Plumbing is rarely thought of until it breaks. However, it pays to be thoughtful about the way we use and treat our plumbing in order to avoid costly problems down the road. Learn how to care for your pipes - no matter what their age or material. 

With healthy pipes, you can enjoy:

• Toilets flush with ease

• Sinks don't back up

• Repair costs are kept to a minimum

• Pollutants are kept from entering waterways

Besides the obvious things to NOT put down a drain like paint and solvents and motor oil there are several others that people don't think about, but will harm drains and damage plumbing.

Flour - Flour coats the sides of baking pans so cakes won't stick. However, tossing flour down the kitchen sink drain will in time coat the sides of your pipes. Flour coagulates and hardens inside of drainage pipes, leading to clogs. Better to toss remains in the trash.

Medicine - It is important to remember many drugs are hazardous not only to the groundwater but also to any animals or people who use the water distributions. The better thing to do is take unused medicine to a pharmacy for disposal or see where your town has a drop off location, oftentimes a police station.

Cooking oil and grease – Pouring out the grease from a pan down your sink drain will damage the pipes over time and with enough grease, not much time is needed. Like flour, grease will coat the pipes and become thicker as time goes on. Better to wait until the grease has cooled and pour it into a sturdy container and dispose of it in the trash.

Fruit pits, stickers – all of these will harm pipes. The stickers that come off fruit can easily get hung up in the twists and turns of your plumbing. Fruit pits and bones simply don't dissolve and can cause issues which will turn into clogs. Better is to make sure you have a drain strainer in the kitchen sink, so things like this get trapped and then be safely thrown out.

Hair in shower drains - Hair combines with soap scum build up and creates a difficult clump. The easiest way to make sure it doesn't become an issue is to make sure you have a drain cover for the shower/bath. Being aware of what can and cannot go down your pipes will allow you and your family to enjoy years of hassle free plumbing.