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Many homeowners in Richardson, TX never give much thought to what they’re putting down the drain. However, if you routinely dispose of household waste in this way, you could end up with a blocked pipe or even a flood on your hands that requires an expensive plumbing service. So, it’s worth being aware of the most common items that plumbers wish you wouldn’t flush down the drain. Some will come as no surprise, while others are more unexpected.
1. Coffee Grounds
Many people believe that coffee grounds are small enough to simply pour down the sink without causing an issue, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. While doing this once or twice probably won’t hurt, making it a regular habit could cause a major blockage in your piping system. So, to avoid calling in a service, it’s worth taking the time to drain the grounds and put them in the trash.
2. Grease and Oil
You probably already know that pouring fat down your sink is a bad idea, and it’s one of the most common reasons that people need to call in a plumbing service company. However, most homeowners don’t know exactly why these substances are so bad for your plumbing system.
Fats that solidify at room temperature, like animal fats, are key culprits for causing blocked pipes because they harden inside your system and form a clog. However, even liquid fats like olive oil should never go down the sink. Any type of fat or oil can bind other food debris together, causing stubborn lumps that may totally block the pipe over time. Instead of pouring them away, allow animal fats to harden in a container, and dispose of them with your household waste.
3. Flushable Cat Litter
While many cat litter brands describe themselves as being ‘flushable’, this is a misnomer. Although they’re generally less harmful to your plumbing system than non-flushable varieties, throwing any cat litter down the toilet could block your drains and wreak havoc with your septic tank. Over time, this could lead to expensive plumbing service bills.
Putting kitty litter down the toilet is as bad for the environment as it is for your plumbing. Cat feces contain a high concentration of harmful bacteria that aren’t killed by water treatment chemicals and pose a serious hazard to marine wildlife.
It’s easy to accidentally let a little rice escape down the plughole when you drain it, but let it happen too often and you may need to book a plumbing service. Both cooked and uncooked rice swell up with water when they’re flushed down the drain, leading to stubborn blockages. Pasta also absorbs water in the same way, so make sure that no stray pieces make their way into your plumbing system.
5. Wet Wipes
If you use wet wipes for cleaning your baby, removing makeup, or cleaning your home, these should never be flushed away like toilet paper. Wet wipes tend to accumulate grease, and they don’t break down in the same way that toilet tissue does. Furthermore, they can cause serious damage if they make their way to a wastewater treatment center. Even brands labeled as ‘flushable’ can be harmful to your plumbing, so you should place them in the trash can instead.
It’s never a good idea to rinse eggshell fragments down the drain, even if you have a garbage disposal unit fitted. Eggshells are prime candidates for getting stuck in greasy substances inside your system, causing stubborn clogs that may need a professional plumbing service to clear.
7. Stickers and Labels
Any adhesive label from food packaging can cause surprisingly big problems if you allow them to get into your drains. The sticky substance used to attach them to food items can cause them to get stuck deep inside your pipes, and you’ll need to call in a plumbing service professional to remove them. They can also damage your water treatment filters and other equipment, so you should always dispose of them in the trash can.
8. Cotton Balls
Many people assume that it’s OK to flush cotton balls down the toilet because they are biodegradable. However, they take a long time to break down, and in the meantime may cause blocked pipes. As they’re intended to be highly absorbent, cotton balls can swell with water and cause a very stubborn blockage that only a plumbing service technician can clear. The same rule applies to paper kitchen towels, which shouldn’t be flushed like toilet tissue.
9. Sanitary Products
Although some brands of feminine hygiene items say that their products are flushable, many plumbing service companies beg to differ. Even biodegradable sanitary items take a long time to break down, and their absorbent qualities make them prime candidates for causing blocked pipes or damaging your septic system. Flushed sanitary items often find their way onto beaches and cause ocean pollution, so it’s bad news for the environment as well. Therefore, it’s much wiser to wrap and dispose of feminine hygiene products in your trash.
Although it may seem easy to dispose of spilled flour by washing it down the plughole, these tiny particles are a prime culprit for causing plumbing blockages. Flour can coagulate inside pipes and cause a hard, stubborn residue that’s difficult to remove without the help of a plumber.
Call in an Expert Plumbing Service
If the worst happens and you flush something down your drains that causes a plumbing problem, don’t panic. The helpful team at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of North Dallas in Richardson, TX are on hand to help with any household plumbing issue including blocked drains and pipes.