A home’s plumbing system is a critical component of its infrastructure. Yet, most people don’t think much about it until something goes wrong. It could be a constantly running toilet, a clogged drain, or something much more serious, like a pipe that suddenly bursts.
No matter how big or small the problem is, it’s fairly common for people in Orange County, CA, to tackle their home’s plumbing issues on their own. For many minor repairs and some maintenance, like drain cleaning, you don’t need any advanced skills. You just need to have a few specific tools and some basic know-how. Or YouTube.
All jokes aside, when it comes to plumbing, there are truly so many things that could go wrong. Often times it’s a totally unseen problem, like a slow, silent leak that was caused by a tiny internal crack and will soon result in a flooded bathroom.
A professional plumbing and drain cleaning company can not only fix the issue but prevent a potentially costly DIY disaster as well. In order to keep your home’s plumbing system flowing smoothly (literally), there are some common plumbing mistakes you should be aware of and try to avoid.
Using Liquid Drain Cleaners
When you notice that a drain in your home appears to be backed up, what do you typically do first? If you’re anything like most Americans, you probably head to the closest Orange County, CA, home improvement store and buy a bottle of Drano or Liquid-Plumr. After all, it’s a super simple and affordable solution. Dump the bottle down the drain, let the solution sit in the pipes for a while, flush it out with hot water, and the clog is gone. Right?
Not so fast. While that is technically how liquid drain cleaning products work, think about this: The cleaner has powerful chemicals that break down the obstruction inside the pipe, which means they often end up breaking down the pipe itself as well. This is especially true of galvanized pipes, which are more prone to corrosion and leaks caused by liquid drain cleaners. Although it’s not commonly used these days, galvanized piping was extremely popular in new home construction through the 1980s.
As an alternative, try the following methods for drain cleaning that’s less toxic.
- DIY Drano: If you have a slow drain, channel one of your grade school science experiments. Sprinkle baking soda over it, then pour in vinegar and let the mixture sit in the sit for at least a few hours. Finish by flushing it out with hot water.
- Plumber’s snake: For more difficult clogs, this flexible auger can be used. It “snakes” its way through the pipes, dislodging any obstructions. Plumber’s snakes are easy to find, easy to use, and easy on your plumbing.
If neither of these methods is working, it’s time to call a drain cleaning professional.
Ignoring a Leak
Pipes don’t typically burst out of nowhere. They just don’t. Almost always, before it happened there was an underlying problem, like a dripping faucet. Even if a faucet drips just a literal few times a day, once every several hours, this is often a sign that something’s not quite right. In fact, common household leaks waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water each year in the U.S.
A leak causes plenty of issues on its own, including a higher water bill and possibly mold. However, it could also be a sign of a much more serious issue, such as an internally cracked or corroded pipe.
Even if your leak seems extremely minor, there are some red flags to be aware of. If you hear water running through your pipes even when the water is not being used, or smell a foul odor coming from floors or walls, especially near the leak, there is likely a much more serious hidden issue.
Connecting Mismatched Pipes
Pipes typically come in two varieties: galvanized and copper. Unbeknownst to many DIYers, they cause corrosion if they come into direct contact with one another. While there is a workaround – a dielectric union joint fitting that keeps the galvanized and copper pipes from touching – you may be better off leaving this one to the plumbing and drain cleaning professionals.
Failing to Turn Off the Water
This may seem like such a minor step but forgetting to turn off the water before starting a plumbing project could have potentially disastrous effects.
Whether you’re doing something as minor as a routine drain cleaning or something more complex like replacing a pipe fitting, something could go wrong. If it does and the water source was never shut off, the problem will become much worse, literally pouring additional water onto the situation.
Most main water sources in a home, such as toilets and sinks, have shutoff valves.
Neglecting Routine Plumbing and Drain Cleaning
We get it, plumbing isn’t typically at the top of your mind. Keeping up with regular plumbing maintenance can make a world of difference in the long run, however. Minor leaks, small cracks, and other issues could be detected during routine service well before they become huge, costly problems later on down the road.
Whether you prefer to call a professional plumbing and drain cleaning company or do it yourself, plumbing system maintenance is fairly straightforward. Visually inspecting pipes and fittings regularly for leaks is a good place to start. Unclog slow drains as soon as you notice them using a gentle drain cleaning method and tighten faucets and fittings as needed to prevent slow leaks.
bluefrog Plumbing & Drain of Orange County, CA, is your one-stop-shop for all your plumbing needs. We offer 24/7 availability 365 days a year and we never charge extra for weekends, after-hours, or holidays. Give us a call at (949) 393-0933 or contact us online today!
Photo By jennifermecca2013 at istock