8 Common Myths and Misconceptions About Plumbing

February 12, 2024

As much as we might think we know our toilets, sinks, and showers around the house, there are many myths and misconceptions about plumbing. At best, these could be wasting your water, but at their worst, they could end up doing serious harm to your plumbing systems that could even set you up for more extensive damage to your home. So, let’s set the record straight on a few of the biggest plumbing myths we often hear.

8 Common Plumbing Myths

1. Wipes that say they’re flushable are just that—flushable.

If only this were the case. The reality is that just because something says “flushable” on the label, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to flush—even if it goes down the toilet with no problem. The problem occurs later on down your septic system when these flushable wipes do not disintegrate the way toilet paper does. This causes bad clogs in your pipes, which could ultimately mean gross backups for you. If these wipes make it farther through the system, they could wind up at your municipal septic center where they can create jams or destroy equipment. As a general rule, the only things that you should flush down your toilet are toilet paper and waste. Everything else should go in the trash can.

2. A slow drip on your faucet isn’t enough to really impact your water bill. 

That little plip, plip, plip coming out of your kitchen sink or bathroom sink probably isn’t fun to listen to, but it’s not really the end of the world, or so you might think. After all, it’s just a drop every now and then, not a significant amount of water. The thing is that those drips can add up faster than you might expect, sometimes amounting to nearly a gallon a day, which is not only wasteful but also costly on your water bill. The leak will also worsen over time if it’s not addressed, so it’s best to take care of these leaks as soon as you notice them.

3. If you have a grease clog, you can use boiling water to loosen it.

Let’s start by addressing what happens when you put grease down your drain, a mistake that far too many people inadvertently make without even thinking about it. Grease is liquid when it’s heated, but it hardens once it cools. If you pour that hot liquid grease down your kitchen sink, it cools down and hardens up inside your drain, ultimately creating a really nasty clog. You might be tempted to think that heating the grease up again is the easy solution, so you pour boiling water down the drain. Unfortunately, this boiling water could have the opposite effect of what you want to achieve. Instead of melting the grease, it will only make it harder and make it more difficult to remove.

4. Commercial drain cleaners are safe to use.

Clever marketing has tricked far too many consumers into thinking that commercial drain cleaners are the solution to slow-draining, clogged-up pipes. If you put those chemicals down your drain, they’ll clean away all the gunk that’s making your pipes drain slowly, right? Unfortunately, these commercial drain cleaners aren’t as effective as they lead you to believe. Their chemical nature makes them corrosive, so there’s the risk that they will damage and wear away at your pipes. A plumber will be able to remove a clog from your pipes without the use of harsh chemicals.

5. You can use lemon rinds or peels to deodorize your garbage disposal.

Most people notice a gross smell coming from their garbage disposal at one point or another. With all the food that goes down there, it makes sense. But putting lemon rinds into your garbage disposal and chopping them up isn’t the solution. It smells nice temporarily, but unfortunately, the rinds are too thick for the disposal’s blades, ultimately dulling them. Additionally, the citric acid from the lemon is more likely to corrode than it is to clean. Instead, opt for a cleaner specially formulated for garbage disposals, and always disconnect the electricity if you plan to wipe down the blades.

6. Put a brick in your toilet tank to help conserve water.

Everyone is always trying to save water, so what if you could take up some room in your toilet tank by putting a brick in there? That’s a little less water going into your toilet tank every time it fills. The major problem with this is that most toilets need a certain amount of water to flush sufficiently. With less water in your toilet tank, you’re not getting as much power behind the flush mechanism. Additionally, that brick might disintegrate over time, and brick particles could get into your toilet system, causing damage.

7. Most plumbing problems can be handled yourself.

There are some plumbing problems you can safely DIY if you know what you’re doing, as we recently talked about in a blog post. But there are many plumbing problems that you should leave to a professional. First, this will ensure the problem actually gets resolved; second, this will avoid causing any bigger problems or damage. If you’re in doubt, consult a reliable plumber who can advise you on the best course of action. And on that note, there’s one last myth to consider…

8. All plumbers are the same. 

Unfortunately, not all plumbers offer the same quality of service. Always check to make sure you’re working with a plumber who has proper training, certification, and accreditation, and who can provide good references and testimonials from past clients.

At Donovan Waterworks, we pride ourselves on being reliable plumbers with more than 23 years of experience who can always offer our clients the proper insight and guidance they need. Reach out to us by calling 410-240-5299.

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