Do you ever wish your home – the whole thing – came with an easy-to-read instruction manual on how to maintain and repair things, and how to prevent problems?

If such a manual existed, it would be encyclopedia-length, with one whole book dedicated to plumbing.  Among so much more information, the book/manual would include a sub-section on plumbing do’s and don’ts – mostly stuff you can do on your own.

Sorry to say, no such comprehensive manual exists.  If it did, you probably wouldn’t have the time or patience to read it anyway. So instead, we’ve compiled a short list of our own to get you headed in the right direction – the direction that leads to fewer headaches and fewer plumbing repairs.

Let’s get started.

Don’t pour grease down the drain or garbage disposal. Dumping grease, cooking oil, and other fatty substances down the drain is a sure-fire way to clog plumbing pipes. As the grease cools, it coagulates and solidifies, coating the inside of pipes. Once that coating gets thick enough, a major clog is just waiting to happen.

Do check for leaks. Conduct a visual inspection of your home’s exposed plumbing pipes for signs of damage, corrosion, or leaks.

Don’t shove stuff under the sink. Under-sink cabinets stuffed with cleaning supplies, disposable and reusable bags, and other items can conceal a slow leak from your sink or garbage disposal.

Do let faucets drip to prevent frozen pipes. When temperatures dip below freezing, open a faucet just enough to allow water to drip slowly. Even a trickle of water will help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during cold weather spells.

Don’t use caustic drain cleaners, especially in older pipes. Repeated use of drain cleaners that contain oxidizing chemicals can cause drainpipes to corrode and leak. So, the next time you have a slow moving drain, grab a natural cleaner that employs enzymatic action.

Do shut off the main water valve before leaving for vacation. Nothing ruins a relaxing vacation more than coming home to ankle deep water in your kitchen or basement. Before leaving home, turn off the main water valve and open a few faucets to bleed the lines.

Don’t put garbage down your garbage disposal. Despite its name, your garbage disposal isn’t meant for garbage. Grease, fibrous, and starchy food can clog the disposal. Toss those in a compost bin or in your kitchen garbage can. Meat and fish bones are also a great big “don’t” for a disposal.

Don’t throw trash in the toilet. Prevent clogs by using your toilets for their intended purpose. Paper towels, cotton swabs, hair, and “flushable” wipes, among other items, should be tossed in a trash pail.

Don’t DIY everything. Some plumbing problems are easy enough to fix on your own. But tackling something you know little about can cost you more in the long run.

And, right on cue, here we are – Anthony’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, central New Jersey’s premier home comfort specialists. For plumbing, heating and cooling issues, large or small, Anthony’s is always ready to help.