Self Help For Plumbing Problems

It can be comforting to recognize that you can always call in a plumber for those emergency plumbing problems, but that phone call may not be needed at all if you are careful. You can take some simple steps to ensure that emergency backups and more never happen. Take a look at two common plumbing problem areas to see what you can do now to avoid bigger problems later.

Don't allow the sewer to make itself at home.

Did you know that your home has special vents that allow noxious sewer smells to escape? Everyone knows that their toilet and other plumbing lines go somewhere, but few understand how this system can turn on them. Unless you have a septic tank system, you have a main line that leads from your toilet to the street, where it meets up with the pipe taking it to the water treatment plant, eventually. It's important to visualize that this pipe is not your personal sanitary sewer pipe once it hits the street; it's everyone's. When all systems are "go," the waste is flushed out and joins the waste contributed by your neighbors as it travels out of your neighborhood. But when you consider the potential for the odor from these pipes, you can understand the need for a vent in your home.

Where is this vent? In most cases, it resides on your roof, and unless you climb up there you will likely never encounter it. Unfortunately, if the vent is prevented from doing its job in any way, you will know very quickly by the horrifying smells coming from the sewer pipes. These vents use air pressure to keep those noxious gases from entering through your toilet, and they must be kept clear to work properly. The most common culprits for vent blocking include critters getting trapped there (rats, birds, etc) and the vent being used to string conduits for satellite or cable systems.

If you begin detecting a bad smell, check your vents for blockage. If you cannot locate any blockage, a call to a professional plumber may be in order.

Monitor what goes down your kitchen sink drain.

As you might imagine, the kitchen sink could win the award for the most-clogged of all drains. The worst offenders are food waste sent down the drain that is either too chunky or too tiny. Accidentally washing larger particles like vegetable peelings and plate leftovers are bad, but many people overlook the potential for the clog-forming disaster of things like flour, sugar, rice, and more.

Adding a solid to the mix can only exacerbate the issue. It's a common practice to send used cooking oil down the drain accompanied by hot water, but that cooking oil could solidify and contribute to a nasty clog. Instead, save the original cooking oil container and pour the cooled oil back into it. Further, using a mesh trap will keep larger particles from going astray. Avoid using self-administered clog removers when the worst happens, since they can be dangerous and ineffective.

Call a local plumber, such as those at O'Brien Plumbing, for more help and advice. 

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