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10 Best Ways to Mess Up Your Homes Plumbing

Updated on November 5, 2012

There are plenty of things you can do to help improve your homes plumbing, but no one really ever looks at some of the things you can do to mess up your homes plumbing. So how do you know what some of the best ways to screw up your homes plumbing? Remember if your the victim of any of these, calling in your local qualified home plumbing repair person is probably going to be the best way to fix any of these problems, as the majority make for large problems or very difficult to remedy problems.

Frozen Pipes

You see this one more often in the south than the north, because down in the south, we don't experience the same cold temps as our neighbors to the north. If you want to mess up your homes plumbing, skip or skimp on the insulation for your piping. Not only will this increase the chances of the pipes bursting every winter when the weather does get to freezing, but the water in your hot water lines will cool down as it passes through the lines, after coming out of the hot water heater. If it has a particularly long distance, this could mean that the water coming out of your hot water heater is at 120 degrees, but when it reaches the faucet, its at, say 110. Insulating the pipes will help it loose less heat, meaning that when it reaches the faucet, it could be at 118. This will not only help keep your pipes safe, but help your hot water heater by making it more efficient.

Grease in the Sink

Mmmm, dinner smells wonderful. That meatloaf smells incredible, but what should I do with the grease? Simple, I'll just pour it down the sink. This happens very frequently, and frequently, it clogs the drains and pipes. The problem isn't that the grease can't go down the drain, its what happens after it goes down the drain. While grease it hot, it is in a liquid state, and flows very easily. But odds are your pipes in your home are not heated to the temps needed to keep grease liquid. This means, as it hits the water and coldness in your pipes, the grease changes from a liquid to a solid. Pour enough, and you could completely clog your drains. Another thing, grease and septic systems do not mix, and they are not designed to break down and handle grease. Most people have heard that pouring hot water down the pipes with the grease can help, and while this is true, it wont solve all your problems, and can still lead to grease getting caught up in your pipes.

pH Balance on Your Septic System

One of the best ways to easily mess up your homes plumbing is by changing the pH balance in your septic system. Septic systems are carefully constructed ecosystems, designed to break down and take care of our waste. These systems are full of good bacteria's Pouring chemicals down your drains can have a negative effect on these good bacteria, meaning that your septic system is no longer doing what it should be doing. This usually leads to the septic system backing up.

The Toilet Isn't a Trash Can, Either

Although it deals with things you really don't want to, your toilet isn't a garbage can either. Yes, you do throw toilet paper in it, and it flushes it well, but toilet paper is made for toilets, and is biodegradable, and honestly, doesn't make it to the sewer in one piece in most cases. Paper towels, on the other hand, don't break down as easily in water, and are more prone to clogging your toilet. Also, toys, and trash, are not biodegradable and can get clogged, to the extent that the pipe has to be dug up to be cleared. Very expensive stuff.

Renovate Your Home (Without Planning)

This is one of the biggest ways you can screw up your homes plumbing. Simply start a new renovation job on your home. Perhaps that wall between your bedroom and bathroom simply needs to go. Look at plans? That's for suckers. Just simply break into that wall and tear it down, and remove anything in your path. While performing home renovations, or doing any work on your home where you will be going into the walls, or potentially removing them, you should know where your water lines are (as well as the rest of what all is run through your walls (such as electrical, gas, phone and cable lines, and more). Nothing plays more havoc on a homes plumbing than a Sawzall cutting into your homes main water line.

You Don't Need Vents

One of the most commonly overlooked aspects about plumbing are plumbing vents. People just don't realize how important these really are to a quality working plumbing system. In fact, if you don't include vents, your system might not ever work properly, no matter what you do. Vents help keep the vacuum that your homes plumbing is under maintain the proper pressures, while evacuating the pipes efficiently This is done with the use of vents. They are put into your homes plumbing (there are multiple vents throughout your entire plumbing system, whether you realize it or not) to give gases and air a place to escape, and so that waste can be flushed without problem.

Steel and Copper

One way you can screw up your homes plumbing is by mixing the types of metals that are in your homes plumbing. Lets say that you have iron pipes in your home, and one gets a leak. Simple fix, but you repair it with a bit of leftover copper piping. Same diameter, same everything, and would be perfect if the part was made out of iron. While it could be possible to attach the iron pipe to the copper one, you're never going to get a good seal, and the connection will be plagued with problems and leaks. You should always repair with like metals.

Keep Hoses Attached

When your pipes freeze over the winter, because you didn't insulate them, the hoses attached to the pipes can also explode, or cause damage to the faucet. This can mess up the threads on the faucet, or even cause one of the gaskets inside the faucet to break, causing a leak. This leak, could then freeze, causing the rupture to enlargen until you have a very serious leak.

Clean Them Drains

While Drain-O is a good product, and does its job quite well, using it too frequently can be damaging to your plumbing, and usually indicates that you have a larger, more serious plumbing problem. Why else would you have to logically use a drain cleaner on a regular basis? While most drain cleaners can work, and will work fairly decent, they don't always work, and in the event of large clogs, could actually end up hurting the pipes, because of the chemicals in the cleaning formula.

Garbage Disposal Doesn't Mean Trash Can

Good news! The home you just bought has a garbage disposal on the sink! We wont have to invest in a garbage can, we can just put everything down the sink. While this method might work for some things, it just isn't good practice. Garbage disposals are good at grinding and making food and other similar things into tiny pieces so that they don't get stuck in your plumbing, it doesn't mean that these machines should be used to get rid of your garbage. In fact, items such as wood can damage your disposal. As a general rule of thumb, only put water down the drain. The disposal will help with the small chunks of food that do go down the drain.

TIP: To keep your disposal sharp, put a couple egg shells in and turn it on. They will sharpen the blades on your disposal.


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