Things your plumber doesn’t want you to do

Published on February 22, 2023

Using the toilet like a bin

No matter what kind of plumbing system you have in place, it’s important to remember that our toilets are not rubbish bins. Even if they’re labelled “flushable”, putting items like feminine hygiene products, wet wipes and cat litter down the toilet can cause clogs and damage. 

The truth is that any item other than human waste and toilet paper simply should not be put down the toilet. 

Feminine hygiene products contain plastic components that do not break down easily in water. When flushed, these items become caught in pipes which can result in blockages. Wet wipes have similar properties as their fibre content does not disperse when flooded with water, leading to clogged pipes and costly repairs. 

Cat litter should never, ever be flushed down the toilet due to its absorbency; it’ll expand when exposed to liquid! This will block your drain completely. 

Using unblocking liquids

Using chemicals to open or clear drains is a common way of dealing with clogged pipes and drains – but they rarely get the job done properly. Not only are chemicals dangerous and harsh to handle, but they can also ruin drain pipes and any equipment used to clear the stoppage. 

A major downside of using liquid unblockers is the risk of corrosion. Harsh chemicals can quickly break down metal components within your plumbing system, which leads to costly repairs or even full replacements. 

They can also damage the environment if they’re not disposed of properly after use.

Whilst using drain unblocking liquid can sometimes help in the short-term, they don’t provide any long-term solutions for larger blockage problems. This means that you will end up buying more products and frequently pouring them into your drains in order to keep them clear over time. 

Preventing blockages

Clogged blocked drains are a nuisance that can be easily avoided. Taking simple measures to prevent these blockages can save us time, energy and money. The two main causes of clogged blocked drains are grease and hair. 

To avoid clogging due to grease, always make sure you dispose of used cooking oil in the right way by not pouring it down the drain. Instead, pour it into a container and throw it away with your household rubbish or recyclables. Grease will solidify as it cools down and stick to the walls of pipes, causing blockages over time – so avoiding using fats or oils in your sink at all is ideal! 

Hair is another common cause of drain blockages which can be prevented by regularly cleaning out the drains with a wire brush scrubber or pipe cleaner.

Tackling plumbing issues yourself

Plumbing issues can be tricky to work with, and attempting to fix them yourself can easily backfire. Even when it seems like a minor issue, trying to tackle plumbing problems on your own may not be the best decision. 

For starters, it can be incredibly dangerous depending on where the problem is located. Legally, qualified professionals should always be contacted to tackle major plumbing problems that involve gas.

In addition to potential legal repercussions, there’s also the risk of creating new problems or worsening current ones. Plumbing repairs are often more involved than they might appear, they may require special tools and skills in order to complete them correctly. 

Without the proper knowledge, you could do more harm than good by attempting DIY plumbing fixes.

Not knowing where the main water valve is

When you move into your new home, one of the most important things to locate is your main water valve. This often gets overlooked, and when problems arise, people scramble to find it. 

Knowing where your main water valve is and how to turn it off is an incredibly important skill to learn. First off, if you have any issues with your plumbing or if a pipe bursts, being able to quickly shut off the main water valve can help control the damage and prevent flooding. 

Secondly, if you ever decide to do any work on your plumbing yourself (not advisable), you must know how to turn off the water first before attempting any repairs. This is to ensure no one gets hurt and no accidental flooding occurs. 

Using drop-in tank toilet fresheners

You might love how fresh your blue water looks in the toilet, but these drop-in tablets usually contain chemicals that wear out working parts inside the tank. Plus, as they disintegrate, they can get stuck in the flush valve which prevents the toilet from flushing. 

The chemicals used can also be dangerous if they come into contact with your skin or eyes. They may cause irritation or allergic reactions if inhaled as well as potentially increase indoor air pollution levels. 

From an environmental standpoint, the phosphates inside these tablets contribute to an increase in algae growth when released, leading to an imbalance in the ecosystem. This makes it harder for plant life to survive due to a lack of oxygen levels. 

Forgetting to replace appliance hoses

There’s rarely any warning given before hoses burst, so avoid potential floods by changing out rubber hoses on dishwashers and washing machines at least every five years. 

Rubber hoses that connect appliances to your water supply can become brittle or worn over time, leading to leaks, bursts and floods. Water damage from even a minor leak can be expensive and time-consuming to repair, which makes prevention all the more important. 

Regularly replacing the hoses will help ensure they don’t break down over time, preventing a potentially disastrous water leak. Newer models of washing machines and dishwashers come with reinforced hoses made out of stainless steel or other materials, but older models often still use rubber that needs regular replacement. 

If you have an older model, it’s highly recommended that you replace the rubber hose every five years as part of your regular maintenance schedule. 

Having no leak protection system

Should a leak occur in your heater, dishwasher or sink, a leak protection system can help prevent damage by sounding an alarm and shutting off the main water. 

They help detect any potential leaks causes by accidents, corrosion or malfunctions, as well as alerting you of such events. They can be either active or passive, depending on their purpose. Active systems require manual intervention to stop a leak if it’s detected, whilst passive systems will automatically turn off the water supply if a leak is detected. 

Leak protection systems install sensors around pipes that can detect any changes in pressure or temperature which could indicate a potential leak. As soon as an irregularity is detected, an alarm will sound to inform you about the possible issue at hand, so that immediate action can be taken.

Messing with the water heater’s pressure valve

If you are a homeowner, you may be tempted to adjust the pressure valve on your boiler yourself rather than calling a professional. However, there are some valid reasons why it is best to leave this task in the hands of an experienced engineer. 

First and foremost, attempting to adjust the pressure valve on a boiler can be risky, as it involves dealing with high temperatures and pressures that could become dangerous or even lead to an explosion if not managed properly. An experienced engineer will have the knowledge and expertise about how to safely handle these hazardous conditions when adjusting the pressure valve. 

In addition, if you do happen to make changes incorrectly, it could result in costly damage occurring within your boiler system from overheating or water leaking due to incorrect settings being applied.


Follow the instructions of your plumber carefully, listen to the list of things above that they don’t want you to do, and never attempt a plumbing project if you’re not qualified. This will ensure that your plumbing system remains safe and functioning as it should. If there is ever a job too large or difficult for you, don’t hesitate to call our professional plumbers in Bolton who can help.


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