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The Dirty Dozen – Things to Keep Out of the Plumbing

With Budget season underway, so many communities dread the line item for plumbing. Despite careful planning, it only takes a single plumbing disruption to flush the budget down the drain. It’s easy to take for granted that the plumbing will work...until it doesn’t. Many plumbing professionals will advise that the most blockages and backups can be prevented with proactive practices and avoiding all too common items that cause major issues in a community’s plumbing.


Baby/Bathroom Wipes - Silent Saboteurs

Don’t be fooled by the word “flushable" on the packaging of baby/bathroom wipes. While they seem harmless, they will accumulate quickly, resulting in costly plumbing repairs and more unpleasant issues than whatever it is they were wiping to begin with.


Cotton Products – Fluffy and Foul

Cotton swabs, balls, and cosmetic pads may appear harmless, but their impact on plumbing is far from it. When flushed, they can form clumps that act as traps for other debris, exacerbating blockages and complicating the plumbing system's functionality.


Feminine Hygiene Items – They Don’t Go with the Flow

Because feminine hygiene products are designed to retain moisture, are not suited for plumbing systems. Flushing them can lead to persistent clogs and hefty plumbing bills to clear the blockage.


Condoms - Plumbing's Unwanted Guests

Condoms, regardless of their composition, do not belong in plumbing systems. Their resistance to disintegration causes clogs and blockages that can become costly plumbing nightmares.


Paper Tissues and Towels -Strength That Hinders Breakdown

Because paper tissues and towels are designed for strength, this prevents them from breaking down effectively in water. Unlike toilet paper, they can contribute to plumbing problems rather than prevent them.


Cat Litter - A Misleading Flushable Claim

Not unlike so-called flushable wipes, cat litter that touts ‘flushable,’ should never be introduced to your plumbing system, including sinks and tubs. It creates sediment in sewage lines that cause clogs and backups creating a larger mess than the one that was scooped in the first place.


Cigarette Butts - Small but Stubborn

Cigarette butts may seem inconspicuous, but their filters are made from cellulose acetate fiber which semi-dissolves, creating a gel like material that can cling to the inside of the drain lines, eventually closing off the system.


Hair – Neither Bouncing nor Behaving

Don't underestimate the power of hair to completely impede plumbing systems. Whether down the drain or flushed, hair forms nets that catch other items and contribute to blockages and backing up the drain system altogether.


Food - Not Compatible with Plumbing

Undigested food, along with cooking oils and grease, has no place in your plumbing system. These substances don't break down easily and can lead to clogs and inefficiencies.


Gum - Stubborn Stickiness

For the same reason that you shouldn’t swallow it, gum's resistance to breaking down makes it a poor candidate for flushing. It tends to linger in plumbing systems, contributing to clogs, and exacerbating existing issues.


Dental Floss – Just like hair, but flossier

Dental floss may appear harmless, but it creates a net-like structure that traps other items in plumbing systems. Over time, this seemingly insignificant string can lead to significant blockages.


Additional Items

Beyond refraining from flushing these items, it's important to remember other activities that contribute to plumbing issues. Avoid washing pets and rugs in the tub, and refrain from rinsing plant soil down the drains. These seemingly innocuous things can compromise the efficiency of your plumbing system.


Financial and Environmental Ramifications

The immediate repercussions of improper flushing, such as backups and disruptions, are tangible and inconvenient. However, the long-term consequences are more disconcerting. Rectifying septic system blockages can incur substantial costs, and in certain cases, it might necessitate the premature need to replace the entire system. Additionally, it can have a negative environmental impact for the entire community.


At a time when communities are looking for ways to cut costs, these recommendations can save both the budget and the plumbing system. So, remember to flush wisely to maintain the plumbing system’s longevity and optimal operation. A little mindfulness in the bathroom goes a long way in preventing plumbing predicaments and ensuring an uninterrupted flow of life within the community.

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