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8 Plumbing Tips, Tricks, and Other Things to Keep in Mind


One of the “joys” of homeownership is learning how to care for your home’s plumbing system and prevent potential issues with the pipes, fixtures, and appliances. There’s a lot to take care of, but fortunately, you can benefit from the tricks and wisdom from all those that have come before you.

Use the following tips and life hacks so that you can avoid all kinds of plumbing-related headaches and spend more time enjoying your home.

1. Keep grease out of the sink.

Once grease cools down, it solidifies in pipes, coating the walls and creating clog-causing globs. Instead of trying to rinse grease down your sink, collect it in a container in the fridge where you can save it until garage day, and wipe any remaining grease off your cookware with a paper towel. When you’re ready to throw it out, empty the grease into a biodegradable garbage bag and toss it with the rest of the garbage.

Of course, while you wash dishes, there will still be some remaining grease on the plates from dinner. To help it move along through your plumbing system, run hot water down the drain to flush it for about 15 to 20 seconds after you’re done washing dishes. This will help prevent clogs and bad smells in the drain.

2. Check for a leak in your toilet with food coloring.

Inside your toilet is a part called the flapper. When this part wears out, water from the tank will continually leak into the bowl. This can potentially waste 200 gallons of water a month!

If you suspect your toilet might have a leaky flapper, you can check by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank, waiting 30 minutes, and seeing if any of the color ends up in your toilet bowl. If you see the color in the bowl, it’s time to replace the flapper. Just remember to flush right after your test so your toilet doesn’t get stained!

3. Keep a disposable baking sheet under your sinks.

The problem with leaky sinks or P-traps is that they can go unnoticed until water damage occurs. If you keep a large, foil baking sheet in the vanity directly under the sink and its plumbing, you can easily see leaks forming because water will visibly collect in the sheet. Additionally, because the sheet is catching the water, it will prevent water damage inside your vanity.

4. Learn where your home’s water shut-off valves are located now.

When your home has a leak, the first thing you’ll want to do is turn off the water at the nearest shut-off valve to prevent more water from coming out. The valves should be located next to or very close to their respective appliance or plumbing fixture. If you’re not sure which one you need to use, turn off your home’s main water shut-off valve.

5. Flush your water heater once a year.

Whether you own a tank or tankless model, flushing your water heater will help it last longer and work as efficiently as possible. When minerals like calcium get warmed up in water, they can easily solidify and start to coat your water heater’s components. This can block water flow and the heating element.

6. Buy some drain guards.

Drain guards are essential for keeping unwanted debris out of your kitchen and bathroom pipes. Believe it or not, your home’s drain pipes aren’t that wide, and numerous materials and substances can cause clogs, including hair and food remnants.

7. Never flush any trash but toilet paper.

Even if manufacturers claim that the product is flushable, you should discard any trash that isn’t toilet paper into a garbage can. Toilet paper is made to break apart very easily once it gets wet. Cotton balls, makeup pads, and wet wipes, on the other hand, hold their shape for a long time, even when soaked, which can allow them to create a clog in your pipes.

8. Use white vinegar to remove hard water mineral deposits.

Over time, minerals in your water can solidify and reduce the water flow and efficiency of your plumbing fixtures. A “distilled white vinegar bath” can help! You can soak everything from your showerhead to your faucet aerators in white vinegar overnight and simply wipe or scrub away remaining debris the next day with a clean cloth.

With more than 60 years of experience, Stuart Services is proud to offer a full range of plumbing services for customers throughout New Orleans and the North Shore area. Need a reliable repair or installation? Call us today: 504-321-2079!