Five Ways To Prevent—Or Minimize The Effects Of—A Major Plumbing Disaster

Posted on: 15 March 2018

Most plumbing problems are small. Your toilet clogs, and the plumber has to come remove the dog toy that your dog dropped down there. Your pipe starts dripping a little water, so you catch it in a bucket until the plumber arrives. But then there are the terrible disasters—the plumbing emergencies nobody likes to think about. Water comes gushing out of a main pipe, flooding your basement, or your sewer lines clog completely, spewing raw sewage through your upstairs. These plumbing emergencies are truly the stuff of nightmares, but thankfully, there are a few things you can do to prevent them—or at least minimize the negative effects if they do occur.

Keep Your Water Main Loose

You would not be the first person to discover a big leak, try to turn off the water main, and find out that it has seized up due to a lack of lubrication or mineral buildup. So, preemptively try to turn off your main water valve. Apply some penetrating oil to the valve if it does not turn freely. Place a big label near the valve so that if someone else is home when a plumbing emergency happens, they can easily locate the water main and turn it off. Tell all of your housemates where the main valve is located, and make sure they know it will stop the flow of water in an emergency.

Check Your Sump Pump

When you have a working sump pump, water flowing into your basement is an annoyance rather than a huge problem. The sump pump will get rid of the water before it causes too much damage. The problem is that many basements feature sump pumps that don't really work. Dump a bucket of water into your sum pump pit to make sure the pump extracts it. If your pump does not turn on, contact a plumber to come repair it before an emergency occurs.

Use Pipe-Safe Herbicides

One of the main causes of major sewage line backups is tree roots. They grow into a sewer line in search of water and nutrients, and then they form a dense network that grabs onto toilet paper and waste, forming a total blockage. A good way to keep roots at bay without digging up your pipes is to flush some pipe-safe herbicides down the toilet about once a month. These herbicides usually contain copper, which deters roots from growing. Make sure you do not put them down the sink, as they can clog sink drains—but they are safe for toilets. 

Don't Use Wet Wipes

Everyone likes having a clean bottom, but not at the expense of their plumbing! Flushing wet wipes down the toilet is very likely to cause a clog eventually, even if it has not caused any trouble yet. If you must use wet wipes, put them in the garbage can rather than down the toilet. As long as you have a garbage with a lid and empty it daily, odors should not be a problem.

Install a Water Softener

A lot of the problems with supply lines are caused, at least in part, by minerals in the water. Minerals build up in the pipes and may cause blockages, and, as mentioned above, they can make your water main valve harder to close. Mineral buildup in sewage lines can also contribute to clogs. Installing a water softener will eliminate these minerals from the water before the water flows through your pipes, reducing the likelihood of these issues.

With the tips above, you'll greatly reduce the chances of a plumbing catastrophe in your home. Click here to learn more about plumbing services.