6 Things Plumbers ALWAYS Do In Their Own Homes
Dawn Weinberger Updated: Feb. 04, 2021
Plumbers say keeping up on a few basic tasks and best practices is the secret to a well-maintained, fully-functioning home plumbing system.
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Think Like a Plumber
A professional plumber has a significant advantage over the average homeowner when it comes to maintaining pipes , drains, fixtures, et al. Pros knows exactly what to do and when to do it. They also know whether something is an emergency versus a “this can wait until the weekend” sort of thing.
But don’t let this intimidate you — you don’t need to memorize the Uniform Plumbing Code or pass your state’s licensing exam to maintain a plumbing system free of leaks, clogs and sewage backups . It’s more a matter of implementing habits and routines that will help you minimize, if not avoid, the need to make a panicked phone call to Plumbing 911 on a Saturday night.
Here are six things professional plumbers always do in their own homes to keep things running smoothly.
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Plumbers Always Put Food Waste Into the Trash or Compost Bin
Dumping bacon grease or the remnants of your toddler’s lunch into the sink and running the garbage disposal might seem like the quick-and-easy way to plow through a stack of dirty dishes. But it’s actually a terrible habit that can really wreak havoc on your plumbing system, says Aaron Mulder, co-owner and Operations Manager of Mr. Rooter Plumbing in San Antonio, Tex.
A better plan? Scrape your plates into the garbage can, and pour grease into an empty can that also goes in the trash. Composting is an option , too, if you have a way to dispose of the compost. Some cities offer compost pick-up, and many people use compost in their gardens .
Why is this so important? Grease sticks to the walls of your pipes and eventually clogs your drain. And the garbage disposal is not designed to break down and process things like meat, eggshells and coffee grounds. Putting these items down the drain and running the disposal will overwork and eventually damage the device, Mulder says.
Plumbers Flush Their Water Heater Regularly
If you find yourself standing in a cold shower every morning or hearing weird sounds coming from your water heater , it might be time to ask yourself if the unit has been flushed lately. Or ever.
“You should (flush your water heater) once a year,” says Jake Romano of John the Plumber in Burlington, Ont.
Why is this necessary? According to Romano, over time sediment builds up at the bottom of your water heater tank. This sediment can damage the appliance, making it inefficient or even inoperable. Flushing is particular important in areas with hard water, adds Mulder.
Fortunately, performing this annual to-do is not complicated, Romano says. And while you can certainly hire a plumber to flush a water heater on your behalf, many DIYers are perfectly capable of doing the job.
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Plumbers Always Use a No-Frills Plunger
Sometimes, back-to-basics is best. Case in point: toilet plungers . You can buy all sorts of gimmicky, overly engineered plungers, but the ones that work best are the good old-fashioned, less than $8 plungers , says Romano.
Why? Because they quickly and effectively do the job they are meant to do — unclog a toilet . Plus, they are easy to clean . “Fancy” plungers, with their air holes, tempered handles and drip-free magnetic collars, cost more, and don’t do anything to help make plunging more pleasant. Save yourself the trouble (and the $20) by sticking to the original version, even if it doesn’t look as good in the corner of your bathroom.
On a related note, when you’re shopping for a plunger, add a basic pair of safety goggles to your cart, says Romano. Plunging can be an extremely dirty job (need I say more?) and you’ll want your eyes protected.
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Plumbers Change Their Water Filter Cartridges