Countdown to Healthier Plumbing
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a flaming-hot-trash-trapped-in-a-broken-garbage-disposal year, and I’m a bit apprehensive to make any sort of resolution or hope for better in 2021, so I propose that we all resolve to flush out the old, clean out our pipes, and work towards healthier plumbing.
If you’re anything like me, you’re stuck inside for the next 6 months, so the standard New Year’s resolutions of exercising more, eating healthier, and drinking less alcohol probably ain’t happening (maybe that’s just me). In fact, I am yet again breaking my own rule of not writing lists, if that’s any indication of how well I keep my promises to myself.
So, in order to keep myself and others on track, please join me in counting down to healthier plumbing and happier homes of 2021.
10. Check Your P-Trap
I briefly touched on the P-Trap in last month’s blog. In a nutshell, your P-Trap is the bend in your sink pipes that connect the drain to the sewage system. They look like sideways Ps and would have actually been perfect for the Ps in the Platinum Plumbing logo (as well as pipe wrenches, but what do I know? Who am I? The Creative?). They are meant to keep the sewage gasses from coming up through the drain, but they are also good at catching things like large objects you accidentally drop down the drain and hair and grease (if you put grease down your drain, but don’t do that).
If you notice your sink is draining slowly, you can use chemical cleaner or a snake to get your juices flowing again. Also, if you have a sink that you don’t use very often (like a basement sink, perhaps), run the water occasionally to prevent the gasses from coming back into your house. They smell real bad. Trust me.
9. Consider Drain Covers
One time I moved into an apartment, and after only a couple of weeks, I noticed that my shower water was around my ankles. Now, I’m no plumber, but it was pretty clear to me that the drain was clogged. I unscrewed the drain stopper which had hair wrapped around it. I pulled what ended up being an endless stream of hair like a scarf from a clown’s sleeve. Of not-my-hair. I pulled and gagged and pulled and gagged. Rinse and repeat, and pull and gag. To prevent problems like this, there are plastic drain covers that you can use in the shower, and they are anywhere from $1-$10. You can also get them for sinks. We got a piece of drain screen to put in our kitchen sink on the non-disposal side. It’s a lifesaver.
8. Don’t Put Grease Down the Drain
Seriously. Just don’t do that.
7. Keep the Garbage in Your Trash Cans
While it might seem easier to just throw something in the toilet and flush if you’re already there, it’s better to just keep a waste basket beside the toilet. The toilet should only be used for bodily waste, toilet paper (in moderation), and bugs and spiders (…maybe that’s just me). You should not use it for feminine hygiene products, wipes (even if they say they are flushable), items your ex might have given you, dead pets, towels, etc.
6. Insulate Your Pipes
Winter is coming (yes, it’s cliché, and it reminds us of the terrible fate of GoT, but it’s true). Thanks to the seasonal shift, the worst of it is yet to come. If you have exposed pipes, you can insulate them with pipe insulation from your local hardware store. If you just have a crawl space under your house, you can pack it with hay. Also, on dangerously cold days, let your faucets run with a trickle every few hours. The moving water will help keep the pipes from freezing. The last thing you want to deal with is a burst pipe (though I know someone who will come out and fix it immediately if that happens).
5. Clean Your Garbage Disposal
I also touched on this in last month’s blog. Garbage disposals can get very gross and smelly very quickly. There are cleaners that are specific to cleaning disposals, though this method did not work for me, and the internet advises against using harsh cleaners.
I had luck with the volcano method (baking soda and vinegar). Recently, a Tik Tok user (according to the kids these days) packed the drain with ice and ran hot water over it and turned on the disposal. A bunch of muck came up while it cleaned. The internet says this works, but it advises not to use hot water because any grease or bits that come free from the disposal could wash down and cause clogs. Bob Vila’s (remember him?) site says to follow up the ice with rock salt. Maybe just use ice, vinegar, and baking soda, to be safe.
4. Be Aware of What Goes in the Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals are super handy. They’re great for when you are cleaning up and washing dishes after a big dinner. The extra bits and scraps can just fall to the bottom as your sink drains. Small bits of most foods are fine, but here are some items that should not go in:
Grease, Fats, Oils – these will eventually solidify and cause clogs
Shells – A large amount of eggshells and shellfish (oyster, clam, scallops, etc).
Bones and Tissue – animal or human (just ask Ed Kemper, amirite? Eh? Eh?)
Metal, Plastic, Hard Materials – I feel like this is self-explanatory
Starchy and Stringy foods – large amounts of pasta, rice, potatoes, celery, corn husks, etc.
3. Water Filtration System
Do yourself a favor and consider water filtration systems. The Bloomington-Normal area is known for its hard water, and it’s even worse for rural areas. Your drinking water can carry chemicals, minerals, and even bacteria. Water filtration systems can be as small as a purifier pitcher, to an attachment to your faucet, to a whole house filtration system. You can even work on your 2021 Resolution Tagline. Healthier Poo, Healthier You? Cleaner Drink, Cleaner Sink? Less Waste in Water is Less Water Waste?
2. Check Water Pressure
I get it. Who doesn’t like a shower that beats you to a pulp and shows you who 2020 really is? But, realistically, your water pressure should be no higher than 80 psi (pounds per square inch). Sending too much water through your pipes too quickly can lead to massive problems. At first, it can affect valves and joints, but over time, it can cause leaks and cracks. You can get a pressure gauge at your local hardware store. If your pressure is too high, see #1 on the list.
1. Program Platinum Plumbing into Your Phone
Put this number in your phone, and if any of the above jobs are too big, or if you break your resolution by January 2 and neglect your pipes, you always have your friends at Platinum Plumbing to help you get back on track. They’re there for the little things, the major things, day, night, Sabbath Day, Sunday, any state or federal or religious or pop culture holidays, whatever the case may be.
Get the best plumb for 2021.
We did it! (annoying noisemaker sounds)