It’s easy to take a home’s drain and waste system for granted. Without proper care, clogs and leaks can become a common occurrence. Keep these three things out of your home’s drain pipes to avoid major plumbing problems.
Grease is one of the worst things you can put down your home’s drains. Even though it might seem harmless because it’s a slippery, oily substance in your cooking pans, grease turns into a whole different animal once it cools off deep down in your home’s plumbing.
Once it’s no longer hot, grease hardens and coats the walls of your pipes and anything else that was already starting to form an obstruction, like sediment and matted hair. Additionally, solidified grease can block objects from passing through your pipes. All of this can result in a severe blockage that will require professional drain cleaning.
2. “Flushable” Wet Wipes
Contrary to the label on the packaging, the wipes should never be flushed. Here’s why:
Think about how quickly and easily toilet paper starts to break down once it gets soaked. Manufacturers design toilet paper this way on purpose so that it can move easily through your pipes and city sewers without causing clogs.
Now think about wet wipes. They literally sit in moisture in their package for weeks and months on end and still retain their shape—otherwise, they’d be useless for thorough cleaning. Imagine those same wipes traveling through your plumbing pipes. They’re not going to break down nearly as quickly as toilet paper, which makes them much more likely to get stuck along the way to the city sewer.
If you’d like to see the difference between how toilet paper behaves in water versus how a variety of “flushable” wet wipes behave, check out this video by The Fit RV!
3. Chemical Drain Cleaners
Store-bought chemical drain cleaners like Drano and Liquid Plumr have been household names for years, but recently, homeowners have started wising up to the damage and dangers products like these can cause. Here are some key reasons to steer clear of these cleaners:
Chemical drain cleaners can weaken your plumbing pipes, especially if they can’t melt or eat through the clog. Instead, you’ll have a hot or corrosive chemical mixture sitting in your pipe on top of the clog, eating away at the pipe material.
Chemical drain cleaners release harmful fumes containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs can irritate your nose, throat, and eyes and cause nausea and difficulty breathing. Continued exposure can also cause adverse long-term health effects, including damage to the central nervous system and cancer.
Many drain cleaners contain highly corrosive chemicals. Some contain concentrated sulfuric acid, which can get hot enough to burn your skin severely.
A retrospective review has revealed that around 3,000 drain cleaner injuries occur in the U.S. every year, and one-third of those injuries involve heat burns. Don’t be a statistic: if your home has a clog, stick to plunging or cabling. If that fails, contact a trusted plumber.