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plumb trouble how I battled a cranky toilet 
by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 3

By this point, itís just about time for all our friends to start showing up. Folks arrive to find me trying to get food together in the kitchen, avoiding use of the sink as much as possible, and the boy outside in the blistering Arizona sun, wrestling with an unbelievably long plumbing snake, the slight whiff of sewage beginning to seep forth from the drain. This latter task, naturally, turns into a group effort, as all the males decide that it is their manly imperative to get this plumbing problem of ours fixed. Not the least because Iíve informed them that everyone should feel free to use our backyard for any bathroom needs that might pop up during the course of the evening.

Eventually, itís getting dark, Iím hungry, and itís clear that all the snaking in the world isnít going to do anything, with us doing it, at least. I call everyone in for dinner, have them clean up; this, you understand, involves going outside again to use the hose, since we canít use any of the drains in the house. We eat, we laugh; we avoid drinking too much to prevent the need for the bathroom facilities that for this evening, it seems, are out of commission. Tomorrow morning, first thing, weíll call the plumber. Sometimes you just have to call in the pros to fight your plumbing battles for you.

How to Keep Your Plumbing Happy A little preventative maintenance will go a long way towards keeping the plumber away Ö

tubs | Cover the drain with a strainer to catch hair and soap bits, which tend to be drain-unfriendly. Yes, itís gross to have to pick up that swirl of hair that forms in the strainer every time you take a shower, but honestly, itís ten times nastier when you find your tub backed up one day, go in to investigate the problem, and find yourself pulling out enough accumulated hair to form a wig.

toilets | Go easy with the toilet paper, which is pretty much the only thing you should be putting in your toilet (barring the obvious bodily excretions, naturally). Never, ever, ever flush any feminine products. Ignore the fact that the box describes those tampons as flushable: trust me, they lie.

kitchen sinks | Drains should always be covered with a strainer to catch food remnants that can get trapped in the pipes. Avoid doing your vegetable peeling over the sink, since peels have a tendency to slip past the strainers and find their way down the drains. And even if you have a garbage disposal in your sink, itís not a great idea to ever toss fibrous foods down the drains. Still another common kitchen sink culprit is grease. Just because itís liquid doesnít mean itíll slide easily through the pipes Ė grease has a tendency to separate from water, solidify and slowly accumulate on pipes. The best way to deal with it is to pour grease into an old tin can or jar, to be discarded once it cools and hardens.

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