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The Dangers of Flushable Wipes

Flushable wipes have become a bathroom staple for many modern families. They're comfortable and sturdy, built to withstand more wear and tear than traditional toilet paper. These damp wipes are also often infused with soothing ingredients like aloe that make the skin feel nourished.

Flushable wipes are known for their limitless comfort benefits, but many people aren't yet aware of their potential dangers. Frequently using flushable wipes could cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home's plumbing. It's not too late to find safer ways to dispose of your wipes. Here's why you should avoid putting flushable wipes in your toilet.

Break Down Slowly

Flushable wipes are marketed as "septic-safe" because they will likely eventually break down. However, several factors can affect how slowly they fall apart and the damage they cause as they accumulate. Both toilet paper and flushable wipes are often made from wood pulp, which disintegrates quickly when left in water. However, flushable wipes are strengthened with synthetic polymers to give them additional strength and sturdiness.

While toilet paper will begin breaking down in a matter of hours, flushable wipes can take days, if not longer. This increases your chances of dealing with clogs and other septic issues that only get worse. Most residential toilets are only designed to handle toilet paper and human waste.

Cause Major Clogs

Flushing a few wipes every now and then likely won't cause huge problems to your plumbing. However, the more wipes you use, the more problems you'll face. Flushable wipes accumulate over time, making it harder for toilet paper, water, and waste to move through the pipes. The use of flushable wipes has actually increased how often homes and businesses deal with fatbergs.

Fatbergs are solid masses of waste created from grease, oil, and wet wipes. These masses develop in your pipes and grow in weight and size over time. Removing fatbergs from your pipes can cost a lot and may impact all of the plumbing in your home. Minimize your risk of fatbergs by always being aware of what you're flushing down your sinks and toilets.

Damage Septic System

Your septic system handles all of the wastewater from your home. Septic tanks are airtight and keep the waste and scum from your home from leaking into the environment. If you've ever had septic problems before, you know how unpleasant it can be to deal with backed-up wastewater. In many cases, contaminated water can make its way back into your home and into your sinks and tubs. More extensive damage can lead to wastewater leaking into your yard and crossing over into others' properties.

Flushable wipes do massive damage to septic systems. They accumulate in your septic lines and stop waste from exiting the home. They can also cause issues further down the line, backing up neighboring houses or even your local sewage treatment plant. A damaged septic system can put your family's health and comfort at risk. You'll likely also lose a lot of belongings when your wastewater overflows.

Hazardous to Older Homes

Older homes are at the highest risk of serious damage due to flushable wipes. The plumbing in these homes is often fragile, outdated, and severely compromised. It's more prone to cracks, clogs, and other expensive damages. Flushable wipes will easily catch on to other debris stuck in the plumbing, leading to burst pipes or fatbergs. An older home's plumbing can be so brittle that any issue can lead to system-wide damage.

You have to be extra careful if you live in an older home that's been divided into separate units. All of the plumbing likely leads to one main exit line, which can become compromised if anyone in the building is flushing wipes. Do your part for your neighbors and your property by never disposing of flushable wipes in your toilet.

Not Environmentally-Friendly

Flushable wipes are treated with polymers that slowly leak out into your environment. As these wipes interact with water, they're more likely to let out microplastics that affect local plants and animals. Your flushable wipes may be negatively interacting with life forms in the sewers and lakes around your home. Keeping these wipes out of your plumbing will significantly lower your impact on the environment around you.

Massive Costs

Flushable wipes are a homeowner's worst nightmare. You're already responsible for covering the cost of regular plumbing maintenance and repairs over the years. Flushable wipes can skyrocket your bills by hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Common clogs are one of the cheapest issues but still require plumbers to repeatedly snake your plumbing lines to remove every wipe stuck inside.

If you've been using flushable wipes for years, your issues are likely more invasive and costly. Septic repairs and replacements can cost thousands. Fatbergs can also be very time-consuming and expensive to remove. Practicing responsible plumbing habits will limit your maintenance and repair needs in the future.

