Pipes and other plumbing fixtures do not last forever. If you have an older home with original pipes and everything is still working well, count yourself as lucky. To keep the plumbing in working order, you'll want to treat it with kid gloves, so to speak. Here are some ways to be extra nice to the plumbing in an older home.
1. Only flush toilet paper.
Make sure everyone in your home knows to only flush human waste and toilet paper. Items like tampons, baby wipes, and cotton swabs cannot go down the drain -- even if the wrapper says otherwise. The sewer stacks in older homes tend to be more narrow and prone to clogging. The home may also have roots growing into the sewer pipe, which could grab onto these items and become blocked.
2. Steer clear of chemical drain cleaners.
When a sink or tub drain seems slow, your first instinct may be to pour some drain cleaner down the drain. While the cleaner may open up the drain, however, it can also accelerate corrosion in older pipes. Repeated use of drain cleaners can lead to leaks and the need for drain pipe replacement. Your best bet is to just plunge the drain. If that does not work, pour some boiling water or maybe some hot vinegar down the drain.
3. Run the water periodically.
There are probably fixtures in the home that you barely use, such as those in the guest bathroom or basement. Make sure you make a point of periodically turning on these taps and letting the water run through them. This will rinse any rust or corroded material out of the pipes, helping to slow down their aging.
4. Don't use the disposal.
Even if your home is fitted with a garbage disposal, it's a good idea not to use it if the drain pipes are old. Disposals send a lot of ground-up gunk down the drain, and if your pipes are at all rough and corroded inside, the grime may stick to their insides and lead to clogs. Disconnect the disposal if you think that you or other family members will feel tempted to use it.
In addition to following the tips above, make sure you keep a close eye out for signs of leaks and other plumbing trouble. Contact a plumber from a company like Powder River Heating & Air Conditioning Inc if anything is amiss. Problems are easier to solve when noticed early!