1) Absolutely do not flush down the toilet: Grease, vegetable oil, Kleenex, floss, paper towels, disposable wipes and feminine hygiene products.
2) Maintaining and properly repairing plumbing issues should always be a top priority. Damage caused by faulty pipes is the second most insurance claim. According to the Insurance Journal, the five most common causes of home claims are:
--Exterior wind damage – 25 percent of all losses.
--Non-weather-related water damage (e.g., plumbing or appliance issues) – 19 percent.
--Hail – 15 percent.
--Weather-related water damage (e.g., rain, melting ice, snow) – 11 percent.
--Theft – 6 percent.
3) When buying a house, most new home buyers don’t bother getting the underground drain system scoped. There are numerous potential problems that can occur over time:
“You might wonder, Do I need a sewer line inspection before buying a house? The answer is yes. A sewer inspection should be a mandatory part of your house inspection checklist. When considering what inspections to get when buying a house, do not overlook the sewer line. In fact, getting a sewer inspection is one of the most important home inspection tips for first-time buyers. Sewer line inspections are cheap, but sewer repairs can be extremely expensive. Why spend the money on a repair when you could have avoided with a simple inspection?......
“Tree roots are the primary cause of blocked sewer lines. Fortunately, roots are easy to find with a closed-circuit television inspection. Unfortunately, they can be very expensive to dig up and clear out. Having the sewer line scoped should be on your house-buying inspection checklist. In fact, you can’t afford not to inspect the sewer line before closing your house purchase deal.”
4) Some plumbers object to the baking soda and vinegar method to unclog drains, others swear by it:
“Start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain.
Then pour a cup of baking soda and an equal solution of vinegar and water (1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar).
Cover with the drain plug and wait 5–10 minutes.
Flush the drain with boiling water.
The bubbling reaction from the baking soda and vinegar helps to loosen the clog, before the boiling water helps remove it from your pipes.”
5) The amount of water wasted annually in simple faucet and toilet leaks is truly astounding. Repairing the leaks right away translates into substantial money savings:
“The average household's leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. Common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. These types of leaks are often easy to fix, requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings. Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.”
Leak Detective and Drip Scavenger Hunt for kids: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-02/documents/ws-ourwater-falw-student-worksheet.pdf
6) Some people have had bad experiences with plumbers. This Old House provides sage advice:
“When making a selection, ask for proof of a license. Most states require plumbers to be licensed, and they typically provide a number you can call to verify that the license is current and that there are no active complaints against it. Any plumber you consider should also hold a current workers' compensation policy and a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance.
“The best way to find a good plumber is to ask friends and neighbors, remodeling contractors, and real estate agents. Nothing holds up a home sale faster than plumbing problems, so realtors often have a list of reliable, fast-response plumbers. Once you find a plumber you're satisfied with, keep his numbers (office, home, and cell phones, and beeper) handy for emergencies.”
7) As mentioned above, asking friends and neighbors is a good way to find a qualified plumber, but how many people in our neighborhood do we know? Broaden your reach with this excellent community site:
“Nextdoor is the best way to stay informed about what’s going on in your neighborhood—whether it’s finding a last-minute babysitter, planning a local event, or sharing safety tips. There are so many ways our neighbors can help us, we just need an easier way to connect with them.”
8) There are numerous online reviews where customers rate the experiences they’ve had with their contractor. Three of the more popular ones are:
9) The plumbing bill can be a bit of a surprise for some. Good plumbers aren’t cheap. Costs may even include the drive to your home, along with parts and labor:
“For a plumber specializing in drain-clearing services, expect to pay at least $70 per hour for drain lines and $125 per hour for sewer lines. Most problems can be fixed in an hour. For weekend or night calls, add more to the hourly rate.
“For basic plumbing services, such as leak repair or installing new traps, you'll pay $45 to $65 per hour in addition to parts, which the plumber will mark up from his wholesale price. For weekend or night calls, you'll pay as much as $100 just for the call and $75 an hour after that. At these rates, you don't want to spend much time chatting, but do ask what the repair/parts options are and get advice on how to prevent the problem from recurring.”
10) Avoid using Drano or similar products on a fully clogged drain. Unless there is some flow to the water, the chemicals from Drano will remain in the clogged area and slightly erode the finished surface.
11) Drano is not popular with most plumbers:
“Over-the-counter chemicals used to break up clogs in drain lines don’t always do an effective job. When a homeowner has poured some down the drain and then calls a plumber to fix the persistent issue, the plumber often sighs. ‘They are almost always ineffective and are definitely only temporary,’ says Tom Parker, a plumber in Maryland. ‘They can also cause corrosion in the drainage system. And if I have to snake the drain, I can get those chemicals splashed all over me. Please at least warn me ahead of time.’”
12) Sympathy for the plumber:
“Plumbers face dangers from asbestos, dust, lead, chemicals, silicosis, steam burns, biting vermin, poison ivy, and sharps carrying blood-borne diseases …….. Gastroenteritis is caused by noroviruses that sometimes come from parasites or E. Coli. Giardia lamblia is a parasite that lives in your intestines and comes from contaminated food, soil or water and sometimes feces …… Beyond the bugs, plumbing contractors face other harmful substances in the course of their work. Sewer gas, a by-product of decomposition, can destroy your sense of smell so you don’t realize you’re breathing ammonia, methane and hydrogen sulfide.”