Disposal Alternatives

Everyone deserves to have a comfortable bathroom experience. Flushable wipes are popular because they make you feel cleaner and more refreshed. There are plenty of ways to safely dispose of your favorite flushable wipes without impacting your plumbing. Instead of flushing them, throw them away in a sealed trash can. Bathroom cans are often foot-operated, letting you drop your used wipes in without having to worry about the sight or smell. You can also find compostable wipe options that are safer for the environment.

If you want to stop using wipes altogether, consider installing a bidet. These systems can be easily added to any toilet in your home. They connect right to your water line and don't require any power source. Bidets only require water to keep you clean, meaning they have no negative impact on your pipes or plumbing.

Protect your home from future plumbing emergencies by finding safe ways to dispose of your flushable wipes.

Expert and Reliable Plumbing Services

TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is your best choice for indoor comfort services in Plainfield, IL and the surrounding areas. We're a family-owned company with more than three decades of experience helping people just like you. Our licensed and experienced staff uses the best tools and materials to ensure every job is done right the first time. We're also straightforward about our prices and don't hide any surprise fees or costs. Our professional team guarantees seamless service that addresses all of your concerns and restores your home's comfort.

Rely on our technicians to maintain, repair, and install your heating or cooling systems. We also carry a variety of indoor air quality solutions. Our plumbers are ready to clean your drains, repair your clogged toilets and check your sewer lines. We can even take care of bigger projects like installing a new water heater, repairing your water main line, and maintaining your gas piping. We know how important your plumbing is to your daily comfort. That's why we offer 24/7 emergency service when you need it most. Call TL Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today to schedule your first appointment with one of our exceptional staff members.

3 Tips for Avoiding a Clogged Drain

plumber plunging drain

Preventing a clogged drain may seem like a “pipe dream,” but you can do a few things to avoid the hassle of a clogged drain.

Whether it’s the shower, kitchen, or toilet here are three things you can do to keep clogs from happening.

1.    Don’t Flush It/Drain It

Many products on the market claim to be flushable, but this is not the case. There are also things you may think are okay to rinse down the drain, but they may not break down in water and will end up causing a back-up or clog in your system.

A few things to avoid flushing or rinsing down the drain include:

  • Baby Wipes
  • Paper Towels
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Facial Tissues
  • Paint
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Produce Stickers

If it isn’t toilet paper or something that will break down in water just skip flushing it and don’t rinse it down the drain.

2.    Implement Mesh Traps

Catching items before they can go down the drain is a great way to avoid clogging the system. Mesh traps, especially in the shower, will help catch hair clogs. It may be unpleasant cleaning out these traps but is much less unpleasant than a clogged drain and unexpected plumbing bill.

3.    Maintain the System

Most people don’t think of having their plumbing system checked. However, there are a lot of reasons to have a professional conduct a regular drain cleaning and system check. Drain cleaning will ensure your home’s pipes are in working condition. Additionally, drain cleaning will provide:

  • Longer drain lifespan.
  • Prevention of odors.
  • Ensuring quick drainage.
  • Elimination of unnecessary repairs and expenses.

Drain cleaning and inspection will also verify there are no other issues that can cause problems, like root intrusion or pipe erosion. Clogs can’t be predicted, but they can be caught before they become a major problem.

Call TR Miller When You Need a Plumber

We'll do all we can to get to you fast to carry out plumbing repairs to the highest standard. No matter what you need, or where you are in the area, we'll give you our best attention at all times. In addition to plumbing repairs and installation, we can also assist with plumbing maintenance. Call us if this is something we can assist with.

7 Tips for Saving Money Cooling Your Home

 

The heat and humidity have arrived early this year. Based on the forecast and the humidity, it may be necessary to fire up the air conditioner.

Home cooling costs can be sizeable during the summer months in Plainfield, using the AC earlier than usual adds to the energy cost. However, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to keep your home cool.

Make sure your air conditioner is ready for its long job ahead and that it won’t bust your budget this year. Follow these seven tips to keep cool and keep your money in your pocket this summer.

