The Top Avoidable Plumbing Disasters

Plumbing disasters can be very costly and can happen at any time. Leaks, flooding, sewage spills cause time-consuming and, sometimes, dangerous messes. You can avoid many of the most common plumbing problems through preventative maintenance and by contacting some professional plumbers in northern beaches.

Clogged Drains

Clogged drains are very common and are usually easy to avoid. A clog occurs when debris such as hair, food, grease or other items build up in pipes until the pipe is blocked. Prevent clogs by using a sink strainer in all sinks. Never rinse off dishes without the strainer in place. In addition, do not pour grease down the drain. When grease cools, it solidifies and creates a sticky mess that is perfect for trapping other debris in the drain.

To unclog any drain, first try a plunger. Do not reach for a chemical drain cleaner; many of these can damage plumbing.

If the plunger does not help, try an environmentally friendly drain cleaner. First, boil some water. Next sprinkle half a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by the water. Wait a few minutes and then run some water to see if the drain is unclogged. If the drain is still clogged, use baking soda again, but follow it with white vinegar. Cover the drain with a drain plug or anything else that will seal it. The chemical reaction caused when the vinegar and baking soda combine should break up the clog.

If your sink or tub is marble or granite, take care to avoid spilling vinegar on it. The acid may etch the surface. If these methods do not work, use a plumbing auger.

The Top Avoidable Plumbing Disasters

Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can lead to burst pipes. There are several ways to prevent this. First, make sure water pipes are insulated. Wrap all exposed pipes with special insulation meant for plumbing. When freezing temperatures are predicted, turn the taps on until a small amount of water is dripping. This relieves pressure in the pipes — even if water freezes, the pipes should not burst.

Never try to thaw out frozen pipes using an open flame; you may end up with a greater disaster on your hands than flooding. If pipes freeze and you are not sure what to do, or if they have burst, turn off the main shut off valve and call a plumber.

Overflowing Toilet

Most people have experienced the mess of an overflowing toilet. Toilets are designed to handle waste, toilet paper and little else. When other things are flushed, the build up can eventually clog up the pipes. Sometimes toilets will clog temporarily due to excessive toilet paper alone. The first thing to do when a toilet is overflowing is close the flapper valve, if you can access it. Next, use a plunger to free the clog. If the plunger will not get the clog to budge, use your plumbing auger.

Prevent further clogs by instructing your household on what does not belong in the toilet. Young children sometimes find toilets fascinating. Make sure they know that nothing should be dropped into the toilet. In addition, do not flush food scraps down the toilet. Even though these are biodegradable, they take too long to break down and can cause a clog.

Hot Water Heater Issues

Hot water heaters may leak and can even explode. This is among the most dangerous water-related disasters you could have in your home. The best prevention is to have it inspected yearly and replace old water heaters when necessary.

By changing habits and preventative maintenance, plumbing disasters can be prevented. Leaks, flooding and sewage spills can be time-consuming and sometimes dangerous messes. With a little foresight and knowing when to call a professional plumber, the most costly disasters can be avoided.

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Janice Turner found vital home plumbing tips at