10 Things Your Plumber Wants You to Discontinue Doing Immediately

Needing a plumber in Houston can be unavoidable if you are dealing with a leaky or broken pipe. But a lot of the time, you can prevent plugging your pipes or needing repairs for your garbage disposal, both of which can be costly to take care of.

Here are some of the most frequent issues our plumbers field calls about at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning and how you can stop them.

1. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes

Even though they might be referred to as “flushable wipes,” the best spot for them is the trash. The only thing that should be flushed (apart from 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. Since flushable wipes don’t dissolve like toilet paper, they can block your sewer line and make your toilet back up.

They can also cause problems with city sewer systems or your septic tank. These wipes can combine with other nasty things that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, including cooking grease and hygienic products, to result in a fatberg. Besides being dirty and just plain nasty, environmental nonprofit Green America says these buildups are expensive to get rid of. If you use a city sewer system, those are expenses that could get assigned to you in the long run.

Whichever style of wipe you’re using—makeup remover, cleansing, baby or sanitizing—it should be thrown in the trash once you’re finished.

2. Flushing Other Things That Should Be Tossed in the Garbage

Besides flushable wipes, there are a few other things that don’t belong in your toilet. These include:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Makeup remover pads
  • Cat litter

Together with wipes, these things can plug your sewer line and back up your toilet, sticking you with a pricey (and gross) mess.

3. Dropping in Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs

Having drop-in toilet fresheners could seem like a smart way to keep your toilet bowl sanitary, but they may do more harm than good. These tablets typically contain chemicals, like bleach, which can wreck rubber parts in the tank. And as the tablets melt, they can block the toilet and keep it from flushing.

4. Buying Chemical Drain Cleaners

If your sink is clogged, your first answer may be to get a low-priced liquid drain cleaner. However, there are a few things you should be aware of when it involves these drain cleaners.

  1. They’re toxic. Drain cleaners are a toxic mixture of chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. They also make intense fumes that can cause respiratory irritation. 
  2. They can eat through your pipes. If these cleaners can burn your skin, think about what they can do to your pipes: corrosion, fractures and even failure. 
  3. They’re not good for the environment. As you can figure out, these chemicals aren’t exactly good for the environment. 
  4. They might not even unplug your drain. In spite of all the chemicals they include, drain cleaners sometimes don’t even work or only work for a limited time. That’s since they often move the clog further into your plumbing until it leads to a big problem.

If you do have to have a drain cleaner, we suggest using an enzymatic cleaner. These chemical-free cleaners use bacteria and enzymes to get rid of clogs and bad odors. While they may require more time than a chemical-based cleaner, they’re better for you, your plumbing and the environment.

If you’re dealing with a difficult clog that just won’t dissolve, contacting a professional plumber like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning is your best option for drain cleaning. While you can rent a drain auger or plumbing snake, it’s easier to have an Expert do the job. That way, you’ll also skip breaking your pipes and a host of horrible issues including leaks, broken seals and troublesome odors.

After your drain is flowing freely, keep it that way by using a screen to keep hair or food scraps from plugging it again.

5. Pouring Grease Down Your Sink

It might seem like it’s not a big deal to dump a little bit of grease down your pipes. But as time passes, that grease can build up and clog your pipes. If the grease leaks into the sewer system, it can build up with flushable wipes and develop a nasty fatberg like we mentioned earlier.

To skip plumbing troubles, drain the oil into a can. After it cools, you can throw it away in the waste can.

6. Turning to Your Garbage Disposal for Everything

Your garbage disposal is a helpful tool for breaking up small food scraps. But it can’t get rid of everything. To stop breakdowns or clogs, we recommend not putting these things down your garbage disposal:

  • Coffee grounds 
  • Pasta, oats, rice and bread 
  • Bones, nuts, pits and seeds 
  • Eggshells 
  • Onions and potato peels 
  • Fibrous fruits and vegetables 
  • Grease

If your garbage disposal smells bad, you can clean it with citrus peels or a blend of baking soda and vinegar.

7. Ignoring Maintenance for Your Plumbing System

Just like your heating and cooling system, your plumbing also needs routine service. This service can help us find minor issues before they cause big problems, including a damaging water leak. Some of the issues we are on the lookout for involve:

  • Ample water pressure 
  • Leaky or blocked pipes 
  • Properly operating supply lines and plumbing fixtures such as sinks, tubs, showers and toilets

If you do find trouble, such as a leaky sink or pipe, it’s critical to get it taken care of right away before it becomes worse or results in damage.

8. Trying to Fix Your Plumbing on Your Own

When you are dealing with a dripping pipe or a leaking washing machine, it’s important to call an Expert at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for leak repair before it gets worse or results in damage.

Fixing plumbing is a complex job that’s best left to professionals. There’s a reason why plumbers finish extensive certification and licensing. Don’t try water pipe repair on your own or get a handyman, because you could end up wasting time and creating a more expensive problem.

9. Trying to Service Your Water Heater Without Professional Help

When it comes to your water heater, service and upkeep is best left to the professionals. This includes draining it or examining the temperature and pressure valve. If this isn’t done right, you could burn yourself with boiling water or flood your home.

Experienced water heater maintenance gives peace of mind that your water heater is operating properly. It also gives you a heads-up when it’s time to start thinking about water heater replacement, because they usually only operate for about 10 years.

10. Not Knowing 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 usually found in a mechanical room near your water heater.

Here’s how to shut off the main water valve in your home:
  • If it has a wheel: circle it clockwise until you can’t anymore. 
  • If it has a lever: rotate it about a quarter of the way.

If you’re are unsure about where the valve is located, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you find it.

It’s also a wise idea to have a water leak protection system that will alert you and turn off the water if there’s an issue. You can even use a smart system to keep an eye on water use and notify you through your phone if there’s trouble.

Whatever plumbing problem you’re experiencing, our Expert plumbers at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are available to assist you. And we’ll support our work with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee* for a year, so you’ll know that your repairs were completed right. Reach us at (713) 352-7887 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.