When it comes to home maintenance, we tend to approach it in one of two ways.

1. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

2. Out of sight, out of mind.

That’s also why when something happens, it creates a mini disaster because we are unprepared to deal with the consequences.

While some home maintenance items are small in nature, and can take weeks, even months to become a bigger, more annoying problem, that’s rarely the case with plumbing. When a problem exists with plumbing, you know it right away, and its an instant mess that you have to deal with at once.

How “Plumbing Smart” Are You?

Which means the more you know about plumbing up front, the more you can avoid those annoying, sometimes disastrous problems that can grow quickly when you least expect it.

Here are a few things you may have heard about plumbing in the past, things you may even be doing right now, and tips and advice on how to improve your plumbing knowledge so you can avoid problems down the road.

Use ice cubes in your garbage disposal. Online, you can find all kinds of advice on what to send down to clean and keep your garbage disposal in top condition. While some advice isn’t the best, adding ice cubes is. Chopping up ice gives your blades a workout that keeps them sharp.

Putting things in your toilet tank is not a way to reduce the amount of water used. There used to be a commonly promoted idea that placing a brick in a toilet tank was a great way to save on water. The problem is this same brick can disintegrate over time, causing rubble, sand and sediment to work its way into your tank’s flushing mechanism, causing it to leak and break faster. The best way to save on water is to purchase and install a water saving toilet. There are many options on the market today, including a water saving dual flush toilet that is perfect for the busiest room in your home.

A properly working septic tank does not require regular additives in order to improve performance. Marketing works wonders, and many companies will have you believing you need to add a variety of things on a regular basis, from odor control to solid reducing additives. False. A septic tank is designed to take care of all of those functions if working in a proper manner.

All plumbing joints should not be tightened as hard as possible. When making DIY repairs, its easy to use the wrench and tighten things as hard as you can. Yet that can actually put more stress on the threads and cause your fixtures and joints to wear out quicker than normal. A firm connection is simply a half turn of the wrench more than hand tight is just right.

The best way to get instant hot water is not by installing a tankless hot water heater. Tankless water heaters don’t store hot water; instead they heat it and supply it when demanded. However, if your tankless water heater is in one section of your home, and your shower is in the opposite corner, you will still have wait time while the hot water is delivered. If you want instant hot water the moment you turn on the faucet, you’ll need a recirculating hot water system instead.