When cared for properly, your plumbing system should last 80 years or more. The top reason some pipes last longer than others is due to preventative maintenance. Caring for your plumbing system before small issues evolve into larger plumbing emergencies means saving money over the course of owning your home.
What Should I Not Put Down The Drain?
While a professional plumber can perform certain tasks to ensure your pipes are preserved over time, there are several things you can do to prevent buildup and clogs. Whether you’ve just built a house and the plumbing is brand new, or you’re breathing new life into an older home, avoid putting these nine things down the drain.
The packaging may deem the personal wipes “flushable,” but your plumbing system tells another story. The fibers that bind flushable wipes together are too thick to immediately break apart in water. The thick material easily gets caught in pipes, grabbing other debris and waste to quickly form large clogs.
Kitchen pipes are often clogged by coffee grounds because many people believe the waste can quickly dissolve if washed down the drain. Coffee grounds can stick together and create a paste-like substance that builds up in your pipes.
It may seem like your garbage disposal does a nice job grinding and disposing of eggshells, but the small pieces can get trapped in grease buildup in your pipes. When eggshells get caught in fats and oils in your drain, they can create a blockage. Instead, place the eggshells and coffee grounds in your garden to feed your plants.
Grease from cooked bacon, sausage and other fatty foods is one of the top culprits of clogged drains and sewer systems across the country. Store the grease and oil in a jar to cool to room temperature then place in the trash.
Cotton balls are biodegradable, but they’re also designed to absorb moisture, which means they’re likely to cause clogs in your pipes. The cotton balls can become trapped in grease buildup, then grab other debris to form a large blockage.
Some brands of cotton swabs use plastic as the middle piece, which can get trapped in your pipes and collect passing debris. Place cotton swabs in the trash.
Like cotton balls, paper towels are biodegradable, but the material is so thick that it can cause a clog before breaking apart in the sewer system. Never flush paper towels.
A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey found measurable amounts of one or more medications in 80 percent of the water samples drawn from a network of 139 streams in 30 states. Flushing unused medication can contaminate drinking water. Take your discarded drugs to an authorized drop-off site, like your local police station.
The toxins and chemicals in paint can end up in your local water supply when you rinse the material down the drain. Research your area for a hazardous waste material drop-off site to properly discard of unused paint.
Preserve your plumbing system by only flushing and washing away the proper wastes. You’ll save yourself calls to an emergency and avoid an early onset of pipe corrosion.