For many renters, the idea of “what do I do when there’s a plumbing issue?” doesn’t cross their mind until an actual issue arises. Once it does, they’re unprepared and the issue can grow into a major problem. Rather than waiting until a plumbing emergency has occurred in your apartment or home, follow these tips from the Gainesville plumbers at Quality Plumbing of Gainesville Inc. and reduce the chance of a plumbing disaster.

Use Strainers

Unwanted debris in the drains is a quick way to end up with damaged or clogged drains. Installing a strainer in the shower, kitchen, and any other sinks that may have unnecessary material accidentally flow down them can prevent a buildup and save you both money and time in the long run. In most cases, a strainer just needs to be placed in the drain and can be easily removed in the event that it needs to be cleaned.

Find The Main Water Valve

When things really go awry, such as in the case of a burst pipe or other catastrophic plumbing leak, knowing the location of the main water valve can be the difference between some minor damages and having to perform hefty repairs. During the initial tour of the property, have the landlord point out the location of the main water valve. This can save you from a panicked search if something ever goes wrong.

Locate The Individual Shutoffs

Now in the case of a minor leak, or when just a single drain needs to be fiddled with, individual shut-off valves provide a much simpler solution as opposed to cutting off the water to the entire property. These are usually small twist knobs located near the appliance they’re connected to, so don’t worry about having to search high and low to find your shut-off valve.

Report Damaged Fixtures Immediately

Having to report damaged appliances to your landlord is always an unpleasant task. While it can seem daunting at first, every landlord would much prefer to solve an issue early on than to let it compound and get worse. In most cases, your housing contract will clearly label what is the landlord’s responsibility when it comes to damages, and they may even have a 24-hour maintenance staff available in the event that emergency plumbing repairs are needed.

Have A Plunger Handy

The plunger is seen as a staple of the home, but you’d be surprised by how many individuals don’t have one readily available. When a clogged toilet begins to overall, renters can be caught off guard and left with a gross, wet mess that could have been easily avoided. Make sure there is a plunger readily available somewhere in the home, preferably one per bathroom so no guests have to awkwardly ask for one in the event of a clog.

Use Drain Cleaner Cautiously

Liquid drain cleaners are typically used as a quick-fix for stubborn clogs. While they do tend to break up the clog, they do so at the cost of pipe integrity. Drain cleaner can also be dangerous to the health of renters, as the cleaner can sit in the pipes and mix with other cleaners, possibly resulting in noxious gasses coming from the sink or other areas in the home. Instead of using these cleaners, try pouring boiling water down the drain, followed by a half cup of baking soda. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes then pour a cup of vinegar mixed with another cup of boiling water down the drain and cover. Let this sit for a few more minutes and finally flush with boiling water.

Avoid Flushing Grease Down The Sink

Flushing grease down the sink can seem like a non-issue at first. After all, it easily goes down the drain when dishes are being washed. But over time this grease will solidify, slowly causing the drain to become clogged, causing a plethora of issues and requiring a drain cleaning. Instead, use an old plastic water bottle or glass jar to store any food grease — just make sure it has cooled before scraping it off! Once the grease storage container is full, either throw it away in the trash or bring it to a local recycling center so it can be disposed of properly.

Keep The Garbage Disposal Clean

While the garbage disposal is meant for disposing of food, that doesn’t mean it can endlessly deal with gunk and other food materials. Unplug the disposal before working on it (the outlet can typically be found under the sink) and use a set of pliers and a flashlight to pull out any material that may be caught in the blades. A rather inexpensive way to keep blades clean is by pouring a bit of salt and a few ice cubes into the drain and letting the blades run for a few minutes.

Be Careful What You Flush Down The Toilet

The only things that should be flushed down the toilet are bodily wastes and toilet paper. Anything else can lead to clogs and costly toilet repairs. Be especially careful with wet wipes marketed as “flushable”, as even these can easily clog a toilet’s pipes. We recommend keeping a trashcan with a lid next to the toilet, as this will allow you and any guests to throw away materials rather than flushing them.

Acquire The Help Of A Plumber

When a drain becomes clogged or a pipe begins to leak, don’t let the issue grow to the point of leaving massive damages. Instead, contact the plumbers in Gainesville, FL, at Quality Plumbing of Gainesville Inc. We’ll help restore normal function to your appliances, all while working efficiently and providing high-quality repairs. Whether you’ve just moved in or you’re a long-time renter, our Gainesville plumbing services can help.