There’s no better way to ring in the new year than by making firm resolutions to be a better you, appreciate what you currently have, and protect your investments. The best place to start is with your plumbing system. From bringing fresh, potable water into your Elizabethtown, KY, home to routing waste away from the building, this system has a major impact on the health, comfort, and overall habitability of your living environment. The following are five plumbing commitments that are both easy to make and easy to see through.

1. Start Using Your Garbage Disposal the Right Way

The term “garbage disposal” is a misnomer. If you’ve been using this appliance to get rid of all of your food waste, you’ve been using it wrong. In television shows and movies, consumers constantly see people dump entire containers of food into their sinks when cleaning out their refrigerators. In reality, garbage disposals are only meant to process the residual waste on your dishes after you’ve already scraped them clean.

Put larger foods and larger amounts of food waste in your compost bin or trash can. You should also take care to avoid putting potentially harmful items into this unit, including:

  • Coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Potato or citrus fruit peels
  • Nuts, seeds, and nut butter
  • Shells or bones
  • Onion skins

Plumbers additionally advise against putting dry, expandable food items into these units, such as oatmeal, rice, barley, or beans.

2. Always Schedule a Yearly, Whole-House Plumbing Inspection

The need for whole-house plumbing inspections is easy to overlook. After all, if there’s nothing wrong with this system, why waste time and money having it checked?

The problem with this rationale is that whole-house plumbing inspections are largely preventative. They identify problems that would otherwise go unnoticed and unchecked. Plumbers look for slow and hidden leaks that are under and behind appliances, in crawlspaces, at building foundations, and around HVAC equipment. In most homes, leaks like these can fester for months on end before someone slips, winds up with saturated slippers or socks, or notices them in other ways.

Scheduling a whole-house plumbing inspection minimizes the risk of having leaks cause baseboard, drywall, flooring, paint, and subfloor damage. In so doing, it can minimize your spending as well. These services are also an excellent opportunity for plumbers to identify failed anode rods in water heaters, check for and correct water pressure, fix leaky faucets, and take other measures to keep your water bills and repair costs under control.

3. Stop Putting Non-Flushable Items Down Your Commodes

Everyone loves a “flushable” moist wipe. Everyone that is, except plumbers. Although these products are handy for personal care, they aren’t as flushable as their packages proclaim. Unlike toilet paper, which starts breaking down as soon as it’s submerged, flushable wipes can take months to degrade. These products are comprised of blended wood pulp fibers and regenerated cellulose, and then they’re treated with special polymers to enhance their durability. If they don’t block your toilets or get snagged in your sewer line, they’ll eventually wreak havoc in the municipal sewer system.

Not only are they slow in degrading, but they’re also prone to attracting and retaining fats and clumping together with other flushable wipes. This leads to hard, greasy obstructions known as fatbergs that block the flow of sewage and create plumbing problems for entire neighborhoods.

Toilet paper sprays are eco-friendly, plumbing-friendly alternatives to flushable wipes, and you can send down your commodes without causing trouble. Simply spray them on your tissue to moisten it and enjoy the same clean, fresh feeling that you had before. You can also opt to accessorize your toilets with basic bidets or have your current commodes swapped out for options that have bidets built right in.

4. Take Care of Your Hard Water Problems

Hard water causes a host of aesthetic and functional problems. It can affect your physical appearance as much as it affects the appearance and performance of your fixtures. If you have low water pressure at your shower heads and taps, mineral build-up in and around your sinks, or water that tastes slightly bitter and salty, it’s time to do something about it. Taking action in the new year could improve the health and texture of your skin and hair, extend the life span of your pipes and appliances, and make everything from your clothes to the interior of your dishwasher look better.

Installing a whole-house water softener is a set-it-and-forget-it solution that trumps using rinse aids and elbow grease to eliminate hard water spots. Your water will taste better and your water heater will last longer.

5. Never Skip Annual Drain Cleaning Service

You can stave off most drain odors and drain buildups by pouring one cup of baking soda down each kitchen and bathroom drain and chasing it with an equal measure of white vinegar. This is a tried-and-true remedy for light buildups of grease, food debris, soap scum, body oils, and more, and it should keep your drains moving swiftly in between professional drain cleaning services. However, most plumbers recommend having these all-important features professionally cleaned at least once each year.

Even when everyone in the household is careful about what they put down your drains, many problematic things can still find their way in. For instance, although you might cool rendered fats and dispose of them in the trash bin, small residues on your pots, pans, and other cooking and serving implements enter your drains via your dishwasher or kitchen sink. All of the luxurious hair oils, oil-based skin creams, and moisturizing body washes that residents use contribute to drain buildups too.

Professional drain cleaning breaks these accumulations down in a way that even the most judicious applications of baking soda and white vinegar cannot. Your plumber can choose from a variety of effective drain cleaning techniques based on the age and condition of your pipes, including:

  • Air bursting
  • Drain snaking
  • Hydro-steaming
  • Hydro-jetting
  • Enzymatic drain cleaning

All of the most common drain cleaning methods eliminate built-up debris at the entrance and interior of pipes so that waste and wastewater have more room to move through. With thorough drain cleaning, it’s even possible to break up aggressive tree roots, weeds, and other blockages in the underground sewer line at your property exterior. If your home has an aging sewer line or if your sewer line has already been encroached upon, making regular drain cleaning a part of your New Year’s resolutions will help you avoid a costly, whole-house backup.

This is also a good time to commit to keeping all of your drains covered. Installing simple, low-cost drain covers or drain mesh will keep large, non-degradable items from slipping down into your drains and causing clogs or other problems.

We’ve been serving Elizabethtown, KY, since 2008. We offer competitive prices, unbeatable customer service, and superior workmanship. You can count on us for top-notch heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing services. We also furnish an impressive selection of high-quality garage doors. To find out about our preventative maintenance plans or get help sorting your plumbing system for the new year, call us at Absolute Services today!