When it comes to avoiding plumbing disasters, it’s all about preventative maintenance and using the right tools.
We’ve all dealt with gurgling sinks or toilets that won’t drain. As the water rises, so does the panic of knowing you’ll have to deal with a potentially expensive mess. To avoid these types of situations, it’s best to take a preventative approach to your plumbing system.
Dealing with immediate plumbing problems
Plumbing is hidden, so it’s easy to ignore until something goes wrong. For that reason, most of us lean on quick remedies such as Drano or plungers. However, according to Chris Marcus, CFO of Miracle Plumbing Inc. in San Jose, those aren’t the right options.
“Never use a plunger on a toilet,” he cautions. “It might clear the clog, but the long-term results can be costly. When you use a plunger, you risk blowing out the toilet’s wax ring, which could cause leakage that starts underneath the toilet and ends up at the subfloor. If the damage is severe enough, you might have to pull up your tile and redo your entire subfloor.”
Likewise, liquid plumbing cleaning products can come with unintended consequences. “Drano can eat away at pipes and eventually cause them to break,” warns Mr. Marcus. “You may not even know it’s happening, and when it does, it’ll be too late to stop. Instead of a liquid plumbing cleaner, use an auger or a snake to clear clogs.”
Prevent future plumbing problems
Preventing plumbing issues is just as important as fixing them. First, don’t flush things that aren’t supposed to go down the toilet. “Flushable wipes and moist towelettes are the worst things you can put down a sewer line,” says Mr. Marcus. “Even if a product claims to be flushable, it’s flushable at your expense.”
So, how can you tell what’s truly flushable? Mr. Marcus says if you have a hard time breaking something apart with your hands, it won’t break apart in your sewer line. “Those things will get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your sewer line and eventually clog it up.”
Another good preventative maintenance measure is hiring a company to perform high-pressure hydro jetting. According to Mr. Marcus, hydro jetting works to clean and unblock pipes by scouring the sides and fighting obstructions in front. “It’s really effective on kitchen sinks and other areas where grease builds up,” he says. “Homeowners should have their plumbing lines hydro jetted once a year, and commercial businesses and restaurants should do it several times a year depending on their individual needs.”
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