It’s expensive to be a homeowner, and when you notice a plumbing problem, it’s tempting to try to fix it yourself. You may also be tempted to ignore what seems like a minor problem, hoping that it will go away on its own. DIY repairs and ignoring problems can lead to some big plumbing disasters in your home. At Beyer Plumbing, our skilled plumbers handle all types of plumbing issues. We recommend avoiding these 10 plumbing mistakes in your San Antonio, TX, home.
1. Not Fixing Leaks
If you notice a damp spot on a wall, ignoring it is never a good idea. There could be a leak in the wall. Leaks in walls, floors or ceilings can lead to major structural problems. It’s also a bad idea to forego fixing a leaky fixture. A leaky faucet could waste a few gallons of water every day and hundreds of gallons of water per year. If you’re trying to lower your utility bills, have our licensed plumbers take care of them as soon as you notice them.
2. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners
When one of your drains is slow, it’s tempting to drive over to the hardware, home improvement or big box store and buy a bottle of chemical drain cleaner. Pouring the liquid drain cleaner puts you at risk for eye and skin injuries. These cleaners contain chemicals that are caustic, and they can burn through your skin and irritate your mucous membranes. They can also erode your plumbing. If you use liquid drain cleaners on a regular basis, the pipes could experience severe corrosion. You’re better off having us perform drain snaking or hydro-jetting to clear a stubborn, slow or backed-up drain.
3. Skipping Water Heater Maintenance
Conventional water heaters require some extra maintenance. The water storage tanks of these systems are prone to sediment buildup. If you don’t drain the tank, the sediment buildup can coat the heating element. The heating element won’t be able to heat the water to the temperature set on the water heater’s thermostat. It will overwork itself and fail much earlier than it would if no sediment buildup was present. Water heaters should be cleaned once per year during a tune-up visit.
4. Not Insulating Pipes
In most homes, at least one section of pipe runs along a perimeter wall. On a cold winter night, the water in the pipe could freeze. The pressure of the frozen water in a pipe may cause it to burst. A burst pipe can flood your entire home. Insulating your pipes reduces the risk of a frozen pipe. Both hot and cold water pipes should be insulated. Insulating hot water pipes and the water heater’s storage tank improves their efficiency. Adding pipe insulation is something you can do yourself. However, if you want to use fiberglass insulation, it’s best to leave its installation to a professional. That’s because the loose fibers can make their way into your lungs when you breathe. Once the fibers are in your lungs, they cause irritation and contribute to the development of respiratory disorders.
5. Failing to Install a Battery Backup for the Sump Pump
A sump pump is critical to protecting your home from a flood or seepage of groundwater. A severe weather event that knocks out power and causes a flood could leave you in a major bind. That’s because sump pumps require electricity to power the pump’s motor. Installing a battery backup provides you with up to 24 hours of power for the pump to keep water out of your home. After a battery backup is installed, be sure to test it once per month. The batteries usually last for three to five years.
6. Mixing Water and Electricity
If you notice a water leak in your home, never use electricity while you’re standing in the puddle of water. If you flip a light switch or attempt to insert a plug into an outlet, you could get electrocuted. If you see a wire in the water, avoid the area and call us for emergency repairs. Avoid accessing the area if the water has reached the level of the outlets on the walls. Live electricity could enter the water. This problem requires shutting off the power and having our plumber assess the situation and repair the leak.
7. Ignoring a Clogged Toilet
A clogged toilet isn’t a pleasant experience. Low-flush toilets frequently clog when a large amount of solid waste needs to be flushed. If pouring some water from a bucket into the toilet doesn’t help, your next step is to plunge the toilet with a bell-style plunger. If it’s still clogged, don’t try anything else. This is when you need help from an experienced plumber. If you suspect that someone dropped something into the toilet, don’t plunge it. Doing so could make it get stuck in the pipe, and getting it out will require cutting into your home’s walls or floors.
8. Flushing Garbage Down the Toilet
Toilets should only be used to flush human waste and a small amount of toilet paper. If you or your guests flush wrappers, medication, sanitary products, baby diapers or wipes, tissues or paper towels down the toilet, you’ll end up with a clog or worse. Toilet paper is specially designed to disintegrate in the water, while paper towels, tissues and baby wipes do not break apart. Be sure to place a garbage can next to the toilet. Let guests know to use the garbage can for trash.
9. Misusing the Garbage Disposal
When you’re preparing food and cooking, it’s tempting to just put all the food waste into the garbage disposal. However, doing this could result in a major clog. Never put anything fibrous, starchy or stringy into the garbage disposal. These items will get caught on the blades. Starchy items absorb water. They grow as they do this, and they’ll create an obstruction in the garbage disposal’s drain. Also avoid putting dairy, meat scraps or bones, grease or oil into the garbage disposal.
10. Not Installing a Backflow Preventer
A downpour that drops more than one inch of rain per hour, an extended period of rainy weather or a clog in your sewer line could allow raw sewage to back up into your toilet, sink, bathtub or another plumbing fixture. Cleaning a sewage backup is a massive undertaking. Anything touched by the raw sewage has to be removed. A backflow preventer is a simple device that prevents sewage from backing up into your home. A good time to install one is during a sewer line cleaning or sewer video inspection. Once per year during your annual sewer maintenance visit, our plumbers will check the backflow preventer to make sure that it’s in proper working condition.
At Beyer Plumbing, we’re ready to provide you with reliable plumbing maintenance, repair, replacement and installation services in San Antonio. Local homeowners also count on us for new construction plumbing, tankless water heaters, water softeners, water quality systems and emergency repairs. If you’re a local business owner, you can turn to us for commercial plumbing services. To learn more about plumbing dangers and what you should never do, give us at Beyer Plumbing a call today.