10 Things Your Plumber Wants You to Stop Doing Immediately

Having to have a plumber in the U.S. can be unavoidable if you have a drippy or burst pipe. But a lot of the time, you can prevent blocking your pipes or requiring repairs for your garbage disposal, both of which can be expensive to fix.

Here are some of the most frequent troubles our Experts get calls about at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing and how you can prevent them.

1. Flushing “Flushable” Wipes

Although they might be called “flushable wipes,” the best place for them is the garbage. The only thing that should be flushed (except for the obvious) is toilet paper and septic treatments, if you rely on a septic system.

A Canadian study that looked at 101 such wipes learned none of them passed a flushability test, according to Forbes. As flushable wipes don’t dissolve like toilet paper, they can block your sewer line and cause your toilet to back up.

They can also wreak havoc on city sewer systems or your septic tank. These wipes can conglomerate with other yucky things that shouldn’t go down the toilet, including cooking grease and hygienic products, to create a fatberg. Along with being unsanitary and just plain gross, environmental nonprofit Green America says these buildups are pricey to fix. If you use a city sewer system, those are bills that could get shuffled to you in the long run.

No matter what kind of wipe you’re using—makeup remover, cleansing, baby or sanitizing—it should be thrown in the trash once you’re finished.

2. Flushing Other Things That Belong in the Waste Bin

Other than flushable wipes, there are a couple other things that don’t belong in your toilet. These involve:

    • Feminine hygiene products
    • Makeup remover pads
    • Cat litter

Along with wipes, these things can plug your sewer line and make your toilet run over, sticking you with an expensive (and gross) mess.

3. Relying on Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs

Having drop-in toilet fresheners may seem like a smart way to keep your toilet bowl clean, but they can do more harm than good. These tablets often contain chemicals, such as bleach, which can eat through rubber parts in the tank. And as the tablets dissolve, they can block the toilet and keep it from flushing.

4. Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

If your sink is clogged, your first reaction could be to buy a low-priced liquid drain cleaner. However, there are some things you should know about these drain cleaners.

    1. They’re toxic. Drain cleaners are a toxic blend of chemicals that can burn your skin and eyes. They also create intense fumes that can cause respiratory irritation.
    1. They can eat through your pipes. If these cleaners can burn your skin, imagine what they can do to your plumbing: corrosion, fractures and even failure.
    1. They’re bad for the environment. As you can figure out, these formulas aren’t very helpful for the environment.
    1. They might not even unplug your drain. Regardless of all the chemicals they pack, drain cleaners sometimes don’t even work or only work for a short time. That’s because they often move the clog further into your plumbing until it creates a big problem.

If you do need to use a drain cleaner, we recommend using an enzymatic cleaner. These chemical-free cleaners have bacteria and enzymes to get rid of clogs and unpleasant odors. While they might require more time than a chemical-based cleaner, they’re safer for you, your plumbing and the environment.

If you’re dealing with a strong clog that just won’t dissolve, contacting a professional plumber like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is your wisest option for drain cleaning. While you can rent a drain auger or plumbing snake, it’s easier to have an Expert finish the job. That way, you’ll also avoid harming your pipes and many other horrible issues such as leaks, damaged seals and horrible odors.

After your drain is flowing freely, keep it that way by having a screen to keep hair or food scraps from clogging it again.

5. Dumping Grease Down Your Sink

It can seem like it’s not a problem to drain a tiny bit of fat down your sink. But over time, that grease can accumulate and block your pipes. If the grease gets into the sewer system, it can cling to flushable wipes and create a nasty fatberg like we mentioned prior.

To prevent plumbing woes, drain the fat into a bowl. After it cools, you can toss it in the garbage.

6. Turning to Your Garbage Disposal for Everything

Your garbage disposal is a useful tool for breaking up little bits of food. But it can’t get rid of everything. To prevent breakdowns or clogs, we recommend not putting these items down your garbage disposal:

    • Coffee grounds
    • Pasta, oats, rice and bread
    • Bones, nuts, pits and seeds
    • Eggshells
    • Onions and potato peels
    • Fibrous fruits and vegetables
    • Grease

If your garbage disposal smells bad, you can revive it with citrus peels or a combination of baking soda and vinegar.

7. Avoiding Maintenance for Your Plumbing System

Similar to your heating and cooling system, your plumbing also needs annual tune-ups. This service can help us discover little issues before they cause major problems, such as a damaging water leak. Some of the problems we are on the lookout for include:

    • Ample water pressure
    • Dripping or blocked pipes
    • Correctly operating supply lines and plumbing fixtures like sinks, tubs, showers and toilets

If you do find trouble, including a dripping sink or pipe, it’s important to get it taken care of immediately before it grows worse or causes damage.

8. Attempting to Fix Your Plumbing Without Professional Help

When you have a dripping pipe or a leaking washing machine, we suggest calling an Expert at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for leak repair before it gets bigger or causes damage.

Fixing plumbing is a detailed job that’s best completed by pros. There’s a reason why plumbers complete extensive certification and licensing. Don’t try to do water pipe repair on your own or hire a handyman, because you could end up wasting time and having a more expensive problem.

9. Trying to Service Your Water Heater Yourself

When it comes to your water heater, service and maintenance is best left to the pros. This includes draining it or examining the temperature and pressure valve. If this isn’t done correctly, you could burn yourself with hot water or flood your residence.

Professional water heater maintenance offers peace of mind that your water heater is working right. It also gives you a heads-up when it’s time to start thinking about water heater replacement, as they often only last for about 10 years.

10. Not Being Aware of Where the Water Main Shutoff Is

In the event your house has a big water leak, it’s essential to know where the main water valve is and how to shut it off. This valve is typically found in a mechanical room near your water heater.

Here’s how to shut off the main water valve in your residence:

    • If it has a wheel: circle it clockwise until you can’t anymore.
    • If it has a lever: turn it about a quarter of the way.

If you’re still not sure where the valve is located, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you find it.

It’s also a good idea to have a water leak protection system that will sound the alarm and cut off the water if there’s an issue. You can even get a smart system to watch water use and alert you via your phone if there’s a problem.

Whatever plumbing issue you’re experiencing, our Expert plumbers at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are available to provide support. And we’ll back our work with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee* for a year, so you’ll know that your repairs were done correctly. Give us a call at 866-397-3787 to schedule your appointment right away!

Savings For You

See All Offers Here >


  • Save $50 on a Paid Service
  • Written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
  • Plus, ask how to save an additional 15% and waive your trip charge!


  • Prevent costly damage from water leaks, drain clogs and tank damage
  • Written 100% Expert Service Guarantee

© 2024 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.