Summer has arrived, and if you’re a parent, that means your kids are off from school and spending more time around the house. While it can be a pleasure having the kids around all day, their presence also makes plumbing problems more likely.
Problems that have been brewing for a while may become more serious, and new problems may arise as well. Follow these seven plumbing tips to protect your plumbing from the kids.
1. Lock Down Toilet Lids in Extra Bathrooms
Toilet lid locks are often recommended for parents of toddlers. They keep toddlers from falling into the toilet or flushing toys.
If you have older children who use the bathroom on their own, using a toilet lock in the main bathroom is not feasible. However, you should still keep a lock on any “extra” toilets—like those in guest bathrooms—so that the kids can’t sneak in and flush toys or large wads of paper when you’re not watching.
Also, make sure your kids know how dangerous it can be to flush toys and other things down a toilet. Explain how the item can get caught in the toilet and cause dirty water to flood the bathroom. If they understand why they shouldn’t flush something, they’re less likely to do it.
2. Keep Baskets in the Drains
In the summer when kids are playing outside, there’s bound to be more mud, leaf debris, and other small particles making their way into your showers and tubs. The hot summer sun also makes hair brittle, causing more of it to break off in the shower.
If you don’t want your shower to clog, make sure you have mesh baskets in each tub or sink drain. This is important year-round, but especially when the kids are home in the summer.
3. Hose Mud Off Outside
If your kids get dirty or muddy when 4-wheeling, hiking, or otherwise playing outside, try to hose most of the mud off outdoors before you allow them inside. While drains should be able to handle some mud, washing a lot of mud down the drain may cause backups and clogs if you already have the beginnings of a clog forming.
4. Keep the Washing Machine Drain Hose Covered
Chances are, you’ll be washing more clothing than normal now that the kids are home and dirtying clothing outside. The lint coming off of these clothes can quickly clog a drain. So, make sure you have a piece of wire mesh over the end of your washing machine drain hose.
If your hose does not have such a covering, you can purchase one for a few dollars at a home improvement store. They typically fasten around the hose with a zip tie. Change the cover every month or two as it becomes clogged with lint.
5. Keep Step Stools by Sinks
If your kids are not tall enough to reach the faucet easily, they may pull on the knobs or the faucet as they struggle to reach it. Over time, this can damage the faucet and lead to leaks. Put a step stool next to each faucet that your child uses. They can stand on the stool and reach the faucet easily without pulling.
6. Don’t Keep Wipes or Facial Tissue in the Bathroom
Having the kids home all day means they will use the toilet more and flush more waste down the toilet. It’s important that the waste is only human waste and toilet paper. While using wet wipes may be a convenient way to get their bottoms clean, wet wipes collect in public sewers and cause enormous blockages. They can also get caught in your pipes. Facial tissue and paper towels cause similar problems because they take too long to break down.
The best way to ensure kids do not flush wet wipes or facial tissue is to not keep these items in the bathroom at all. Teach your kids to wipe properly with toilet paper so they don’t have to resort to wipes.
7. Teach Proper Kitchen Cleanup Habits
If your kids make their own breakfasts or lunches, or if they help prepare dinner for the family, it’s important that they know how to clean up in the kitchen without harming the plumbing. Some rules to ensure they abide by include:
- Never put grease down the drain, even if you have a garbage disposal.
- Always turn the cold water on before using the garbage disposal, and keep it running while grinding up food waste.
- Don’t put stringy foods like celery and asparagus down a garbage disposal.
- If you do not have a disposal, keep a drain basket in the sink to trap food particles while washing dishes.
Consider cooking alongside your kids once or twice a week. This way, you can oversee the way that they clean up and step in if you notice them doing anything that might harm the plumbing.
By following the tips above, you can help prevent plumbing issues while your kids are home for the summer. If you do run into any plumbing problems, such as a clog or sewage backup, contact Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. to set up an appointment.