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31 Secrets Your Plumber Won’t Tell You

If you've ever had problems with your pipes you'll want to read these plumbing tips. Plumbers give us the scoop on clogged pipes, do-it-yourself plumbing repair, and more!

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If you need a recommendation, call a plumbing-supply or fixture store

They don’t tolerate bad plumbers, so you know they'll send you to the best of the best. If these plumbing tips are helpful, you'll also want to know these secrets home inspectors won't tell you.

31 Secrets Your Plumber Won’t Tell YouBLACKDAY/Shutterstock

Don't trust the "flushable" label

Don't flush floss, tampons, or even so-called "flushable" wipes. They don't break down like toilet paper does and can come back to haunt you later. "Toilets are more water-efficient now than they were 20 years ago, so there sometimes isn't enough volume in the flush to force debris down," says Marcin Wroblewski, president of ExpressRooter Plumbing in Toronto. "An object will get lodged in the trap and cause blockage when waste builds up days later."

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A burst washing machine hose is a top homeowner-insurance claim

I’d replace those flimsy rubber hoses with stainless steel ones. That way, you only need to worry about these other laundry mistakes that could ruin your next load of wash.

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Don't flush cooking grease

"Don't pour fat down the drain. Wipe your pan with paper towels and compost them," Wroblewski advises. Grease can become rock-hard and may require professional removal.

31 Secrets Your Plumber Won’t Tell YouGrigvovan/Shutterstock

No bricks in the toilet tank

Some allege that putting a brick in the toilet tank can save water, but doing that can keep your toilet from flushing correctly. Another plumbing tip, avoid liquid drain cleaners. Liquid drain cleaners are also bad news—they eat away at the pipes. Try a plunger or, better yet, a $30 auger. Don't have either? Here's how to unclog a toilet without a plunger.

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Have a plumber over before you buy

Buying a home? Have a plumber scope your underground drain system with a camera to check for roots, collapses and other problems that typically aren't visible to home inspectors. "Spending $300 on an investigation could save you tens of thousands later in insurance claims for flood cleanup, excavation, and pipe replacements," Wroblewski says. In all home repair, pay attention to what your home is telling you. These signs indicate you should replace your roof. 

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Know where the main turnoff source is

I can’t tell you how many calls I get from people screaming and crying that their house is flooding and they don’t know what to do. The location of the main turnoff source is one of the 35 things every homeowner should know to save money and prevent big screw-ups.

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Watch out for long or shedding hair

If you’ve got a Rapunzel at home (or even a rapidly balding man), buy a drain strainer or a hair snare or tell them to use a paper towel to clear the drain. Soap can gum up the pipes, too, so use as little of that as you can.

31 Secrets Your Plumber Won’t Tell YouDmitry Galaganov/Shutterstock

Ditch the harsh drain cleaners

Using corrosive chemicals to dissolve a clog is like throwing a grenade down a gopher hole. Instead, Wroblewski recommends flushing your drains weekly with a half cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Let it fizz in the drain for ten minutes, then pour in four cups of boiling water. Avoid this nightmare and others by checking out the plumbing nightmares that will make you cringe.

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When it comes to pay...

Pay me by the job, not by the hour. This is one of the most important plumbing tips you can remember.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest