Why DIY Drain Cleaning Can Be A Bad Idea

Why DIY Drain Cleaning Can Be A Bad Idea

  • Plumbing
clogged-drain drain cleaning MillTown Plumbing

Putting food scraps down your drain may seem like a simple and easy solution to cleaning dishes and silverware this holiday season. Even in liquid form, most sauces and scraps should be disposed of in the trash instead of the sink. Putting these foods down the drain can often cause a blockage. Your first inclination may be to go purchase some drain cleaner to clear that clog. By putting those chemicals down your drain, you may unknowingly be causing more harm than good. In this blog post, we go over why DIY drain cleaning can be a bad idea.

The Dangers Of DIY Drain Cleaning

Liquid drain cleaners are harmful to your body

The harsh chemicals in store-bought liquid drain cleaners can seriously damage your skin and eyes if it comes in contact with either. The chemicals can also saturate the air you breathe, negatively affecting your breathing. 

Liquid drain cleaners are harmful to your plumbing and sewage systems

While these chemicals are designed to destroy blockages, they don’t just stop there. PVC plumbing can be seriously damaged as a result of using these store-bought drain cleaners. Older plumbing is susceptible to damage as well if they have been compromised by corrosion from old age.

Liquid drain cleaners are harmful to the environment

Out of sight, out of mind is not the mentality you should have when using these DIY drain cleaning products. The chemicals found within them negatively affect the environments they end up in, whether that’s public sewage or a septic tank. These chemicals can seep into the soil and into groundwater causing further damage.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, you should start preparing yourself. By keeping this information in mind, you will prevent costly issues that can put a damper on your holiday cheer. Sauces from decadent holiday meals can and will harden after the fat content within them congeals to make a solid blockage in your pipes. Combine that with other scraps of food and you have got yourself a proper problem. Instead of store-bought drain cleaners, what are some alternative solutions?

Safer DIY Drain Cleaning Solutions

Chemically safer drain cleaners

Using a combination of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar can help clear slow-moving drains and stubborn clogs. This combination is significantly more friendly to the environment and much safer to handle.


A plunger can be an effective tool to clear clogged toilets as well as clogged drains. By placing a wet rag over the overflow opening, removing the stopper, and filling the sink with water, you can plunge the drain like you would a toilet.

Drain snakes

An at-home drain snake or drain auger is a great way to clear clogs that occur at the ‘U’ in your drain, closest to the drain entrance. These are typically safe to use for homeowners and have a minimal environmental impact.

Professional services

If you have a clog or drain problem that persists even after exhausting these safe DIY drain cleaning solutions, a professional plumber should be your first call. Call MillTown Plumbing to keep your drains clear, and be sure to save with this month’s, November 2022, $99 Main Drain Clearing special! Contact us today and check out our marvelous reviews!

By Milltown Plumbing

Doing Water Heaters The Right Way

Doing Water Heaters The Right Way

  • Plumbing
water heaters

A lot of people don’t think too much about their water heaters. Most people take them for granted. All they know is that the water is hot when they turn the knob the correct way. But a water heater is an expensive piece of hardware and should be upkept appropriately. And like anything, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about maintaining your system. Here are a couple of quick pointers to do water heaters the right way.

Be Proactive

Generally good advice for life, but it also works for water heaters. Keep an active eye on your system, check up on it once a week. It won’t take terribly long, and any glaring issues will be pretty obvious upon close inspection.  This sounds like pretty obvious advice but you really are the best early detection system for problems with your water heater.

Do The Reading 

Read up on your water heater. Find out the make and model, and just do a few minutes of cursory research on Google. Knowing how many gallons it holds, it’s expected lifespan, and the recommended service frequency are super simple tidbits of information that you can find online easily. Simple, but effective. Knowing this information puts you miles ahead of 99% of homeowners as far as water heaters are concerned.

Invest in Water Heater Accessories 

There are a number of accessories you can look into to improve the effectiveness of your water heater. From tank expansions, to stands, to timers, there’s plenty of supplementary products you can invest in to make a difference in your system’s performance. With the proper accessories, your water heater can service your home and keep you even more comfortable than before. 

Have Your Water Heater Repair Tech On-Speed Dial

When you do notice a significant problem with your system, getting a professional on it ASAP is critical. Untreated water heater problems can and will escalate and end up costing way more money than if you just dealt with it to begin with. Know your local water heater provider and give them a call right away when things start going sideways. 

When you do need to call in the pros, Milltown is the go-to choice for your water heater needs. With over 20 years experience in the industry, we know it all because we’ve seen it all. Call the experts at Milltown today and see why we’re Tewksbury’s favorite provider!

Call us today to schedule your service!

By Milltown Plumbing

Calculating Your Way to the Perfect Water Heater

Calculating Your Way to the Perfect Water Heater

  • Plumbing
perfect water heater

Even when temperatures are hitting the triple digits out, we can all agree that a nice warm shower after a hard day’s work is an irreplaceably comfortable feeling. But without the perfect water heater, your warm shower could suddenly become a freezing cold rain of water. The best way to make sur you always have hot water when you need it is to invest in a water heater that’s properly suited to your home’s needs.

Why the Right Water Heater Matters

  • Poor efficiency and higher utility bills: Don’t always choose the least expensive option. When you find a water heater with a low initial cost, that doesn’t mean you are going to save money. In the long run, that cheaper water heater could result in higher energy costs. Check the efficiency rating of the water heater that interests you, so you can save money down the line with lower utility bills.
  • Shorter lifespan: The efficiency isn’t the only issue when choosing a water heater. Some less expensive water heaters have a shorter lifespan, which can mean you need to buy a new one sooner. The costs you thought you saved will just be spent in needing to purchase a new water heater sooner than you expected. Carefully research the brands of water heaters you’re looking at, and their lifespan expectancy, to ensure you get the most for your money. While not a guarantee of longevity, that should prevent you from having to replace another water heater sooner than you expected.
  • Cold water: If you choose a water heater that isn’t big enough, you could end up running out of hot water for showers, the dishwasher, or the laundry. Of course, you don’t want to buy a water heater that’s much too big for your needs, because that will just drive up your utility bills. Getting the right size water heater is important. It balances comfort and convenience with a fair price and better bills.

The Benefits of Choosing the Right Water Heater

  • High efficiency and lower utility bills: When you calculate your home’s required temperature rise and how much hot water is needed at any time, you have a much better chance of purchasing the perfect water heater for your home. Rather than getting a unit that’s too big and consumes more energy, you end up with lower monthly utility bills and plenty of hot water every time it’s needed. You may also want to look at energy efficient water heaters, because they can help lower your bills even further.
  • Longer lifespan: Choosing a water heater that offers quality can mean several more years of service. That saves you money on the long run, and also save you time because you won’t be spending that time looking for a new water heater again. Some water heaters have a 3-year or 6-year warranty, and some have warranties that are longer than that.
  • Warm water for every day conveniences: Showers, dishwashing, laundry, and any other use you have for hot water will be easier when you have the right water heater. You won’t be worried about running the dishwasher after you take a shower, or thinking your shower has to wait because you just did laundry. It’s great to have hot water you can rely on.

Features to Look For in Your New Water Heater

  • You need to know how much hot water your household needs at any given time. To figure this out, calculate the gallons per minute (GPM) of hot water each fixture and appliance requires, and then add them all together for your water heaters total GPM. Bathroom faucet flow rates range from .5-1.5 GPM, kitchen faucet flow rates range from 3.0-7.0 GPM, shower flow rates range from 1.0-2.0 GPM, dishwasher flow rates range from 1.0-2.5 GPM, and clothes washer flow rates range from 1.5-3.0 GPM.
  • You also need to know your home’s required temperature rise. You can discover that by finding the difference between your ground water temperature and your desired hot water temperature. The EPA provides a map of average groundwater temperature for guidance, so you can look up your local area and get the number you need to start your calculations.
  • Choose the water heater unit that best meets your needs. The GPM and required temperature rise will help you in determining this, but there are other things to think about. For example, conventional tank water heaters, tankless water heaters, and hybrid water heaters all have benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to research what model will fit the needs of your family, while comfortably and safely fitting in its desired space. Ideally, the water heater space will be located on an exterior wall near a gas supply line, water supply line, and electrical power source for convenience.
  • Another thing you need to know to buy your new water heater is the gallon capacity your household requires. Typically, 1-2 people require a gallon capacity of 23-36, 2-4 people require 36-46, 3-5 people require 46-56, and 5+ require 56+ gallons. But your circumstances may be unique, so if you have a household situation that’s different from average you might need a bigger or smaller water heater.
  • Energy efficiency ratings (or EF – Energy Factor) are important for homeowners to take into consideration, too. The higher the EF, the more energy efficient the water heater is. Look for EF ratings as close to 1 as possible, since the EF rating measures how efficiently a unit converts energy into heat, and how much heat is lost during storage. The more efficient the water heater, the more money you can save on your utility bills.

Call Milltown today for slow drain repair!

Don’t take our word for it: listen to one of our many happy customers!

By Milltown Plumbing