Common Plumbing Mistakes to Avoid

If you are like most people, you love to engage in projects that improve the aesthetic and functionality of your home. The DIY (do it yourself) movement is a positive thing, with home improvement stores like Home Depot providing lessons and tips that allow consumers the opportunity to save money while making small repairs around the house.

But there are some cases where choosing to “do it yourself” rather than calling a professional who is trained can cost you more time and money. It can also create legal issues with regards to municipal ordinances and insurance requirements which make it mandatory for plumbing and electrical work to be conducted by a licensed professional.

Nonetheless when a problem happens (even as a result of an attempted DIY home improvement project) a plumber is able to assist and fix the problem. Here are some of the most common and costly plumbing mistakes to avoid.

Sewer Rodding

The plumbing that manages the flow of water into your home and the flow of sewage out of your home for treatment is subject to problems from use, and from the age and wear on the pipes. Underground pipes can become compressed or “pinched’ when land masses move or if the substrate is adjusted (which sometimes happens during other home improvement projects). In addition sewage pipes can become penetrated or restricted by tree roots beneath the ground, or become clogged as a result of flushed feminine products or other debris from the garbage disposal

Sewer rodding is a procedure also known as “snaking” of sewer pipes. The plumber may determine it is safer to drain the pipe and shut off the flow of water to prevent further damage during the rodding service. Before the rodding can begin however, a plumber may need to see the architectural plans for the home to determine the location of pipes and the original installation of plumbing. In some rodding services a camera may be required to determine the exact location of the blockage.

The rodding mechanism forces a cable and a cutter head down the sewer pipe until it reaches the main street sewer line, indicating a clear passage. When it comes in contact with blockages the cutter head will expunge the blockage, which then must be removed to prevent back flow.

In the case of tree roots the home owner may be required to dig up the sewer line and hire someone to cut back the root systems so that they are not impeding the plumbing for the home. A costly procedure but one that is common in older houses. It is also recommended wherever possible that new home owners consider the location of essential sewer and underground plumbing lines, and plant trees at a safe distance to avoid problems.

Flooding Basements

Do you know if you have a sump pump? Do you know where your sump pump is located? Some home owners can mistake the existence of a sump pump as part of the installation of laundry appliances in a basement. The sump pump is not related to any laundry function whatsoever, but it plays an important role by preventing a flood of ground water from entering your basement.

Homeowners can avoid basement flooding by being aware of the functioning of your sump pump, as well as by engaging in routine maintenance of the pump to avoid issues. Ensure that the sinkhole area where the sump pump is located is clean and free of debris. The floater mechanism that reports ground water level should also be free of debris and able to move up and down with the water level without issue. At least twice a year, homeowners should inspect the discharge pipe from the sump pump to ensure that it is free of debris and able to adequately manage the run off from the pump.

Avoid the Use of Flushable Napkins

Do you use disposable facial wipes or flushable diaper wipes for children? While the wipes are a convenience to parents, they can present a problem when flushed through the sewer pipe in large qualities. While the cloths must be biodegradable to meet government guidelines, no one is really sure how long it takes for the wipes to dissolve. Consequently a household with children could find sewage pipes blocked by an excessive use of wipes, particularly in older homes where pipes may be already narrowed due to the accumulation of debris.

A positive precaution you can take is to avoid flushing disposal napkins entirely, and opt to use a waste basket instead, which will be kinder on your plumbing and help prevent costly repairs.

If you are not sure what kind of routine maintenance you should be doing to keep your sewer and pipes in top shape, schedule a meeting or consultation call with a local Downers Grove Plumber for advice. Annual routine maintenance services cost far less than repairs, and setting a schedule for inspection will save you time and money in the future.