Plumbing myths, like all myths, have been passed off and believed as facts by everyone for so long. No one really knows how these “facts” even came about anymore. Unfortunately, these myths could cost you thousands of hard-earned dollars.
Just like your HVAC needs repair, electrical needs upkeep, water heaters need flushing – your plumbing is something that you need to take care of, so it takes care of you. Below are the most common plumbing myths that if you fall for them could prove costly for you.
17 Plumbing Myths Busted
1. Bleach Makes An Excellent Toilet Cleaner
Many homeowners use bleach to clean their toilets in a bid to kill pathogens commonly found in toilets. Good intentions. But this behavior, if kept up for a long time, could eventually corrode and damage your toilet. Eventually, you’d have to call a plumbing service which is definitely not cheap.
Hence, you want to be careful when using bleach in your toilet.
2. Flushable Wipes Are Actually Flushable
They are not. Baby wipes, especially, are the number one cause of drainage blockage in the United States. If it does not look flushable, whatever the label says, it probably isn’t. Paper towels and feminine hygiene products of all kinds as well should never go into the toilet.
3. A Noisy Water Heater Is A Potential Plumbing Nightmare
Water heaters, especially old ones, rumble all the time but it does not necessarily mean they’re about to blow.
Rumbling is caused by the heat from the heater making its way through the many layers of sediment that have accumulated at the bottom of the tank over years of use. As air bubbles escape from these, some sounds would, naturally, be heard. But relax, it’s nothing serious.
You should only be worried if there’s something wrong with the wiring of the water heater. Then it might just be about to blow.
4. You Can Sharpen Garbage Disposal Blades With Ice Cubes
Ice cubes do not sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal because, first off, your garbage disposal does not have blades. It has impellers. These impellers are cleaned, not sharpened by ice cubes. You can also clean them by throwing eggshells into your garbage disposal.
5. Boiling Water Will Make Grease Go Down The Sink
Pouring grease down the sink, in the first place, is not a good idea. It could clog your drainage system like cholesterol can clog your arteries. This could eventually cause your drainage system to break down completely.
The plumbing myth of pouring boiling water is probably based on the idea that heat would cause grease to melt, making it flow more easily. However, cold water is a better idea. It causes the grease to solidify so it can float into the larger sewers without clogging the pipes.
Be that as it may, the rule should always be “no grease in the sinks.”
6. Leaky Faucets Are No Big Deal
Leaky faucets are literally money down the drain, no pun intended. According to the Environment Protection Agency, fixing a leaky faucet can save you up to 10% on water bills. Even more importantly, it helps in the conservation of our shared natural resources.
7. A Functioning Drain Means Everything Is Fine
Not all potentially catastrophic, money-gulping plumbing problems are immediately visible. With insufficient water, foods such as rice and pasta can bloat in and block pipes, preventing other waste from passing through. Therefore, that everything is going down the drain just fine does not mean your pipes are in the clear.
8. Most Plumbing Fails Do Not Require A Plumber
Turning your plumbing problems into DIY projects can backfire in the future. Sure, fixing a leaky faucet is not rocket science. However, anything beyond that, however trivial it is should be referred to a plumber. If not for the actual work, then for oversight at least.
9. You Can Only Clear Clogs With Aggressive Chemicals
Overly harsh chemicals are never good for your plumbing system. It is true that, short term, they do clear up clogs. However, the long term damage you’re causing to your pipes just isn’t worth it.
Replacing corroded pipes are quite expensive and these chemicals can cause you health problems if they seep into your water supply.
10. Water Pressure Should Fluctuate
Fluctuating water pressure is not normal and should not be treated as such. If your water pressure is fluctuating, something is definitely wrong and you should consult a professional.
11. Turning Your Faucet Handle Tightly Will Stop Leaking
It will not. If you turn your faucet handle too tight, you can damage the faucet and possibly break the pipes as well. Fix the leaky faucet so that you can close it normally, instead.
12. You Can Save Money By Placing A Brick Behind Your Toilet Bowl
There’s no science to prove this. Bricks will only break your flapper and then you’d have to flush twice. This wastes water and money.
Leave bricks on the sidewalk, don’t bring them into your toilet.
13. Water Heaters Do Not Explode
While some are overly worried their water heaters will explode, others are not worried enough. In the process of carrying out its function, water heaters build up pressure.
Usually, the pressure relief valve takes care of that so your heater does not explode. However, sometimes it can malfunction resulting in the possibility of an explosion. This is why yearly maintenance of your water heater is never to be ignored.
14. Old Pipes Don’t Need To Be Replaced As Long As They Work Fine
Not true. Most old pipes are known to contain lead, a toxic heavy metal that’s unsafe for humans. If your pipes are old, consider upgrading to newer ones. Though they may cost you more upfront, their efficiency means they more than pay for themselves in the end.
15. Unclogging Your Sink With A Plunger Is Okay
This is probably one of the most dangerous plumbing myths there is. Be careful about using a plunger in your sink especially if you have poured a chemical cleaner into it. There’s always the possibility of a splashback from the plunging which can cause skin damage, irreversible in extreme cases.
16. Cat Poop Is Safe To Flush
Cat poop is indeed flushable but is not safe to flush. There are parasites found in cat poop which are toxic to toilet users in the home, pregnant women especially.
17. Finally, One Of The Worst Plumbing Mistakes Ever: All Plumbers Are Equally Qualified
Plumbers do not all have the same level or quality of training and expertise. Hence, when it comes to your drainage or plumbing system, not just any ole plumber would do.