1. Pour grease, oils and grease down the kitchen drain.

If you’re in the habit of pouring bacon grease down the sink drain, you’re bound to be dealing with clogged drains soon. Fats, greases and oils are some of the best ways to clog drains. In the main sewer, they can accumulate to huge sizes called “fatbergs” that can weigh tons.

2. Rainwater in the sewer.

It’s easy, there’s a “drain” pipe there, I just plug it in and all the rainwater will magically disappear…..WRONG! Sewer pipes are not designed to handle the large amounts of rainwater during a storm, even a small storm. The sewer pipes will quickly fill up and cause manholes to overflow. Now the poop from the whole neighborhood is floating on the road and probably ends up in a river, dam or on the beach. Suddenly the “smart” plan doesn’t seem so great anymore.

3. Use the toilet as a garbage can.

We all know it’s wrong, and we all do it anyway. It’s like we believe that if it can flush, it will magically disappear from our lives forever. As if on the other side of the toilet there is nothing but a black hole, a portal to a subterranean space that swallows everything we throw away and brings it into oblivion.

Unfortunately, that obscurity is a drain line leading to another drain line, THE drain line to your entire house. In other words, flushing an inappropriate item down the toilet can eventually clog everything in the house. But we do it anyway. The conclusion is, if it’s not pee, poop or toilet paper, it doesn’t belong there.

4. Using vent pipes for anything other than venting.

This one falls into the category of “Why not? I’ll tell you ‘why not’!” category. There are reports of homeowners running things like TV cables through the ventilation pipes that come through their roofs. It may seem like a tempting solution to get into the house, but vent pipes aren’t just there because of their bad appearance. They don’t just give air to drains in the house, to prevent a suction effect that obstructs the drain; they also get rid of sewer gases coming from the city sewers.If you cut a hole in your ventilation hole in your house to run a cable running, you are draining an endless supply of sewer gases from your neighborhood.

5. Using too much drain cleaner.

When used judiciously and according to the instructions, in the right kind of clog, drain cleaners can be effective and relatively safe for drains. When used negligently, they can corrode some drainage materials and can even exacerbate blockages. It’s also not very pleasant for the plumber who eventually comes out to clear that clog.

6. Pouring chemicals (and other bad things) down the drain.

Aggressive chemicals can damage pipes, fittings and components, making them brittle or even causing chemical reactions. The drain is not a landfill and is not designed to handle chemicals. Things like old paint are often washed down the drain and can cause an unexplained blockage. Chemicals, paint, medicines, etc. must be disposed of correctly and safely.

7. Screw, nail or cut into a wall with concealed pipes.

Now we’re in the realm of “Oh, yes. I did that once.” Do this with a screw and you may hear a fine jet of water hitting the back of the drywall, do it with a drill and you’re in for a gusher.

8. Connecting two different metals in pipes.

Do-it-yourselfers take note: When different metals, such as copper and steel, touch each other, a process called galvanic action leads to corrosion. Corrosion leads to leaks. Such connections must be made with a dielectric connection or other approved fitting.

9. Put everything else down the kitchen drain.

Even if you’re not guilty of grease removal, you could be one of those people who thinks a food remover (garbage disposal – if you have one) is the equivalent of a space fantasy blaster gun. It’s not. It’s a motor with a spinning wheel with two metal teeth, and it does very little to keep the following from clogging your drain: flour, rice, potato peelings (and some other vegetable peelings), and lots of stringy foods like asparagus and Swiss chard.

10. Removing a sink or wash basin P-siphon.

This is not a common mistake, but it deserves mention because it was part of a homepage website of a certain newspaper that happens to be the leading newspaper in the US (hint: rhymes with “blue dork limes”). The feature showed a house full of very well-meaning students who had taken several steps to make their everyday lives greener. One of those actions was to remove the P-trap and other drainage components under the bathroom sink, so that the wastewater could be collected in a bucket and used to water the plants outside. While the use of gray water is becoming more and more popular, the problem here is the 2-INCH HOLES PUMPING SEWER GAS INTO THE BATHROOM.

If you’ve done any of these “dumb” things to your plumbing, you might be in for an even bigger problem. We recommend that you think about “Where can I find a reliable plumber” so that they can arrange it for you. Don’t worry, they’ve all seen it before. IOPSA members are a perfect choice and are fully vetted! Find an IOPSA plumber at www.iopsa.org

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