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There’s nothing worse than something going wrong with the plumbing in your home. The weather in Canada can experience major temperature fluctuations which can spell trouble for plumbing in certain instances. But, that aside, there are things you can do—and some things you shouldn’t do—for your home’s plumbing health.

Here are eight things to keep in mind to ensure your home’s plumbing system stays in tip-top shape so you won’t be needing to call your plumber anytime soon.

Don’t flush the flushables. Items that suggest they’re flushable, such as tampons and so-called flushable wipes, will ultimately wreak havoc on your plumbing. They won’t break down and might get lodged causing a blockage. So, just don’t flush them.

Grease is a sticky situation. Flushing cooking oil down the toilet or down the sink is a definite no-no! Grease can harden and might need to be professionally removed from a drain or toilet pipe.

Get acquainted with the main turn-off source. If you should ever have a problem like flooding, you don’t want to have to go hunting for how to shut the water off. Knowing where the turn-off is may save you big money if a water disaster should ever strike.

Your pipes don’t like your long, beautiful hair. If you or someone in your family is a Rapunzel twin, make sure you have a drain strainer or hair snare in place in the shower. And don’t overdo the shampoo because it can leave the pipes in a gummy mess.

Leave the strong drain cleaners alone. Corrosive chemicals to clear clogs aren’t doing your pipes any favours. By keeping your pipes clean, you won’t get nasty clogs. Pour half a cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar down the drain once a week and let it fizz for about 10 minutes. Follow that by pouring boiling water down the drain and your pipes will stay healthy.

A wonky toilet handle. This is an easy fix you can do yourself. The flap valve likely needs replacing. The part only costs a few dollars, while a plumber is likely to charge you $100 just for walking in the door.

Turn outside faucets off in the winter. Canadians know too well that not doing this can cause real problems. Turn faucets off and disconnect hoses. Let the water drain from the outside valve.

Drips and running toilets … oh my. Even the smallest of drips out of a tap can amount to about an eight-gallon loss of water a day. And a running toilet can mean 200 gallons of lost water a day. This is horrible for the environment, not to mention your water bill. It’s best to fix these things as soon as they become noticeable or you will need to call your plumber.

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