3 Habits That Ruin Your Drains

A good amount of debris and residue is common in your drains and plumbing lines because your drains move water and waste out of the home. Unfortunately, even a small amount of residue can lead to big problems for your home and finances, including corroded pipes, overwhelming water leaks, and extensive water damage.

Dirty drains can also affect your health. If drains and underlying pipes start to corrode and rust, you will likely experience leaks and possible mold growth. Exposure to mold can lead to respiratory problems, skin rashes, and allergy symptoms.

In addition, dangerous fungal growth can be common in dirty household drains. Thankfully, you can protect your drains, plumbing lines, and health with proper drain maintenance. Here are a few habits to break if you want to maintain healthy drains.

1. Pouring Grease Down the Drain

Pouring grease down your drain is one of the worst habits to continue. Even if you run hot water, the grease will harden as it cools inside your drains. The grease will not only harden and clog up the actual sink drain, but it can move through your pipes, affecting your underlying plumbing and sewage systems.

Recent reports showed that fat and oil buildups cause 47 percent of 36,000 sewer overflows that happen each year in the United States. Although it affects your home’s plumbing, the grease also affects wastewater around your home, negatively affecting the environment.

2. Flushing Problematic Debris

Another habit you should stop is using your toilet as a trash can. Your toilet should only flush away bathroom waste, such as actual bodily waste and toilet tissue. Avoid flushing random pieces of trash or debris down your toilet, since this could cause serious problems in your toilet, toilet drain, and septic/sewage systems.

Flushing problematic debris increases the risk of toilet clogs and water leaks. However, a lot of this debris cannot be broken down properly by your septic/sewage system, resulting in environmental hazards, extensive flooding onto your yard, and costly repairs.

In addition, you may have been told flushing flushable wipes, contact lenses, cigarette butts, and other debris down the toilet is okay, but this debris can actually do a great deal of harm to your plumbing/septic systems.

3. Not Using Drain Strainers

Many homeowners may believe that once something goes down the drain, they will not need to worry about it. Unfortunately, just because the debris is out of sight, does not mean it should be out of your mind because the waste may still linger in your drains and pipes.

Most sinks, tubs, and showers will have some sort of cover over the actual drain opening. However, these covers do have small openings, which allow water, soap, and dirt to flow freely through. But items that should not actually move through the drain, such as larger chunks of debris, food residue, soap scum, and strands of hair, may also seep through the openings of the cover.

A drain strainer is a great investment for your sink, tub, and shower drains. These strainers do cover the drain opening, but they have much smaller openings, which are only large enough for water to move through. The strainers trap larger pieces of debris, bits of food, clumps of soap, and strands of hair, preventing them from building up and clogging your drains and underlying plumbing lines.

You can protect your drains and plumbing/septic system from overwhelming clogs, corrosion, and costly water leaks. Follow the tips in this guide to prevent the dangers of a few common habits that negatively affect your drains and plumbing lines. For more information about maintaining your drains, contact Moon Valley Plumbing and Rooter today.

Boiler and pipes of the heating system of a house

Water Heater Replacement Advice For Homeowners

Every home needs hot water, but most homeowners don’t know much about their how water heaters work. Here are some tips for when to replace your hot water heater, as well as what to look for when selecting a new one.

Replacement Signs

The age of a hot water heater determines if it requires repair or replacement. Look for manufacturing information that has been printed on the hot water tank, which typically tells you the year that it was made. You’ll be able to estimate approximately how long the appliance has been installed in your home and if it is close to the age of replacement.

Hot water heaters do not live forever. In fact, they will last between 8 and 12 years before replacement is necessary. Use your judgment and assess any problems to gauge if you can get by with repair or if you need replacement.

Rust is a problem that often requires replacement, since rust damage cannot be fixed once it starts. You can slow down the rusting process, but you cannot reverse it. The risk of leaving a rusting hot water tank installed is coming home to a floor covered with water from a hole in the tank.

It’s worth inspecting the anode rod if you have rust on the tank, since the anode rod is designed to prevent rust by being a sacrificial element. The rod uses electrolysis to force corrosion to happen to the metal rod rather than the exterior of the tank, since the rod is made with metals that are more reactive than steel and will corrode first. If the anode rod is depleted, corrosion will start happening to the steel shell of the tank.

The heating element can also deteriorate from years of use. Excessive wear can occur from not emptying the tank of sediment and from setting the thermostat too high. A heating element can be repaired, but it may not be worth it if the tank is also rusty.

Replacement Tips

The need for a new hot water heater gives you the opportunity to add a better water heater to your home. Many homeowners use replacement as an opportunity to switch from a water storage tank model to a tankless water heater.

Tankless water heaters have the benefit of consuming less space and using less energy. Hot water is heated on demand, so you only use energy to heat the water that you are actively using. There are no concerns with a reserve tank rusting or an anode rod to monitor, since they are not part of the appliance.

Tankless models may never run out of hot water, but can struggle with simultaneous hot water use. Talk to your plumbing contractor to select the right model that can produce enough hot water for all the showers in your home. Also offset water use for laundry and dish washing to prevent shortages when showering.

A traditional hot water storage tank model does have its own unique advantages. The price of a storage tank model is often much cheaper compared to its tankless counterpart, and storage tank models are also easier to maintain and repair. Simultaneous water use is only limited by the size of the storage tank rather than how much how water can be produced.

Unfortunately, traditional hot water storage tank models can run out of water, use more energy, and have a shorter lifespan. What you may save up front with an initial purchase may cost you more over time, so keep in mind the pros and cons of both types of heater, as well as what your hot water needs are.

If your hot water heater needs repairs, is on its last legs, or if you want to switch models, reach out to Moon Valley Plumbing for expert help.