3 common plumbing mistakes you might be making



If we were all perfect homeowners, there would be significantly less demand for plumbers. While this world may not sound like a paradise to those in the plumbing trade, the rest of us can often save some money by avoiding these common pitfalls that result in a damaged plumbing system. Those who already have a TotalProtect® Systems plan should still be careful, but can rest easy knowing that they are covered if they ever need repairs.

1. Throwing trash in the garbage disposal
The garbage disposal is rather poorly named. While the convenience of a good garbage disposal can't be overstated, it is important to remember that you can't just throw anything down there. Watermelon rinds, avocado peels, egg shells and potato peels are all common items that plumbers fish out of clogged garbage disposals.

"Say 'garbage disposal' and people think they can put anything in there," Tim Gaulke, a handyman and president of Northland Improvements in Shakopee, Minn., told Popular Mechanics.

2. Flushing household items
A lot of homeowners treat their toilets like alternative trash cans, but they are really not designed to handle the stress of solid objects. Plumbers at Perma-Liner Industries LLC explained that they couldn't possibly tell you how many times they arrived at a home to find that a favorite toy or an excessive amount of toilet paper was flushed down the toiled by a guilty looking toddler. Not only can flushing something solid down a toilet cause a clog, it can also lead to backups, stoppages and even an overflowing toilet.

3. Relying on chemical drain cleaners
One of the most common problems that plumbers see is an overuse of chemical drain-cleaning products. While these products work well in a fix, they rely on caustic liquid chemicals to push through a solid blockage. This means that as soon as the cleaner can get through, it will move on, leaving the majority of the clog in place. Over time, overuse of such cleaners can damage the inside of a pipe system, leading to costly repairs. They are also not good for the environment. Instead of relying on chemical cleaners, either call a plumber or try your luck with a drain snake.

The better you take care of your home systems, the longer they will last, preserving your investment in your home. The best way to protect that investment is to purchase a TotalProtect Home Warranty, which will cover you in the event of necessary repairs or replacement.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.