Over time, small mistakes can add up to major plumbing problems that come with expensive bills. Protect your home and save money by learning 4 common mistakes that can wreck your plumbing.

1. Leaving the water on while making plumbing repairs

You might know to turn off the water before undertaking a plumbing repair, but do you know why this is recommended? If you don’t turn off the water, it will come gushing out of the pipe you’re trying to repair or replace, creating a huge mess!

If you don’t want water damage in your home or additional damage to the pipes, turn off the localized or main shutoff valve.

2. Flushing trash down the toilet

The toilet should only be used for waste and toilet paper. Flushing tampons or other trash can clog pipes and necessitate expensive repairs. Keep a small waste basket in the bathroom, so guests won’t be tempted to flush garbage.

3. Dumping grease down the sink drain

It seems easier to flush grease than put it in the garbage; however, flushing grease creates major plumbing problems. Grease and fat will clog your drains. To clear the drains and get things running smoothly again, you’ll need to call a plumber.

4. Ignoring signs that you need professional help

While you may be able to clear a light clog with a drain cleaner, be realistic about your ability to make plumbing repairs. Plumbing work can be difficult to get right, and things that look simple are far from it. If you do the work incorrectly, you risk developing small leaks that cause water damage and go undetected.

It’s always best to call a professional plumber when in doubt about the problem or your ability to provide an effective solution.