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Protecting Your Plumbing Pipes

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Amateur plumbers are well meaning but dangerous. If you are not a plumber but have some nifty theories about pipe maintenance and use, be careful. Some of these ideas could actually be recipes for a pipe disaster. If you are a do-it-yourselfer around the house, add these items to the "never do" list.

Dangerous Defrosting

Exposing your frozen pipes to warm air is a great idea. Trying to quickly force your pipes to defrost is a bad idea. You should never heat your pipes with a flame source such as a propane torch. If you do, chances are you will melt or otherwise damage your pipes. You are also in danger of igniting nearby wood or paper. Trying to defrost your pipes can lead to a house fire if you insist on using dangerous thawing methods.  However, using a hair dryer to warm up your pipes is generally a safe and effective method because it won't create extreme pressure from steam when water boils inside the pipes. You are also unlikely to start a fire with a blow dryer.

Garbage Disposal Misuse

Putting the wrong things in the garbage disposal can lead to clogs and pipe damage. Never put grease down your drain, even when using a garbage disposal to do so. Also, don't cram your disposal full of refuse all at once. Add things slowly while you run the water. Also, fiber is good for your diet but bad for your pipes. If you are a celery fan, for instance, don't put the leftover parts and pieces into the disposal unless you simply miss your plumber and want to visit with him or her again.

Excess Chemical Pouring

Chemical drain cleaners are a controversial plumbing topic, with some people refusing to use them at all due to safety and environmental reasons. If you are determined to use a drain cleaner, follow the directions and do not use more than is recommended. Overuse of these chemicals can destroy your pipes, causing corrosion that leads to leaks as well as serious pipe damage. You may end up making an emergency plumbing call that leads to costly pipe replacement. Also, do not dispose of other toxic liquids through your system, including paint or pesticides. Your pipes and the sewage system are not meant to handle these substances, and neither is the environment.

If you fancy yourself an amateur plumbing expert, you may be doing more harm than good to your system. Before you make any plumbing decision, research the topic thoroughly. You can get good basic advice on the Internet. If you do experience a plumbing emergency, speed dial a local plumbing company, like one from Maryland Sewer & Plumbing Service. Some situations require an expert.