and dish soap can also help. If you make a habit out of cleaning your drains – and keeping them clear of hair, food scraps, and other particles – you can prevent clogs from happening in the first place.

Care for Your Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is an appliance that many households can’t do without. But without proper maintenance, it can quickly break down and become clogged with bones, fat, or fibrous foods that don’t belong in your drain. Your garbage disposal is only meant to chop up soft food to help it down the drain – not to eliminate all of your food waste.

Over time, your garbage disposal can clog or get a buildup of food residue that gums it up and leads to odors. When you’re using the garbage disposal, be sure to run cold water to help carry the food waste down into the blades and the drain pipes. Don’t use hot water, as it melts fat and can cause it to stick to the blades.

If that’s not enough, you can use baking soda and vinegar to clean out your disposal, just like your pipes, and flush it with hot water. It’s also important to prevent these problems by being careful what you put into your garbage disposal, such as tough foods like banana peels or fibrous vegetables.

Know When to DIY – And When Not To

Plumbing may seem like a simple DIY job, but if you don’t have plumbing skills, you can make your issues much worse. Plumbing a toilet clog? That’s fine. Fixing a burst pipe? That’s a job for a pro.

Plumbers have experience, training, and equipment to handle your toughest plumbing issues. Unless you have these skills under your belt, it’s best to leave the complicated plumbing problems to the professionals.

Don’t Neglect Small Problems

Your plumbing system is one of the most important in your home. You may not think of it until something goes wrong, which leaves you in a stressful and frustrating situation.

Keep an eye on small problems, such as leaks, low water pressure, or odd sounds coming from your pipes. This will help you notice any subtle issues that could indicate a growing problem, so you can fix it before it’s an emergency.

Better Yet – Get Routine Maintenance

Regular plumbing maintenance helps you stay on top of your plumbing system’s health. With professional maintenance, your plumber can catch problems before they become catastrophic. You’ll not only save money on repairs, but you could extend the life of your system.

Are you in need of plumbing maintenance or repairs? Contact us at JW Plumbing, Heating and Air to schedule your appointment!

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