It is safe to assume that there are many individuals who are hesitant to mess around with their household plumbing. That is definitely understandable. Plumbing can be frightening if you don’t really know what you are doing. No one wants to cause their toilet to spew sewage all over their bathroom or have their house flooded or any other issue involving large amounts of human waste or water ending up someplace that it isn’t supposed to be. However, knowledge is a powerful thing, and in general one ounce of prevention is definitely worth one pound of cure. When it comes to your home’s plumbing, the very best thing that you can do is the easiest thing as well: maintain it.
Toilets are one of the most frequently used fixtures in a house. Your toilet also has the potential for being one of the biggest, most expensive and messiest hassles you could ever experience if it isn’t utilized and maintained properly. Of course you don’t need to start digging a ditch in your backyard yet, although fortunately you can avoid a majority of the problems by following just a couple of basic tips.
Ten Tips To Help Prevent Toilet Problems
1. Use a mild cleanser to clean your toilet with on a regular basis. A mild soap, baking soda or vinegar all work well for cleaning porcelain. Cleaning your toilet not only helps to keep it smelling better and being more hygienic, but it also gives you the chance to find a problem or leak with the plumbing in your bathroom right away. If you don’t ever clean around your toilet, you won’t ever know if the water on the floor is due to sleepwalking male household members, or if it is coming from your toilet or shower.
2. When trying to unclog your toilet, don’t use any chemical drain cleaners. Some plumbers say yes while others say no regarding the use of the products. Our position is that it isn’t worth the risk that they pose. These products are harmful for you health if you splatter some on your skin accidentally or if you inhale too much or consume them. They can also damage older pipes and fixtures, and it isn’t something you want to have in your water system. There are also lots of problems that can be caused for houses that have septic systems if the good bacteria is killed off.
3. Do make sure to inspect the inner workings of your toilet every six months or so to ensure that all of its components are still functioning properly and are in good shape. Take the lid off of the tank and flush the toilet. Make sure all of the components are working correctly and that the flapper seals properly and that the fill valve stops running when the water is at an appropriate level.
4. Fix any leaking or running toilet immediately. Typically toilet leaks are “silent,” in terms of you won’t find puddles of water on your floor necessarily since usually water is leaking from the tank to the bowl (then down the drain). That makes it easy to overlook this type of look, or to not fix it right away. In general toilet leaks are also slow leaks. You may not even notice the small increases in your monthly water bill until you go back and realize that you have paid an extra $100 for water this month compared to what you did last year at this time.
5. Don’t try using a brick in your tank for saving water. Unless you have a toilet that is older than mid-1990’s, you will be using 1.6 gallons or less per flush. A majority of sewage systems don’t need that much water for moving waste effectively. If you have an older toilet and would like to save water, what we recommend that you do is fill up a water bottle with small rocks or sand and use that for displacing some water. A brick can potentially break down and then end up clogging up your pipes.
6. Teach your children how to care for toilets properly. It is easiest to do this during potty training, however you can also teach older children as well what can be flushed and what cannot, how to use the right amount of toilet paper to help prevent the toilet from getting clogged up, and how to clean the toilet properly. Those life skills can come in handy whenever they move into a home or apartment of their own in the future.
7. Don’t flush anything except toilet paper and human waste down the toilet. We really can’t emphasize this enough. Please just don’t.
8. Consider what type of toilet paper to use. Some toilet paper is better than others. Although you might love that ultra deluxe, super soft toilet paper, there is a good chance that your septic or sewage system does not (particularly a septic system, since there is already enough that it needs to break down without having to add indestructible toilet paper on top of it). Although that isn’t as big of a problem if you are on a municipal sewage line, if you use too much toilet paper or a type that doesn’t easily break down, the sewage pipes can get clogged up inside your house and cause a backup inside the lateral line that connects your house up to the municipal line.
9. Purchase a flange plunger and use it correctly. Many toilet clogs can simply be removed by using a good plunger and bucket of hot water. If you are unable to remove the clog by using a plunger, a good backup is a snake or auger.
10. Don’t hesitate to call a plumber whenever you need one. Some jobs are too complicated or large for even very experienced DIY’ers to manage by themselves. If your toilet clogs on a continuous basis or there is brown water backing up to your sink or shower when you flush the toilet, those are more serious symptoms and you need to have professional help.