5 Plumbing Mistakes Everybody Makes

Don’t use liquid plumbing products.

Don’t use liquid drain cleaners, they’re not miracle products. These caustic chemicals are known to corrode galvanized piping and to cause leaks. The heat that the product puts off can also damage your PVC piping. They may work on simple food and hair clogs but they don’t work on toilets or soild matter clogs. Additionally, drain cleaners are nasty to work with, they create noxious fumes and can cause chemical burns. The chemicals in the these cleaners pollute our waters and leave residue behind making them less and less effective over time.

Don’t forget to turn off the water.

Changing out a dishwasher? Turning off some old angle stops under the sink? Don’t forget to turn off the water before you start your project. Water pipes work at a very high PSI and failure to turn off the water before starting can lead to a big mess. A small house flood can appear within a few minutes of breaking a water line inside your home.


Pull a permit / the right permit.

Upgrading your home’s plumbing without the proper permits can lead to a major headache. It can actually de-value your home if it’s discovered during the selling process. States and cities all have their own rules and laws regarding permits. Check with your local jurisdiction if you have questions or concerns. Pulling a permit gives homeowners professional oversight on the project. In the end you’ll know the plumbing work was done properly.

Connecting galvanized piping to copper pipes.

If copper pipes and galavinized piping touch each other, they’ll start corroding. A lot of homeowners are unaware of this and they’ll start joining new copper pipes to old galvanized piping. A dielectric union needs to be placed between hte pipes to prevent the corrosion. This small plastic joiner will prevent the pipes from touching each other.

Disconnect your hose before the winter freeze.

If you leave your hose attached to a frost proof spigot and old man winter comes by, you’re gonna have a bad time. When you turn the spigot on next spring it may start pouring water down into your basement. This happens when the silcock pipe freezes and develops a crack. If your hosebib is behind finished drywall, you’ll need to cut an access panel to replace it. It’s best practice to have a sepearate shut off valve installed just before the spigot.


5 Plumbing Tips

1.) Don’t pour oil or grease down the drain.

Fats and oils, like butter, chicken fat and others are liquid until they reach room temperature, then they solidify and turn solid. Hair, dust, dirt and debris stick to these fats likes glue on paper. If you dump them down the drain, it will slowly clog your sink. The fat sticks to the inside of the pipes like cholesterol on a corroded artery. Eventually a total blockage happens and you get a sink full of water.

(fatberg pictures below - Source:BBC)

Always avoid dumping any fats, oils or grease down your drains.


2. ) Use a strainer in your showers and sinks.

Power rodding kitchen sinks and showers are an everyday thing here at our shop. Hair, soap residue, coffee grounds and bits of food debris get caught in the pipe. A simple cost-effective tool can help prevent a majority of these clogs. It works in the shower and the kitchen as well. It’s a simple one dollar strainer. This will prevent a majority of clogs from happening. A simple mesh wire strainer will catch extremely small bits of food particles and hair.

A wire mesh strainer is a must have for any household.


3.) Don’t flush wipes or paper towels.

Flushable wipes wreak havoc on the sewer systems across the planet. Old wipes collect into nasty blobs called “fatbergs” that clog up sewer systems. Similar problems can appear in your home sewer system. A wipe hits a turn in the pipe and gets stuck, then it accumulates and creates a blob that clogs the sewer. The problem is so bad that a professor at the university of toledo is trying to develop a wet wipe that turns into regular toilet paper when flushed.

Don’t flush any type of wipe down the toilet.


4.) Find your main water shut-off valve.

Water lines have a lot of pressure behind them, up to 55 PSI. If you spring a leak, you’ll need to know in a hurry how to turn off the water. The longer it leaks, the worse the damage will be. The shut offs can be found near the front of your home (facing the street) in the basement or by the water meter.

Locate your main water shut off in case of an emergency.


5.) Find out if your toilet seal is leaking.

The flapper / seal around your toilet tank can degrade with time. Water leaking into the toilet bowl can go unnoticed / forgotten for long periods of time. An easy trick is adding a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank, if you see it leaking into the bowl it’s time to replace the flapper.

Check your toilet flapper to reduce your water usage. 


You Can Count On Us

If you have a difficult plumbing problem, you can count on Green Tech Plumbing to help. Our plumbers are fully licensed, bonded and insured. We offer 24-hour emergency plumbing service. We are conveniently located in Des Plaines, IL and serving the North & Northwest suburbs of Chicago.



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