Every homeowner is going to try their hand at some DIY plumbing at some point. These projects can have mixed success; you might find yourself calling for an emergency plumber in the middle of the night or you might discover that you have an innate skill at the plumbing arts and embark on a whole new career path. But there are a number of things that homeowners commonly do that can make plumbing issues a whole lot worse and a lot more costly to repair. These are the things your plumber wishes you wouldn’t do because you’ll end up making both your and their life a lot harder. Familiarize yourself with this list and avoid making these mistakes at all costs. We promise your plumbing (and your plumber) will thank you for it.

What You Shouldn’t Do (According to Your New Orleans Plumber)

Using chemicals to clear out your drains.

When your drains clog up, you’ll be desperate to get them flowing freely again. Most people will reach for a plunger first (a tried and true tool that we highly recommend) but if that doesn’t work then they will often attempt to remove the clog with a chemical solution. If you’ve ever tried this before, you know how effective this solution seems to be. Pour it in, wait a little while, and suddenly your drains are flowing free. What you don’t see, though, is what’s happening behind the scenes. This chemical mixtures work by dissolving whatever is clogging up your drains; those chemicals don’t distinguish between the clog and your pipes, though. That means the same noxious mixture you pour down the drain to get rid of the clog could be eating away at your pipes, meaning you are going to have much bigger plumbing problems in the future. Those chemicals could put a plumbers tools and safety at risk, too, so it’s best just to avoid them.

Flush anything that isn’t toilet paper.

Your toilet isn’t made to dispose of all of your bathroom waste. It is capable of handling toilet paper because the material is made to quickly break down in the water. Put a piece of toilet paper in the sink and see how long it lasts; it should be gone in a matter of minutes. So you are safe to flush toilet paper, but anything else needs to go in the trash can. As plumbers, we know that accidents happen and objects seem to mysteriously disappear down the toilet (it seems to happen most often in houses with small children for some reason). These events can’t be helped and we’ll always be happy to come out and retrieve a toy car, beloved piece of jewelry, or the lost TV remote from the pipes. What’s worse, though, is when we need to clear the pipes of the “flushable” wipes, Q-tips, and Kleenexes that you’ve sent down the pipes only to discover they’ve jammed the passage.

Forget to change rubber hoses on appliances.

Did you know that the washing machine is one of the main culprits behind homeowner’s insurance claims? That’s because that rubber hose on the back of your washing machine (and a similar one on the back of your dishwasher) aren’t made to last forever. They need to be replaced about once every five years, but you should inspect them periodically for signs of cracking or wear. If those hoses burst, you’ll be facing a plumber repair bill as well as a bill to repair all of the water damage that’s done to your property. You can replace these hoses with stainless steel ones and get a lot more use out of them, but in any case, they should still be inspected regularly.

Fail to learn where your main water valve shuts off.

When you buy a house, this should be one of the first things that you do: go find the main water shut off valve and understand how to operate it. We can’t tell you how many homeowners call our plumbing team in New Orleans with an emergency and then when we arrive, the water is still going. By knowing where the main shut off is and how to operate it, you’ll be able to mitigate a lot of the water damage that could be done by a burst pipe or other plumbing emergency. It’s better to go without running water in the house for a few hours than it is to allow the water to continue to flood your home. It’s a good household policy that as soon as a plumbing issue starts, someone should shut off the water to the house until the plumber arrives.

Believe your garbage disposal can dispose of anything.

Like your toilet, your garbage disposal wasn’t made to get rid of all of your kitchen waste. While disposals are really good at getting rid of a lot of stuff, there are still some things that you should avoid putting down there. These include:

  • Fruit rinds (we know that you’ve been told putting lemon peel down the disposal will help it smell better, but it’s not true and can result in a call to our team)
  • Grease (putting grease down the drain will cause it to build up over time and create a massive plumbing backup into your home)
  • Eggshells (they won’t sharpen your blades, no matter what people tell you; they’ll actually end up binding the blades up)
  • Paper (that includes napkins, Clorox wipes, and paper towels; these need to go into the trash instead)
  • Anything stringy or fibrous (food or not food; dental floss, hair, celery, and even sweet potatoes can end up wrapping around the blades and motors and bringing your garbage disposal to a halt)

And What You Should Do

If you run into a plumbing issue, you need to call our New Orleans team. We’re happy to help you find the solutions you need in order to correct your plumbing issues. Acadian Plumbing has been hard at work in the New Orleans area making plumbing issues disappear. Whether you have an issue with your toilet, sink, hot water heater, garbage disposal, or any other plumbing fixture in your home, we can help get things flowing again. We also offer under slab repair and hydro excavation services for your larger plumbing projects. Simply get in touch with us to learn more about all of our plumbing services and to get a free quote on the services that you need for your home. You can call us or contact us through our website for more information. A member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.