1. Pouring grease, oils and fats down the kitchen drain.
If you’re in the habit of pouring bacon grease down the kitchen sink drain, you will definitely be in for blocked drains soon. Grease, fats and oils are some of the best things for clogging drains. In the main sewer, they can build up to massive sizes called “fatbergs”, which can weigh tonnes.
2.Rainwater into the sewer
It is easy, there is a “drain” pipe right there, I’ll just connect to that and all the rainwater will magically disappear…..WRONG! Sewer pipes are not designed to deal with the large volumes of rainwater during a storm, even a small storm. The sewer pipes will quickly fill up and cause manholes to overflow. Now the whole neighbourhood’s poop is floating down the road and will probably end up in a river, dam or on the beach. Suddenly the “clever” plan doesn’t seem so great anymore.
3.Using toilet as a dustbin
We all know it’s wrong, and we all do it anyway. It is as though we believe that if it can flush, it will magically disappear from our lives forever. As if at the other end of the toilet there is nothing but a black hole, a portal to a subterranean outer space that swallows up everything we discard and whisks it off into oblivion.
Unfortunately, that oblivion is a drain pipe that leads into another drain pipe, which is THE drain pipe to your entire house. In other words, flushing one improper item down the toilet ultimately can block up everything in the house. But we do it anyway. The bottom line is, if it isn’t pee, poo or toilet paper,it doesn’t belong there.
4. Using vent pipes for anything other than venting
This one falls in the “Why not? I’ll tell you ‘why not’!” category. There are reports of homeowners running things like TV cables down the vent pipes that come up through their roofs. Seems like a tempting solution to getting into the house, but vent pipes aren’t just there for their bad looks. They not only provide air to drains inside the house, to prevent a suction effect that inhibits drainage; they also get rid of sewer gases that come up from the city’s sewer main. If you cut a hole in your vent inside the house to run a cable through, you’re tapping into an endless supply of your neighbourhood’s sewer gases.
5. Using too much drain cleaner.
When used judiciously and as directed, on the right kind of clog, drain cleaners can be effective and relatively safe for drains. When used with abandon, they can corrode some drain materials, and they can actually make blockages worse. It is also not very nice for the plumber who eventually comes out to clear that blockage.
6. Pouring chemicals (and other bad stuff) into the drain.
Harsh chemicals can damage plumbing pipes, fittings and components making them brittle or even causing chemical reactions. The drain is not a dump and is not designed to deal with chemicals. Things like old paint are often washed down drains and may cause an unclearable blockage. Chemicals, paints, pharmaceuticals, etc must be disposed of properly and safely.
7. Screwing, nailing or cutting into a wall with hidden plumbing pipes.
Now we’re into the realm of “Oh, yeah. I did that once.” Do this with a screw and you might hear a fine spray of water hitting the back of the drywall. Do it with a drill and you’re in for a gusher.
8. Joining two different metals in piping.
DIY’ers beware: When dissimilar metals, such as copper and steel, are touching, a process called galvanic action leads to corrosion. Corrosion leads to leaks. Such joints must be made with a dielectric union or other approved fitting.
9. Putting everything else down the kitchen drain.
Even if you’re not guilty of grease disposal, you might be one of those folks who thinks a food disposer (garbage disposal – if you have one) is the equivalent of a space-fantasy ray gun. It’s not. It’s a motor with a spinning wheel that has two metal teeth thingees, and it does very little to stop the following from clogging your drain: flour, rice, potato peels (and some other veggie peels) and many fibrous foods such as asparagus and chard.
10. Removing a sink or basin P-trap.
This is not a common mistake, but it warrants mention because it was part of a home-page website feature of a certain newspaper that happens to be the preeminent newspaper in the USA. The feature showed a houseful of very well-meaning college students who had taken several steps toward greening their everyday lives. One such action was to remove the P-trap and other drink parts underneath their bathroom sink so the wastewater could be collected in a bucket and used to water plants outdoors. While the use of greywater is becoming more popular, the issue here is the 2-INCH HOLE PUMPING SEWER GASES INTO THE BATHROOM.
If you’ve done one of these “silly” things to your plumbing you might now be sitting with an even bigger problem. We urge you to start thinking about “Where can I find a reliable plumber” so they can come and take care of it for you. Don’t worry, they’ve seen it all before. IOPSA members are a perfect choice and have been fully vetted!
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