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Lifting the lid on plumbers' secrets

Lifting the lid on plumbers' secrets
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Plumbers give us the scoop on clogged pipes, do-it-yourself plumbing repair, and more!

If you need a recommendation, ask a plumbing-supply or fixture store

If you need a recommendation, ask a plumbing-supply or fixture store
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They don’t tolerate bad plumbers, so you know they’ll send you to the best of the best.

Don’t trust the “flushable” label

Don’t trust the “flushable” label
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Don’t flush floss, tampons, or even so-called “flushable” wipes. They don’t break down like toilet paper does and can come back to haunt you later. “Toilets are more water-efficient now than they were 20 years ago, so there sometimes isn’t enough volume in the flush to force debris down,” says Marcin Wroblewski, president of ExpressRooter Plumbing. “An object will get lodged in the trap and cause blockage when waste builds up days later.”

A burst washing machine hose is a top homeowner-insurance claim

A burst washing machine hose is a top homeowner-insurance claim
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I’d replace those flimsy rubber hoses with stainless steel ones. That way, you only need to worry about these other laundry mistakes that could ruin your next load of wash.

Here are 17 other household items you need to throw out as soon as possible.

Don’t flush cooking grease

Don’t flush cooking grease
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“Don’t pour fat down the drain. Wipe your pan with paper towels and compost them,” Wroblewski advises. Grease can become rock-hard and may require professional removal.

Follow this guide for household cleaning made quick, easy and complete. 

No bricks in the toilet tank

No bricks in the toilet tank
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Some allege that putting a brick in the toilet tank can save water, but doing that can keep your toilet from flushing correctly. Liquid drain cleaners are also bad news – they eat away at the pipes. Try a plunger or, better yet, a $30 toilet auger.

While bricks might not be your secret weapon in a toilet tank, check out these 11 extraordinary uses for ordinary household items. 

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Have a plumber over before you buy

Have a plumber over before you buy
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Buying a home? Have a plumber scope your underground drain system with a camera to check for roots, collapses and other problems that typically aren’t visible to home inspectors. “Spending $300 on an investigation could save you tens of thousands later in insurance claims for flood clean-up, excavation and pipe replacements,” Wroblewski says.

Not getting a plumber around pre-sale could lead to serious regret later down the track. Here are some of the other biggest regrets of first-time home buyers. 

Know where the main turnoff source is

Know where the main turnoff source is
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I can’t tell you how many calls I get from people screaming and crying that their house is flooding and they don’t know what to do. The location of the main turnoff source is something every homeowner should know.

Watch out for long or shedding hair

Watch out for long or shedding hair
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If you’ve got a Rapunzel at home (or even a rapidly balding man), buy a drain strainer or a hair snare or tell them to use a paper towel to clear the drain. Soap can gum up the pipes, too, so use as little of that as you can.

Ditch the harsh drain cleaners

Ditch the harsh drain cleaners
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Using corrosive chemicals to dissolve a clog is like throwing a grenade down a rabbit hole. Instead, Wroblewski recommends flushing your drains weekly with a half cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Let it fizz in the drain for ten minutes, then pour in four cups of boiling water.

Here are 17 of the most brilliant ways to fix things with baking soda. 

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team