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All people would benefit from a little extra plumbing knowledge, whether they’re a homeowner or a renter because we all run into plumbing problems. It’s not a matter of “if” we’ll have a plumbing problem, it’s a matter of “when.”

As long as you’re paying rent or a mortgage, we’re confident you’ll want to read these plumbing tips. Here, we give you the real scoop. We share plumbing secrets that a lot of plumbers don’t tell their customers, but should.

1. Don’t trust “flushable” products.

Do not flush tampons, dental floss, tissues, or even “flushable wipes” down the toilet. Nothing breaks down like toilet paper and even flushable wipes can clog a toilet. Also, today’s new toilets are water-efficient and don’t flush like they used to. So, sometimes there isn’t enough water to efficiently flush things down. If something gets lodged in the trap, it can block the pipes and days later, waste can build up.

2. Don’t pour cooking grease down the drain.

Do not pour your cooking grease down the drain. If you do, the grease will become rock-hard and can lead to a stubborn clog, requiring a professional plumber to remove it. Instead, wipe your pans with paper towels and either compost them or throw them in the trash. For large amounts of grease, place it into a grease jar (such as an old mayo or jelly jar) and toss it in the trash.

3. Have a plumber over before you buy a house.

If you’re in the market for a new home, have a professional plumber inspect the plumbing for tree roots, collapses, old pipes, and other problems that aren’t always caught by a home inspector. A small investment in a plumber can save you thousands, if not tens of thousands if the house is at serious risk of a flood or in need of having all the plumbing replaced due to old, outdated plumbing.

4. Learn how to turn off the main shutoff valve.

We can’t tell you how many plumbing emergencies involve people who are crying that their house is flooding and they don’t know how to stop it. You should learn the location of your home’s main turnoff source to save money in the event of a flood. Suggested reading: “Where is the Shut-Off Valve?”

5. Beware of the enemy…hair!

Do you have one or more Rapunzels in your home? If so, we highly recommend buying a hair snare or drain strainer to collect all the shedding hair. Also, ask your long-haired ladies to clean up their hair with a tissue after every shower.

6. Say goodbye to harsh drain cleaners.

As a general rule, professional plumbers advise against using harsh drain cleaners because they are so corrosive that they damage pipes. Our advice is to ditch the chemical drain cleaners and instead flush out your drains once a week with one-half cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. After the mixture fizzes for ten minutes, pour four cups of boiling hot water down the drain.

7. Lemon peels are a myth.

You’ve probably heard the myth that lemon peels make garbage disposals smell better and sharpen the blades. Lemon peels don’t help. Instead, they make garbage disposals jam faster. So, let’s keep lemon peels in the trash can with celery and potato peels where they all belong.

8. Don’t hang things on your plumbing pipes.

It may be very tempting to hang clothes on exposed plumbing pipes in basements, but it’s a bad idea. The weight can break them and lead to costly flooding and water damage.

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