Tips to Avoid Common Pipe Problems
We've all heard the horror stories of winter vacationers coming home to a flooded basement! Winter pipe bursts are just one of the many common pipe problems that Oklahoma City homeowners may experience. However, many such costly snafus can easily be avoided with a little knowledge and a little bit of regular maintenance. Here are some tips on how you can keep your pipes flowing smoothly.
Too much toilet paper and not enough flushing can easily clog a toilet's pipes. Of course, flushing foreign objects will also have the same effect! If you have very small children, you'll need to be extra vigilant when they use the facilities. Teach them the proper amount of toilet paper to use and explain what will happen if they don't comply. The toilet is for one thing and one thing only: it is not a toy.
Clogs in the Kitchen
Fats are your kitchen pipes' worst enemy. The curved shape of the pipes under your sink make them especially susceptible to the buildup of fatty materials; if you are cooking in the winter months when outside temperatures are frigid, the problem is compounded. Always use strainers in your sinks and make it a rule to never, ever dispose of cooking grease and oils via the drain. No matter how vigilant you are, however, there will always be a certain amount of greasy soapy residue in the pipes: run hot water for five minutes down the drains periodically, and your pipes should be just fine and your sink back-up free.
Clogs in the Bathtub
Hair and soap will clog up bathtub and sink pipes fairly quickly: the best trick is to prevent their accumulation in the first place. Use a strainer over your bathtub drain, and clean it every time the tub is used. Take the time to pour boiling water down both the sink and tub drains once a month to prevent problems further down in the pipes. Avoid chemical solutions since they can damage pipes.
First, identify which pipes are most likely to freeze: chances are they will be the ones that run along exterior walls on a side of the house that gets little winter sun. Use pipe insulators if possible to avoid freezing, or install electric heating tape. If, for some reason, you cannot reach these pipes, you may wish to leave your sink water dripping on especially cold nights. If you leave on vacation, simply turn off your main water valve.
Many pipe problems can be prevented in the first place if you practice just a little prevention. Serious plumbing problems should be solved by a professional plumber.