Can I Flush This? | What Can and Can't Go Down Your Pipes
Are you ever worried about what goes down your pipes? You’re not alone! Many homeowners, renters, and especially parents worry that they're going to make a mistake when flushing or washing something down the sink that can cause an issue. It's important to know what items are safe for your plumbing system and which ones aren't - after all, you don’t want to call in the professionals unless it's absolutely necessary. Are there any items widely believed to be ok for plumbing that may actually cause an issue? What things can go wrong in our efforts to keep pipes clean? Here at Dignity Plumbing, we'll help answer these questions! Read on as we provide insight into what can and cannot go down your drains safely so you don't end up having a major problem on your hands.
Things You Shouldn’t Put Down Your Pipes
Plumbing pipes are amazingly capable of accommodating most of our daily needs like dishwater, bathwater and even toilet water - but they do have their limits. Just as there are certain items that are meant to go down the drain, there are other objects that can damage your pipes and create a costly emergency. Be sure to educate yourself on the dos and don'ts before you accidentally put something down the drain that could cause a plumbing nightmare. Don’t take a chance with your pipes: know what items should never be sent down them in order to avoid clogs, leaks or breaks and keep your plumbing system running at peak efficiency!
Flushable Wipes & Other "Flushables"
Recently, plumbing companies have seen an uptick in costly service visits due to clogged sewers caused by flushable or baby wipes. We get it - wipes are convenient and many come labeled as “flushable,” but what many people don't realize is that these wipes are not actually flushable at all and can cause significant damage with repeat use. While these products may break down eventually, it takes significantly longer than toilet paper, and they can still cause problems along the way.
The problem has become so widespread that many cities like Las Vegas have begun campaigns to educate their population on the dangers of flushing non-dissolvable products such as baby wipes and flushable wipes down their toilets. If you live in the Las Vegas area, consider saving yourself some costly home repairs by remembering that the best course of action is to avoid flushing any type of wipe - even if it's labeled as “flushable” - and throw them in the trash instead.
Paper Towels & Other Hygiene Products
Paper towels, baby wipes and other hygiene products are often thought to be safe for plumbing systems. Unfortunately, this isn't the case! Paper towels and similar items don’t break down as quickly in water as toilet paper does; they can stick together and create a clog or blockage. Additionally, some of these products contain oils that can actually coat your pipes and accumulate over time - leading to serious drainage issues. To avoid any potential problems with your plumbing system, it's best to not flush anything but toilet paper down the toilets in your home.
Grease, Oil, and Cooking Fats
Grease, oil, and cooking fats are some of the worst things you can put down your drains. Even cold grease or fats leftover from cooking will congeal once they hit the water in your plumbing system, creating a thick coating that sticks to your pipes. Over time, this build-up will accumulate and cause blockages - not to mention put significant strain on your pipes. If you have leftover grease from cooking that you don't want to go down the drain, pour it into an old can or jar and throw it away with the rest of your garbage.
Coffee Grounds & Food Scraps
We all know that flushing food scraps is not a good idea for our plumbing, regardless of how tempting it may seem. Most food items don't naturally dissolve in water, and when they end up in your pipes they can get stuck and create clogs and blockages. But beyond the potential clogs , flushing food scraps down the drain also has a big environmental impact. Coffee grounds, food particles and other types of debris can build up over time in your plumbing system and create clogs. Food scraps in the sewers create pollutants as they decompose, which can lead to bacteria growth, bad odors, and reduce oxygen levels in oceans and lakes. The best way to avoid these issues is to not flush them in the first place! Dispose of leftover food items in the trash, and install screens on the drain in your kitchen to catch any that may wash off your dishes!
One item you should definitely not flush down the drain is hair. Hair clogs can be a major cause of plumbing issues and can lead to costly repairs if left unchecked. The problem with flushing hair is that it will clump together with other debris in the pipes, which can lead to slow drainage or complete blockages. This can become especially problematic when combined with soap scum or oils from shampoo, as these substances stick together and form an even more impenetrable mass. Additionally, flushing hair down the toilet may also cause sewage backups due to it getting caught up in pipe bends and restrictors located in the sewer lines, so it's best to avoid flushing all types of hair down your drain for these reasons. While it may be impossible to completely avoid all of the hair from going down the drain, be sure to keep up with regular cleaning and maintenance in order to minimize potential blockages. Invest in an inexpensive mesh drain stopper or a hair catcher for your shower or bathtub drains and clean it regularly!
Flushing unused medications may seem like a convenient solution for their disposal, but flushing them can have devastating environmental impacts that go beyond your own home. For starters, pharmaceuticals dumped down the toilet have been known to seep into waterways and ultimately contaminate drinking water sources - putting wildlife and even humans at risk! Additionally, not all medications will dissolve when exposed to water. This could lead to a multitude of issues including troubling clogs in pipes if medication is flushed too frequently.
Flushing kitty litter down the toilet might at first seem like a convenient and hygienic method of disposal; however, it is one of the worst household items that can enter your pipes. Its impact is monumental – while it might not directly damage the sewer lines or pipes, what it does do is build up over time, leading to eventual clogs. While clumping litter is the worst offender, even non-clumping litter will create a problem in your home’s sewer lines. Indeed, it is best to stay away from using this improper disposal method!
Paint thinner can be an invaluable resource for plenty of activities, but when it comes time to clean up after you're done, don't make the mistake of trying to flush that liquid down your drain! Doing this creates big problems for not only your home’s pipes, but also for the greater plumbing system. Flushing paint thinner can lead to toxic chemicals being sent back into the public drainage, leading to potentially hazardous consequences. It can also weaken the structure of the pipes themselves due to paint thinner’s corrosive nature. It begins breaking down the walls of your pipes, which can eventually cause a leak!
Signs of Clogged Pipes & When to Call a Professional Plumber
Clogged pipes can lead to all sorts of headaches, but luckily they are easy to spot with just a few telltale signs. If your sinks and toilets are draining slower than usual or if you are noticing any bad odors coming from out of them, it is time for you to take a closer look. If water starts to back up on either side of your sink when running the water, you are more than likely facing a clogged pipe that needs attention. If these situations sound familiar to you, it might be time for you to call a professional plumber like the ones at Dignity Plumbing in Las Vegas! After all, having an experienced professional solve the issue quickly and efficiently can save you both time and money!
There really are a lot of things that you should never ever flush down your pipes! From paper towels and hygiene products to paint thinners and kitty litter, there's no shortage of items that can wreak havoc on even the toughest of plumbing systems. Moderation is key for some items, such as toilet paper, but all in all the best rule is that if it's not designed to go down the drain it probably shouldn't. If you're ever in doubt about what you shouldn't put down your sink or toilet then just remember the old adage - when in doubt don't flush it out!
Think you may have flushed something that your pipes aren't a fan of? Call Dignity Plumbing today! Our plumbing professionals can do a PLUMBING INSPECTION to see what might be causing the issue, as well as perform some HYDRO-JETTING to break up whatever is blocking your pipes!