We have put together 12 Plumbing Myths and Truths that we have either come across or have been asked over the years. As with all things that you are not sure of, please reach out to a professional to answer your questions.
- Noisy water heater means it’s going to explode
A water heater that is making bumpy or gurgling noises isn’t going to explode. Water heater tanks can build pressure and explode, and this can be prevented with regular inspection of the pressure release valve. If it isn’t working properly, shut off the system and call a professional. But if you hear it making rumbling noises, it is more likely that sediment has built up in the tank and needs to be cleaned. This can be done yourself but when in doubt, call a professional, no need to panic!
- Flushable baby wipes are… flushable
Just because a hygiene product says that it is flushable on the packaging, doesn’t actually mean that it is. In fact, unless it is toilet paper, I can guarantee you that it isn’t. Wet wipes and baby wipes are the most common culprits but any type of bathroom or hygiene product you have that says its flushable likely isn’t and will cause lots of plumbing issues for you down the road. You also need to be aware that not all toilet paper is safe for septic tanks. Make sure you read the label.
- Bathing during a thunderstorm is safe
Many of us were told growing up that taking a shower or bath during a thunderstorm isn’t safe because you can be electrocuted. These days, the internet seems to be more inclined to believe this was false a just a story used to scare kids. It is true, however. Rare? Sure. But true, nonetheless. Your pipes are metal, and your water has minerals in it, these are all good conductors of electricity. So yes, because it would be a really silly way to go, just be safe and wait for the storm to pass.
- Plunging a sink is safe
You can certainly plunge a sink to unclog it UNLESS you have also used drain cleaner on it also. Some think you can cover all your bases by doing both but using cleaners and then plunging the drain can result in those very caustic chemical cleaners to go all over the place. They are bad fumes to breathe and can burn your skin. Definitely don’t do them both. To make sure that all bases are covered, it would be best just to give Dr. Rescue a call to make sure your drains are flowing properly.
- Citrus fruit peels clean and deodorize garbage disposals
Orange and lemon peels smell nice, so some believe they be used to make a garbage disposal smell nicer. To be clear, it might smell nicer but it is still not good for the disposal. It doesn’t clean it and if the disposal is smelling bad, you might just have a clog so adding more food to it is a bad idea. Also, the acid in the fruit can cause corrosion.
- Ice cubes sharpen disposal blades
First of all, most disposals don’t use blades anymore. They have ‘teeth’. But even if they still had blades, ice cubes aren’t hard enough to sharpen them. If they were, you’d also risk damaging them. BUT ice cubes every few months can clean up. Don’t do this too often, however, as the blades can dull with such frequent use.
- A brick in your toilet tank saves water
Don’t worry about how this rumor came to be, just know that it is untrue. The brick will just disintegrate over time which will cause issues with some of the toilet’s other mechanisms. You don’t want a ton of sediment in your toilet tank or pipes.
- Hot grease, oils, and fats in the sink will drain because they’re liquids
Just because it’s in a liquid form, doesn’t mean it’s safe to pour down the sink. Cooking grease, oils, and fats will solidify once they hit the pipes, causing clogs. And no, pouring hot water down the sink to melt these substances isn’t effective. In fact, you might be turning them into glue for other solids to stick to, contributing to a clog. NEVER put grease, oil, or fat into the sink.
- Commercial drain cleaners are safe for clogs
No amount of marketing should convince you that commercial store-bought drain cleaners are a good idea. They’re designed to handle very few types of clogs and even then, they are still very unreliable. All you’re doing is using dangerous chemicals that will damage your pipes and make your septic system less effective. Plus, if the cleaner fails to unclog the pipes, which is very likely, then the chemicals can back up into your home again, leaking toxic chemicals and fumes into your home. It isn’t worth the risk.
- If it drains or flushes, there’s no problem
Just because you can’t see a problem, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Explore our site for preventative measures and regular maintenance tips to ensure you never see a problem. And if a sink is draining just a little bit slower, you shouldn’t ignore that or wait for it to get worse. Deal with it sooner rather than later to save yourself money and health. This includes solid materials, like the aforementioned baby wipes. Just cause it flushes, doesn’t mean it won’t cause a problem later.
- Cat litter is safe to flush
Another one that we’re not sure got popular. Don’t flush cat litter down the toilet. It can contain waste and chemicals that are bad for your health, your plumbing and septic system, and the ecosystem.
- Wire hangers can be used to snake pipes
The last one of the 12 Plumbing Myths and Truths. It might kind of look like wire hangers would make sense, but a wire hanger can scratch and damage your pipes, making space for clogs to take root and build. Call a professional or use certified products.
Unsure about a household problem, give us a call or schedule one of our professional service technicians to come out and repair your HVAC, Heating, or Plumbing problem.