Don't Flush That | 7 Things That Should Never Enter Your Plumbing

Construction & Contractors Articles

Sadly, America has become a country of quick disposals. Items people buy are single-use, disposable, and flushable. In fact, many of those same items are ruining garbage disposals, plumbing lines, wastewater treatment plants, and even the environment. 

1. Grease: Putting grease down a garbage disposal is never a good idea. Not only could it clog the garbage disposal, but it coats the inside of the pipes, creating a build-up. While this may seem easy to fix with either hot water or an over-the-counter clog busting product, the solution is only temporary. As the grease solidifies again it clogs the pipe further down the line, where it is harder to reach. In fact, some cities warn about simple cooking grease clogging municipal lines and causing raw sewage to back up. 

2. Fruit and Vegetable Peels: Peeling fruits and vegetables over the kitchen sink and rinsing the peels down the drain is second nature to many people. This simple act, however, can be detrimental to the life of your garbage disposal. Many vegetables are too starchy or too stringy to be put in the disposal. Starchy vegetable peels can clog a disposal, while stringy ones can get wrapped around the blades, causing it to break. Even more notably, vegetables can --and should-- be easily composted. It is better for both your kitchen sink and for the environment. 

3. Medicine: Hollywood loves to show dramatic movie scenes with actors dumping a bottle of pills into the toilet. Doing so, however, can potentially contaminate the groundwater, causing harm to both animals and humans. The Food and Drug Administration has an entire section of their website dedicated to teaching consumers the proper way to dispose of medicine, and many pharmacies have a special 'Drug Take Back' day, where they will dispose of it for you. 

4. 'Flushable' Wipes: Even if the container says flush, don't. While 'flushable' wipes may be biodegradable, they can clog pipes well before they biodegrade. If you like using them, simply toss them in your recycling container instead. In fact, the general public probably doesn't realize that those same 'flushable' wipes have to be removed by hand at wastewater treatment facilities, wasting precious man hours. 

5. Coffee Grounds: Coffee grounds just go right down the drain. Many times you do not even need to use the garbage disposal to get rid of them. Are they really gone, though? Unfortunately, coffee grounds have a tendency to simply sit at the bottom of your sink's trap, waiting to clog your drain at a later date. They do, however, make great compost and, for those who are practicing vermiculture, worms love them.  

6. Diapers: Disposable does not mean flushable. In fact, a disposable diaper should never be flushed down a toilet. If you have a septic system, the diaper will outlive your septic tank. It takes anywhere from 250 to 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose. In fact, many municipalities struggle with diapers that have been flushed. Not only do they not decompose, but they also clog pipes, drain lines, and back up sewer lines. 

7. Drain Cleaner: The last item on this list is the most confusing. Believe it or not, experts ask that you not use over-the-counter drain cleaner. It may get the job done initially, but the damage it can cause is too great. Drain cleaner can corrode copper pipes over time, forcing homeowners to replace them at great expense. They can also coat the interior of PVC pipes and lie in wait for a potentially toxic reaction with the next product you pour down the drain. Lastly, drain cleaners pollute the environment. Mother Nature deserves better. 

Taking a few extra moments to properly dispose of things instead of quickly dumping everything down the drain can save your plumbing, your wallet, and the environment. For more information about how to care for your pipes, contact a local plumbing company, like Orange Coast Plumbing.

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10 December 2014

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