Over the years, you’ve likely heard a lot of home remedies or “hacks” for plumbing problems. Some might come in handy, but others may be plumbing myths that won’t resolve the problem and may even cause more significant issues in the future.
Here are 9 Common Plumbing Myths and the Truth Behind Them:
1. Flushable Wipes Are Flushable
False. Most wipes, including those labeled “flushable,” are made from a blend of materials including polyesters, plastics, and other synthetics. These materials create a fabric-like texture that does not dissolve when flushed. They can quickly clog your plumbing system since they aren’t designed to break down like toilet paper. Flushable wipes have become one of the leading causes of blocked municipal sewage systems. Remember, the only things that should be flushed are human waste and toilet paper.
2. It’s Okay to Ignore a Small Leak
False. Even one slow drip can have serious consequences. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually. A leaky faucet will increase your water bill and can lead to more significant problems. Even a minor leak can cause mold and mildew to develop under a sink. Constant moisture can rot away supporting structures and cabinets. Fixing a leaky faucet is usually a relatively easy and inexpensive repair.
3. Put a Brick in Your Toilet Tank to Save Water
False. This myth has been around for many years. The idea is that placing a brick in your toilet tank helps save money on water consumption. In truth, a brick may save a minimal amount of water but can lead to long-term issues that end up costing you more. Bricks deteriorate over time, potentially affecting the toilet’s flushing mechanism and your plumbing lines. It’s best to replace old inefficient toilets with a high-efficiency, water-saving model.
4. Running Hot Water Down Your Garbage Disposal Breaks Up Grease
False. Never put any grease or cooking oils down your drains, including the garbage disposal. Hot water may seem to help grease drain, but when the grease cools down, it coats the inside of your pipes. Grease and other fats then act as a magnet for hair, food particles, and anything else that goes down the drain, eventually creating tough clogs.
5. Use Ice Cubes to Sharpen Your Garbage Disposal Blades
False. Garbage disposals don’t have blades. They have impellers that spin around. They smash food scraps against the disposal walls to break them into particles. Ice cubes can help clean the impellers, but they don’t sharpen them.
6. Use Lemons to Clean Your Garbage Disposal
False. Putting lemons or lemon peels down your drain may temporarily make your sink smell better, but repeated use can hurt your disposal. Large pieces of lemon can put a strain on your disposal, clogging or even breaking it.
7. Liquid Drain Cleaners are Safe
False. Clever marketing has made people believe that putting chemical drain cleaners into their pipes is safe and effective. These harsh chemicals can help dissolve minor clogs, but they are also powerful enough to damage your pipes and the materials around a sink, bathtub, or toilet. If you have a minor clog, try removing it with a solution of vinegar, baking soda, and boiling water. For a more significant clog, it’s best to call a licensed plumber to have it removed the right way.
8. A Plunger Can Fix Any Clog
False. Plungers are great for minor clogs but can sometimes make a bad situation worse. They are not designed for stubborn clogs, mineral buildup, or significant blockages. Never use a plunger if you are at risk of overflowing your toilet. It’s also essential to use the correct type of plunger since there are different designs for sinks and toilets.
9. Your Water Heater May Explode If It’s Making Noises
False. It’s extremely rare for a water heater to explode. Any unusual new sounds coming from your water heater are usually signs that the unit needs some routine maintenance or a part replaced. Rumbling or gurgling sounds are often caused by excessive sediment buildup inside the tank. Failure to properly address the issue could lead to early failure of your water heater, but an actual explosion is rare.
Call the Trusted Plumbing Professionals in Los Gatos
If you’re experiencing plumbing issues, call Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter & Rooter at (408) 716-1686, or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Our experienced technicians have over 30 years of plumbing experience, and they are ready to help you with all of your plumbing problems, no matter how big or small.