Plumbing is essential in keeping your home safe, convenient and healthy. From the outside, your plumbing system might seem simple but take a deeper look, and you’ll find a complex network of pipes and fixtures that can develop problems at times.
Plumbing systems are often mysterious to homeowners, so it’s no wonder certain myths have cropped up about their inner workings. Sometimes, acting on these myths can worsen existing plumbing problems or introduce new ones. This can damage fittings, cause water damage or require expensive professional repairs. If you’ve ever had trouble determining what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to your plumbing system, here are some of the biggest plumbing myths going around.
1. Flushable Wipes
Toilets are not garbage chutes. Flushable baby wipes and makeup wipes will wreak havoc on your toilet functions. Toilet paper can break down, so it goes down the drain when you flush your toilet and doesn’t easily clog up the sewer system. However, flushable wipes don’t disintegrate like toilet paper, so they often clog up the system. It might flush down your toilet, but it can create many issues deep in your system. No matter how strong your toilet might be, it can’t handle much more than a modest amount of tissue and the human waste that often accompanies it.
2. Drain Cleaners Are Safe
It’s easy to assume that drain-cleaning products are safe just because you can buy them in stores, but they can be very dangerous. The harsh ingredients used in these drain openers are damaging and can cause your pipes to deteriorate. Moreover, if you breathe them in, splash them on your skin or get them in your eyes, they can cause serious injuries.
Because they don’t work, it might lead you to try other methods, such as additional drain-cleaning products, which can cause chemical reactions if combined.
3. Plumbing Fixtures Don’t Need Maintenance
A shifting home foundation can wreak havoc on your interior and exterior plumbing, and these shifts often go unnoticed until it’s too late. Running maintenance inspections regularly will prevent a lot of unnecessary expenses. The keys to effective maintenance include visual inspection of the fixtures and visible pipes. Occasional activation of faucets or fittings that you rarely use will save you the stress of getting plumbing services later. Additionally, clean out any filters in your faucets to help prevent buildup.
4. If You Don’t See a Leak, There Is No Leak
This is one of the most costly plumbing misconceptions. Many leaks are not visible until they become a real problem requiring overly expensive solutions.
Faulty plumbing, old pipes, and tree roots are the most common causes of hidden leaks. The best way to detect a leak before it hits your pocketbook is to monitor your water meter before and after a period of not using any water. If the meter goes up even slightly, there is an issue. Additionally, you can work with a plumber that offers a leak detection service using thermal imaging. It’s also a great practice to occasionally check for signs of interior water damage like curling vinyl, peeling paint, or mouldy spots on wood.
5. Animals Can’t Crawl Up Pipes
Your pipes are empty most of the time, and nothing prevents roaches or rodents from climbing into them. That’s unless you leave your faucets, showers and toilets running all of the time, which is not the case. While this rarely happens, in some cities with larger rat populations, the combination of food sent down the kitchen sink along with the large hole used for the toilet has led to rats using toilets to enter homes.
6. Lemons Keep The Disposal Clean
You’ve probably heard someone say lemon peels freshen your garbage disposal. Putting lemon peels down your drain will make your sink smell better, but they can also clog the garbage disposal. Additionally, the citric acid in the lemons also corrodes the metal blades and can make your disposal useless in just a few months. Instead, use ice cubes and a cleaner designed for garbage disposals, and always disconnect the power if you’re wiping the blades or other garbage disposal components.
7. Pipes Only Freeze When Heat is Off
Most people think the only way pipes freeze is if there’s no power or the furnace stops working. However, some pipes can freeze even if your heat is working fine.
Pipes that run through exterior walls without enough insulation or in areas like basements and attics can freeze, even if your furnace is still running. Freezing can often lead to a burst pipe, which can cause significant water damage. Monitor them carefully in freezing weather. Leaving cabinet doors under sinks open and insulating pipes that go through uninsulated areas can minimize the risk of freezing.
8. Plungers Can Fix Any Clog
Plungers are a great tool to have around the house, but they are more effective at clearing drains by pushing the clogs through them rather than pulling items back up. If you have lost something valuable to the sinkhole, try using a plumbing snake or wire hanger. Also, don’t use a plunger if you are at risk of overflowing your toilet. It’s best to call in a professional who can efficiently fix the clog while sparing your bathroom floors.
Lastly, if you’ve already poured drain cleaning liquid into the sink, you must avoid using a plunger as it could cause the cleaner to come back and cause burns on your skin if it gets on you.
9. Any Plumber Can Do The Job
Some people believe that all plumbers are the same and can handle every plumbing issue. Most states require plumbers to be licensed, but they don’t all have the same credentials or training. Not all plumbers are equally reliable or knowledgeable on plumbing issues. Always check reviews and ratings to look for red flags. If you have a problem, it’s better to find a plumber with extensive experience in that issue.
At FS Drainage, we have the qualified professionals, the tools, and the know-how to help you with any problem, big or small. If you want an expert assessment of the state of your plumbing, or you have an existing plumbing problem, you can contact us and get your professional plumbing services.