The plumbing in our homes often gets overlooked. Because the pipes are usually hidden in the walls, we do not often think about where our drains lead to or the health of our plumbing. However, these systems are extremely important for the health of your family and your home. There are a few key things that every homeowner can do to improve the plumbing in their home. Here are some easy steps you can take to improve your plumbing performance.
Be Mindful of Your Drains
It may seem easy to just wash what you do not want anymore down the drain, but dumping or flushing items that are not meant for your pipes can be detrimental to your plumbing. The plumbing in your sink, laundry room or bathroom are made with extremely specific purposes in mind and should only be used for those things.
In your kitchen, use a drain strainer to catch food before it flows down the drain. Even if you have a garbage disposal, limit the items that go down to those that are small and will easily decompose. In bathrooms or bathtubs, you can use a drain strainer to prevent hair from clogging the drain.
Additionally, remember that you should limit what gets flushed down the toilet to the intended items. The pipes below toilets have bends that can easily get clogged if they are filled with cotton swabs, hair or paper towels. See our suggestions below of items to keep out of your kitchen sinks and toilets to keep your plumbing running smooth.
Don’ts for Kitchen Sinks
Even if you have a garbage disposal, there are some things that should never go down your kitchen sink. Here are some items that should never go down the drain in your kitchen or bathroom sink:
- Coffee grounds
- Grease, fat and oils
- Paper products, such as paper towels, cotton balls or produce stickers
- Household fluids
- Flushable cat litter
- Medications (while these may not clog your pipes, no one wants medications to end up in the water supply)
Don’ts for Toilets
Toilet pipes are not made for solid or strangely shaped items. Many people start to use their toilet as a “disposal all” system, flushing anything small enough to go down. However, this can cause backup in the pipes and clog the pipes. Here are some main things you should never flush:
- Makeup sponges
- Baby or cleaning wipes (even if they are labeled as “flushable”)
- Cotton swabs or balls
- Feminine hygiene products
- Children’s toys (we know this one is usually done by curious toddlers, but try to teach your kids from a young age that toys should not be flushed)
- Paper towels
- Dental floss
- Band aides
- Too much toilet paper
Check for Leaks
It can be hard to tell when your pipes are leaking, as there is not always a tell-tale puddle on the floor. Leaks can go on for years undetected, but this is detrimental to your pipes and increases your water bill.
There are a few easy ways to check for leaks in your home. If you suspect your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food dye in the toilet. Let it sit for 15 minutes and check the bowl. If the water is clear, the toilet is sound.
To check for leaks in other parts of your home, turn off all water-using appliances and stop the toilets, sink and other plumbing fixtures. Take note of the water meter, then check it again after an hour. If the meter has not moved, congratulations, your home is leak free! If the water meter has changed, there is a leak on the property.
Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of leaks in your home:
- Peeling paint
- Sound of running water
- Puddles or water stains
Insulating your plumbing can help prevent broken pipes or leaks in the colder months. You can purchase insulation sleeves at your local home improvement store, wrapping the pipes to keep them safe.
Clear Drains Regularly
Despite our best efforts, gunk and debris does get into our drains and prevent them from flowing well. To combat this regular build up, plan to clean your drains a few times a year. An easy way to clear drains is to pour vinegar into the drain and let it sit for several hours, flushing away with hot water. For stubborn build up, like fats and oils in a kitchen sink, you can use baking soda and vinegar to help dislodge and break up the buildup.
Work With an Experienced Plumber
If you are experiencing plumbing issuing in your home, hire an experienced, reputable plumber in Kalispell to improve the plumbing. A certified plumbing technician from Central Heating can help repair leaks, avoid future leaks, clean plumbing and fix clogs, as well as improve the overall health of your plumbing system. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment.