Plumbing. It’s a thing. It’s a very vital thing. Have you ever spent any amount of time out in the woods without it? Enough said. It’s also one of the larger headaches of homeownership. When it’s working fine, it probably doesn’t even register on your radar. But when a pipe bursts or the toilet no longer flushes the way it used to it becomes a pain (fully intentional pun ahead) in the drain. Sometimes the issues are a result of old equipment reaching the end of its life. Other times, it’s user error. While you can’t prevent every issue from meeting you head on, you can avoid these mistakes to increase longevity and maximum efficiency for your plumbing. These are the most common plumbing mistakes.

Ice Down The Disposal

If you are any type of home remedy aficionado you’ve probably been given this quaint bit of advice. Putting ice down your drains will sharpen the blades! This is just all wrong. Why? Your garbage disposal blades aren’t sharp to begin with. In fact, they’re dull as a brick. They mainly emulsify the contents inside of it to a small enough particle to pass easily through your drain. Running ice through your disposal will do more harm than good. 

On this note, the same goes with citrus rinds. Yes, the diffuse a lovely, fresh scent throughout the kitchen, but they damage the blade. Scraps in general go in the trash, as do oils and fats. It should literally be only tiny bits and particles passing through your disposal, and always with the assistance of running water. 

Using Drain-o Or Other Commercial Brands For Clogs

Yes, we know. They’re marketed to the Average Joe to clear clogs. But these chemicals are actually so harsh, they not only take care of the clog, but they end up corroding and destroying your pipes. It might seem cheaper than calling a plumber, but it won’t when you have to replace your pipes. The better option is to snake your drains. After snaking, a hair trap or net of sorts to catch large debris from going down is the best route to take. If the snake doesn’ fix it, call your plumber.

Over Tightening Connections

If you feel confident enough to perform some basic plumbing repairs, which is doable in some instances, be sure you’re doing them properly. The most common mistake in these repairs is tightening connections too tight. While you probably think you’re just making sure it’s secure, it actually leads to cracking which leads to leaks. Whether the repair involved joints, hoses, or bolts at the floor of your toilet, too much torch leads to Danger, Will Robinson!

Leaving The Water On

If you’re going to perform even the simplest fixes of swapping out your faucets, don’t forget to turn the water off first. We’re talking about the main water line. You might think, “Well, this is amateur hour” but lest you forget… you are the amateur. It’s not going to bring the whole house down. But you’ll soon be an unsuspecting contestant in your very own Wet T-shirt Contest. And your house – or part of it – could flood. Avoid that by remembering this crucial first step.

Plumbing Without Research

This is all encompassing. If you’re going to tackle a job, make sure you have thoroughly researched the process, the pitfalls, and the tools you need to successfully fix your issues. It’s kind of like painting in that it’s not a job you want to get halfway through and realize you don’t have all the things you need to finish. You really can’t stop mid-way through a plumbing job to run out for spare parts or tools. 

When in doubt, call the professional. With so many things that can go wrong at any given point in time if you think “This is too hard”, no one will blame you for throwing in the towel. Better to throw it in than to have to yank all your towels out of the closet to wipe up your mistakes.