1.       Clear the Condenser

After a long winter and spring of rain, falling leaves, snow, heavy winds; garbage, debris and weeds can collect around the outside unit, the condenser (outdoor AC unit). When the condenser is crowded with leaves and junk it can cause the unit to overheat and operate less efficiently. Make sure there is at least two feet of horizontal breathing room around the unit. Make sure nothing is on top of the unit and that the top has a 6-foot horizontal breathing space.

2.       Change the Filter Frequently

Clogged filters are a major contributor to increased cooling costs. A dirty filter can cause the AC system to work twice as hard to keep the air flowing. Dirty filters can also cause the system to overheat or blow warm air instead of cold air. We recommend changing your filter every 30 to 90 days.

3.       Switch Ceiling Fans to Counter-Clockwise

Ceiling fans don’t just blow a cool breeze, ceiling fans can help save money. During the summer, the fan should turn counterclockwise. This motion will help move the hot air up and out of the main space while producing a chilling effect that can help make your room feel around 8 degrees cooler.

4.       Seal Your Home Properly

Air leaks around windows and doors can bring in moisture during the humid summer days. The additional moisture and humidity within your home can tax your HVAC system and waste energy. Ensure these areas are properly sealed and you will save on your energy bills as well as save your HVAC system for overworking itself.

5.       Close the Curtains

Curtains, and even blinds, hung over the windows can help keep heat out during the summer months. Curtains and blinds don’t just keep hot air from entering through improperly sealed windows but can keep out the hot sun and keep it from heating up the room.

6.       Schedule Annual Service

According to the US Department of Energy, “neglecting necessary maintenance ensures a steady decline in air conditioning performance while energy use steadily increases.”  Without maintaining your HVAC system ensures the system will use more energy while performing worse. It will end up costing you more money to operate a less effective system.

7.       Invest in a New Energy Efficient Unit

If your HVAC system is older than 10-15 years, it requires more and more repairs every season, or your utility bills have increased, it may be time to consider installing a new energy efficient system.  A new energy efficient air conditioner will keep your home cool and comfortable even on the hottest days - and use less energy doing it.

Superior Service for Your Home

TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing offers professional air conditioning repair service at a competitive rate. We put your safety and comfort before anything else. Trust in our award-winning customer service.

We’re also ready to help in case of emergencies! If you need AC repair services at any time, just pick up the phone and give us a call.

 

Keep Your Basement Dry this Spring

 

April showers bring May flowers, but all this rain can also bring on some big problems for your basement if your sump pump isn’t operating properly.

Sump Pump Basics

The sump pump sits in a basin, or sump pit, in your basement (or crawl space) this is the lowest point of the space where water collects. Drains or natural water migration moves the water build-up into the sump pit, the sump pump then triggers and pumps the water up, out, and away from your house.

Most sump pumps last years, a submersible sump pump, on average, will last homeowners around 5 to 10 years.

Sump Pump Prep

To make sure your sump pump is in working order there are a few things you can do.

Test It

Every so often, grab a bucket and fill it with water. Dump the water into the sump pump pit until the sump pump activates and make sure it is pumping the water out correctly. An easy way to test the function of the sump pump.

It’s also a good idea to go outside and take a look at where the water pumps out into the yard. Make sure there is nothing blocking the pipe or hose and that the water flows freely away from your home.

Schedule Annual Maintenance

Just like your AC or furnace, annual maintenance check is recommended for the sump pump. You need this machinery to operate when the rain is pouring down and the best way to make sure all parts are in working order to keep our basement dry is to have a professional come out and inspect the unit. Don’t wait for the basement to flood before calling someone!

Consider a Back-Up Sump Pump

Instead of leaving your basement vulnerable, a battery backup sump pump is recommended to avoid any damage to your home. With a battery backup sump pump if there are any issues with the main sump pump the backup will start working before there is any damage to your home.

Call a Professional

If you aren’t sure about the reliability of your sump pump and you don’t want a flooded basement, the team at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can check out your current pump and if necessary, install a reliable sump pump from an industry leader designed to last.

The professional plumbers at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing have installed and repaired countless sump pumps and will give you honest advice. To schedule a sump pump repair, installation, or replacement in Downers Grove, IL, call our team at TR Miller Heating, Cooling & Plumbing at 815-472-7110.

 

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