Plumbing Tips Page                  Dave Kaucnik IL Lic. # 058-196045

This page is designed to help you SAVE MONEY and keep your plumbing happy and healthy.
I'm also going to be adding some pics of some mistakes I've repaired and maybe some other pics of interest.
ALWAYS disconnect garden hoses before freezing weather. In the Chicago area, I usually recommend rolling up the hoses around Haloween or when you rake up that last bunch of leaves.
I've made an unbelievable number of spigot repairs at homes where the customer said "... but the sillcock was supposed to be frostproof".
Frostproof / frostfree / freezeless sillcocks {also called a hose bibb, wall faucet, or spigot} are designed to be frostproof but only when the hose is removed. Because of the design, a frostproof hose bibb usually won't leak until you use the hose {that first nice warm day of the spring when you want to get things cleaned up} .
As a former Homeowners Insurance claim rep, I can't even count how many times I was sent on a claim in June for frozen pipes. The result was usually a flooded out basement, hundreds or even thousands of dollars in damages. While the homeowner was cleaning up outside the broken pipe is spraying inside the entire time the hose was on.
Drain Health:
Some folks think that as long as it will go down the drain then it's OK to put it in the drain. NOT TRUE!!!
Every time you put something down the drain, no matter which drain it is, small bits of it usually get stuck to the pipe or adhere to the buildup of stuff you ran down the drain before.
Kitchen drains are usually the worst since they get the most dumped into them every day. Left over bowls of cereal, greases and fats from the pots and pans, strands of celery tops and other veggie bits. If you have a sink disposer, then you can add little bits of meat, egg shells, and just about everything else to the mix.
It usually starts with the grease, oils, and fats. No matter how "lite" you cook, whatever oils are in the food or on the dishes gets disolved in the hot dishwater. But, once the water gets into the drain, it cools and the greases settle to the bottom of the pipe, leaving a residue. This sticky residue stays sticky inside the pipe just waiting to pick up bits of whatever comes down the drain next.
If you have Steel or Iron pipes, this buildup happens even faster because the inside of the pipe is rough and these pipes cool the water more quickly than PVC or Copper.
Toilet, sink, shower and tub drains also have unique problems.
Hair and hair care products can stop up a sink, tub, or shower drain very quickly.
Toilets... well lets just say that just because it disappears from sight doesn't mean it's gone forever.
Drain problem prevention:
In the Kitchen, it's ok to pour off liquids like extra milk in cereal bowls, soup that didn't get finished, even spaghetti sauce and gravy. But scoop out the solid stuff and throw it in the trash. Starchy foods {like cereal, rice, pasta} tend to soak up even more water once they get in the drain and they swell up even more. Grease that comes from bacon and sausage drippings and fatty foods with alot of butter or other fried foods should be poured into a jar and thrown in the trash or wiped up with a paper towel before washing.
If you have a sink disposer, don't put anything in there that it will not grind up completely. Some disposers do an outstanding job of grinding up the worst drain clogging offenders {potatos, celery and other stringy veggies, chicken bones, meat trimmings, egg shells} but ALWAYS run alot of hot water down AS you grind and AFTER you grind to make sure the grindings are washed away.
In the Bathroom: Use hair catchers and screens in the sink, tub and shower. The best way to keep things flowing is to keep the hair out. If you use alot of conditioner, oil treatments, gel, etc. then make sure to run the hot water to flush the excess products away.
The TOILET: NEVER,NEVER,NEVER, flush... Tampons, condoms, dental floss, baby wipes, sanitary napkins, paper towels, anything plastic, anything fabric, or dead pets. These items WILL clog up the sewer which usually means the worst water you can imagine is running out on the floor somewhere.
A few words on toilet paper... use it, flush it. Men love to blame the women for clogging up the sewer with too much paper. This is not the case 99.9% of the time. Toilet paper {even the super soft fluffy kinds} pretty much fall apart when flushed.
Sorry guys :)
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