Stainless steel sink
Handyman

4 Smart Ways to Prevent Plumbing Problems

Plumbing problems can add up in a hurry. Not only that, but they are unsightly, smelly, and inconvenient problems to have. Nobody wants to see what goes down the drain come back up. Fortunately, there are a few simple preventative measures you can take to keep the sewer’s contents where they belong.

Don’t Put Clog-Producing Items Down the Drain

There are certain things that should never go down a drain. Grease, fats, and oils are notorious for clogging up drains. They have a tendency to combine with other clumps of waste and create buildups that clog drains. These types of clogs are the blame for almost half of the 36,000 annual sewer backups that occur every year in the United States. Other problematic items are coffee grounds, eggshells, bones, poultry skins, rice, root vegetable peels, produce stickers, personal hygiene items, wipes, paper towels, and cotton balls.

Use Drain Screens

You can buy drain screens for kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, and bathtubs. These nifty little strainers catch hair, food scraps, soap, jewelry, toothpaste caps, and any other debris that shouldn’t go down the drain. Not only will you save yourself the trouble of having to pull a nasty clump of hair out of the drain, but you might also spare your plumbing system from long-term damage caused by clogs deep in the pipes.

Clear the Drains Periodically

Even if you do take extra care to avoid letting problem-causing debris enter your drains, there may still be occasional offenders that slip past the barricades. Because of this, you should do a periodic drain cleaning. This is much simpler than it sounds. Pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain, particularly the sink drain, will break up minor grease or soap clogs.

If boiling water doesn’t resolve a slow drain, you will need something a bit more heavy-duty. But don’t despair. There are a few miracle items you probably already have in your cupboard that can break up intense clogs in a hurry—namely baking soda and vinegar. Put some baking soda down the drain (approximately one-third to one-half cup). Then, add about the same amount of vinegar. Cover it, if possible, and let it fizz and bubble for half an hour. Then pour a pot of boiling water down after it. If this doesn’t clear up the drain the first time, do it again.

Deal with Water Leaks Right Away

If you notice water leaking somewhere—anywhere—it’s important to get it cleared up as soon as possible. Not only could this lead to unsightly stains, rots, warps, and expensive repairs, but it could also be creating mold problems underneath floors and behind walls. Leaks often occur at the base of toilets, around water heaters, in washer connections, by sink faucets, under sinks, and in tubs. Inspect these areas for the signs and take care of problems right away.

There are smart ways to prevent plumbing catastrophes, but sometimes things happen that are outside of your control. If you find a leak or have a problematic drain, toilet, or shower head, find a handyman who can help you resolve the situation before it takes a bigger hit on your pocketbook.