It’s impressive what a plumber can do to resolve a residential plumbing crisis, but the best plan of action is still a preventative one. Backed up drains can be very expensive and lead to unwanted issues like foul smelling rotting food in the drain or water damage, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Luckily, by taking some basic preventative measures, you can save yourself from spending thousands in plumbing costs and a stressful situation for you and your family. And as always, if you have questions, call a plumber or stop by Mister Plumber to learn more about household plumbing projects (their blog is a good resource for homeowners).
First off, refrain from putting large or harmful items down your drain like cat litter, solid kitchen waste, cooking grease or fats, eggshells or even coffee grounds. Using the drain to dispose of these items is convenient at the time but can lead to an expensive plumbing emergency.
Along the same lines, using discretion about what and how much you put down your garbage disposal is key. Most garbage disposals can mulch organic material effectively, but it doesn’t mean your pipes and drainage system can handle it.
Quite frequently, drains will be clogged with massive amounts of food waste that turn into sludge. A perfect example of this is the fibrous fruit and vegetable pulp from a juicer. It will definitely clear the garbage disposal but that amount of food waste entering the drainage system on a regular basis will cause a drain backup. A better solution is to toss it into the composting bin or repurpose the fibre into delicious muffins.
To prevent blockages coming from your yard drain, make sure no plants, trees or leaves are collecting over a pipeline. Especially during the fall, leaves have a way of scattering and clogging your drain. Keeping the drain area clear is another easy preventative step you can take.
Was your home built decades ago? Then chances are good that you don’t have a backwater valve installed. This valve is installed on the main sewer line and allows the outward flow of sewage but will close if the flow reverses, preventing flooding into your home.
A backwater valve is critical if your home is prone to floods or located downhill from the sewage drain. In fact, the City of Toronto views this preventative installation as such a critical flood protection device, it offers single family, duplex and triplex homeowners a subsidy to get one installed.
Finally, don’t overlook what a plumber can do to prevent a drain backup emergency in the future. A drain camera video inspection of the whole drainage system by a professional plumber will flag any potential problem areas and provide a solid maintenance plan that’s customized to your specific drainage configuration.
By reviewing the video footage with your plumber, you can head off small issues like hairline cracks or invading tree roots before they become big expensive problems. It’s also a great tool to assess a home’s plumbing system before you consider purchasing it.
When you’re talking with your plumber, it’s a good idea to ask about potential upgrade options for your plumbing system. For example, many people don’t realize the benefits of installing a tankless water heater to replace their current hot water tank. It can save you money, reduce your carbon footprint and provide your home with unlimited hot water! Do your research to find the best system for your home, and you will be glad you did.
Maintaining a well-functioning plumbing system in your home doesn’t have to be stressful, it’s simple. Just take a few preventative steps around the house, take advantage of your plumbing professional’s diagnostic tools and advice, and you’ve got it handled.