Top 5 Things NOT to Put Down Your Drain

If you own a garbage disposal, you know how annoying it is when it’s out of order. In addition to obvious things like utensils and measuring spoons, there are a number of food items that can cause serious problems with your disposal.
The good news is, if you have a clogged disposal you can always call Moon Valley Plumbing and we’ll get it running like new (we even have 24-hour emergency service). But it never hurts to take preventative measures to put a stop to clogs happening in the first place. We’ve put together a handy list of what not to put down your garbage disposal:

1. Starchy, Stringy Vegetables
Hairy Sweet Corn
Stringy foods like corn husks, celery, onion skins and asparagus are not good candidates for the garbage disposal because they can get wrapped around the disposal blade. And whatever you do – don’t put your potato peels down the drain. Vegetables with high starch content can end up getting glued together over time and clog the drain. When it comes to your disposal, don’t take any chances. Throw these veggie scraps away or even better – compost them. Vegetable scraps make a great garden fertilizer.

2. Coffee Grounds
A cup full of Coffee Grounds
Yes, that’s right. Coffee grounds are bad news for a garbage disposal. You may have heard the opposite, that coffee grounds can help “clean out” the disposal and get rid of odors. While this may be true, they are even more likely to pile up in the pipes and cause major clogs.

3. Egg Shells
An Egg Shell
Again, many people believe that the rough egg shell pieces can help clean out the disposal and sharpen the blades. But in reality, eggs have a thin membrane that coats the inside of the shell. This membrane can get wrapped around the disposal blade and cause backups. Instead, save those eggshells for the garden – they also make a wonderful fertilizer.

4. Cooking Fats and Oils
2 meat pieces
This one is a no-brainer. Once the fat/oil/grease cools, it will solidify. And if you’ve poured it down your drain, it will make its new (and permanent) home there.

5. Starchy Foods (Pasta and Rice)
Pasta and Rice in bowls
Pasta and rice both expand when subjected to water. That means they will expand more and more each time you put water down your drain. Eventually, they will expand enough to completely clog your disposal trap. Good news for the plumber, bad news for you.

In addition to these five foods, use common sense when it comes to your garbage disposal. Only put small amounts of food down the drain at a time and only run the disposal when the water is running. If you do end up with a clogged sink, don’t panic. Call Moon Valley – our professionals are the best in the business and can fix a blocked drain in no time.

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The Scoop on Polybutylene Pipes

Leaky pipes can be a huge problem. If you’ve ever dealt with pipes that leak, you know it’s no laughing matter. Leaks can cause major structural damage to a home in addition to damaging to things like carpet and drywall.

Unfortunately, many homeowners who live in homes built between the late 70’s and mid 90’s are dealing with leaky pipes. That’s because pipes installed during this time period were made from polybutylene, a type of plastic resin that was intended to replace copper piping.

What are polybutylene pipes?
These “pipes of the future” were less expensive than copper and were supposedly easier to install. Unfortunately, installing cheap materials resulted in pipes that cracked and failed, causing damage to people’s homes.

Since the installation of polybutylene pipes, there have been numerous reports of leaks and other problems. Some experts believe that additives in the water, like chlorine, are the culprits of pipe failure. However, even homeowners that use private water supplies have had problems with these pipes.

How do I know if my home has them?
When was your home built? If it was constructed between January 1, 1978 and July 31, 1995, there’s a good chance you have polybutylene pipes. The pipes are mostly blue but can also be grey or black. Exterior pipes are usually blue and interior pipes are usually grey. Look for a diameter of either ½” or 1” and pipe connectors made of copper or plastic.

If you haven’t had problems yet, they’ll probably crop up sometime in the near future. It can take years for poly pipes to start failing – most leaks happen 10 to 15 years after installation. And, if you are planning on selling your house, poly pipes can make it more difficult. Houses with poly pipes tend to stay on the market longer and sell at a lower price.

What can I do about it?
If you suspect your home has polybutylene pipes, call Moon Valley Plumbing – we can inspect your pipes and provide you with an estimate for replacing them with a sturdier material. On our website you’ll find a valuable coupon – this month we are offering $100 off the replacement of polybutylene pipes.
You may also want to look into the recent class action lawsuit against polybutylene pipe installation. To read about eligibility, visit .

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