woman throwing away tissue in toilet

Avoid These 5 Household Plumbing Mistakes

Indoor plumbing is one of the greatest things about being alive in the 21st century--after all, who wants to use an outhouse in the Midwest in the middle of winter? That being said, your home’s plumbing system does require proper care and attention, and making too many mistakes with it can result in some expensive issues.

From one too many flushed wipes to DIY repairs gone wrong, these are some of the most common plumbing problems we see homeowners make.

1. Overtightening Faucet Handles

Few things are more irritating than a faucet that won’t stop dripping. A lot of people will twist the faucet handle of their sink, shower, or bathtub as tightly as they can when shutting off the water to prevent any dripping or wasted water. The problem is that when you overtighten the faucet handle, you end up wearing out the washer inside of it prematurely. This can result in the very thing you were trying to avoid: a drippy faucet!

Instead, turn the handle reasonably far to shut off the water and wait a moment for the water flow to taper off before turning the handle any farther.

2. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners may seem like a quick and easy fix for a clog, but they have their downsides. For one, the chemicals are not healthy to breathe. Furthermore, caustic drain cleaners damage certain types of pipes if the chemical reaction fails to melt away the clog and instead ends up sitting on top of it. Clearing clogs with a drain snake is a chemical-free solution, and a drain snake is generally able to reach farther into your plumbing and deliver a longer-lasting solution than something like Drano.

3. Flushing Trash Other Than Toilet Paper

To avoid clogs and flooding toilets, the only trash you should be flushing is toilet paper. Other types of paper and refuse, including paper towels, napkins, facial tissues, and feminine hygiene products, are made to hold their shape against moisture. Therefore, instead of breaking down in your plumbing the way toilet paper does, these materials are more likely to get caught on existing obstructions or wedged into curves in your pipes. Even most “flushable” wipes take significantly longer than toilet paper to break down in water. If you’d like to see a visual representation of how toilet paper dissolves versus how flushable wipes dissolve, check out The Fit RV’s video.

4. Wrapping Plumber’s Tape Incorrectly

When installing a plumbing fixture on your own, avoid this common DIY mishap! Plumber’s tape (also called Teflon tape, PTFE tape, or thread seal tape) helps to create a watertight seal on threaded pipe joints. For the tape to work, you need to apply it in the direction of the threads you’re putting it on. This will almost always be clockwise, but check the threads just in case. If you apply the tape in the wrong direction, it will loosen when you’re tightening the male and female plumbing components together.

5. Overtightening Plumbing Connections

This is another frequent mistake made during DIY plumbing repairs and installations. While it’s important to tighten components enough to prevent a leak, overtightening can have several disadvantages:

  • While overtightening, you might strip the pipe threads, making the fittings useless.

  • You might also crack or otherwise break the fitting. This frequently happens with plastic fittings and porcelain toilets.

  • Sometimes pipes are connected so tightly that it’s impossible to loosen them to complete a repair. In those instances, the pipe may need to be cut and replaced.

When in doubt, call a licensed, reputable plumber.

At The Rooter Works Plumbing and Drains, our family-owned company takes on everything from small leaks to major plumbing projects. During our many years of business, we’ve come across a wide range of unique plumbing situations. When you work with a certified technician from The Rooter Works Plumbing and Drains, you are guaranteed upfront pricing and quality work.

For more information, contact us by calling (614) 412-3324 or using our online form today!

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