When it comes to your home and more importantly, its plumbing system, there seems to be no shortage of myths. While some of these have been thought of and spread by unexpecting homeowners, some are part of elaborate marketing schemes by companies trying to sell their products. Regardless, we see much too often a home or businesses fall prey to these myths, resulting in the need for expensive repairs. Here are some of the top myths we see when it comes to plumbing:
- If you hear a water heater rumbling, it will explode.
One long-standing myth is that when your water heater is making that strange rumbling noise it is on the precipice of a catastrophic explosion. While there could potentially be a more serious issue, more times than not it is nothing more than your water heater’s old age and having to work through years of sentiment buildup to fully operate.
- Flushable wipes are flushable.
Contrary to their namesake and branding, flushable wipes are not to be flushed! Most of these wipes (baby wipes included) are made of dense materials that can get trapped in your pipes and lead to clogs. Even worse, clogs produced by these wipes are generally in the very pipes you certainly do not want clogged.
- Lemon peels are good for your garbage disposal.
Some homeowners enjoy the refreshing scent of lemon and place their peels into their disposal as a scent enhancer. However, not just can the lemon peels itself can cause clogs, but the corrosiveness of the lemon can damage the disposal. We suggest using standard dish soap or other garbage disposal-safe cleaners if you feel the need to address a lingering smell from your disposal.
- Speaking of garbage disposal, ice cubes sharpen them.
Contrary to popular belief, ice cubes will not sharpen the blades of your home’s garbage disposal. In fact, garbage disposals do not even have blades, rather they have a set of teeth responsible for grinding up food particles. While ice cubes can be used to help clean the interior of the unit, they will have no impact on increasing any functionality of the grinding process itself.
- Placing a brick in your toilet can save water.
This one is just flat-out false. While one can purchase toilets designed to save water, or even purchase modern versions that allow you to use a water-saving flush, a brick will not help you save water.
- Mixing hot water with grease makes it suitable to be tossed down the drain.
Grease should never go down your sink, period. While some believe that the hot water helps to break down the grease, allowing it to flow through your home’s pipes, in reality, the grease and hot water will rapidly cool and stick to the interior of your pipes, creating a problematic clog.
- Water drains in a different direction in Australia.
While many like to adhere to this harmless myth, it simply is not true. The flow of a toilet is a result of the direction its jets are designed to swirl. The toilet manufacturer picks the direction, not the earth.
- A plunger is the fix to everything.
While a plunger is a handy tool to release a jammed toilet and get yourself out of a sticky situation, it is not suitable for addressing a long-term problem. If you find yourself having to use a plunger regularly, it likely means there is a more significant jam somewhere down the line, one that should be addressed by a trained professional.
- Drain cleaners are safe.
While most drain cleaners are advertised as safe, some use strong chemicals that can cause your pipes to oxidize and degrade over time. It is always advised to use non-chemical methods to relieve drain clogs in place of these chemical cleaners. In addition to their degrading compounds, these cleaners have a deleterious impact on the environment and should be avoided at all costs.
- Bleach tablets will help clean your toilet.
Placing bleach tablets inside your toilet is never suggested and has the potential to cause long-term damage to your toilet’s inner mechanisms. If you elect to use bleach to clean your toilet, use special bleaches designed specifically for bathroom use and follow the directions carefully.