Inexperienced homeowners often try to address plumbing issues that they are not trained or equipped to handle. But this can do more harm than good, and end up costing more money. There are also plenty of plumbing myths that have no merit and, in some cases, can get you into trouble. Here are eight of them you should ignore.
1. Hot Grease Will Drain Safely in the Kitchen Sink
Grease cools quickly once it is inside pipes. When it does, it sticks to the inside surfaces and stays there. Grease and cooking oil will continue to build up until the pipe is completely clogged. To avoid trouble, wait for the grease to harden in the pan and then wipe it away with a paper towel. Then throw it in the trash.
2. A Wire Hanger Is a Good Substitute for a Plumbing Snake
An unfolded wire hanger certainly looks enticing. But it’s really not a good idea. A plumbing snake is designed for clearing pipe blockages. A wire hanger can damage pipe from the inside and can lead to additional buildup. If a hanger is the only option in an emergency, wrap it in a cloth, secured with a rubber band, so you don’t scrape the pipe; or better yet, call an emergency plumber for help.
3. Flushable Wipes Are Safe to Flush
Despite their branding, flushable wipes should not be flushed down the toilet. These include baby wipes. They are a common cause of drain blockages, as are paper towels and feminine hygiene products. Even if something looks flushable, read the label for any special disposal instructions.
4. A Brick in the Toilet Tank Helps Save Water
No, it doesn’t. A brick placed in the tank will force the toilet to work harder, can cause parts to break, and may require you to flush more often and use extra water. Exposure to water will cause the brick to break apart after awhile.
5. A Plunger Will Save the Day
It might seem like a quick fix, but a plunger won’t help your bathroom sink drain work better. Plunging is also a bad idea if you’ve used liquid drain cleaner. Leftover chemicals can splatter; these can be toxic and cause skin burns. If you didn’t use a drain cleaner, plunge only once or twice. Call a plumber if this doesn’t work, because the clog may be too deep for you to reach.
6. Lemon Peels Are Good for Your Garbage Disposal
The scent of lemon peels may be pleasant, but throwing them into the disposal won’t do the impellers any good (they’re not blades that can be sharpened). In fact, the acid can trigger corrosion, while the peel itself can clog up the unit. Running the disposal with some ice cubes or pouring a mix of water and vinegar into it can help clean the impellers.
7. Bleach Tablets Will Help Clean Your Toilet
Bleach tablets contain chemicals that can damage sensitive toilet components. Never put them in the toilet or the tank. Always use cleaners that are labeled for use with the toilet.
8. Water Drains in the Opposite Direction South of the Equator
While not a dangerous myth, it is one that has proliferated. The direction of flow is influenced by the toilet’s or drain’s design, not location, so the principle is much different than how storms in the Southern Hemisphere spin clockwise rather than counterclockwise.
Call Detour Plumbing
Don’t take plumbing issues into your own hands. At Detour Plumbing, our licensed plumbers use the latest technology and repair methods to troubleshoot and fix problems. We are available 24/7 in case of an emergency, and can provide drain cleaning, fixture repair, pipe maintenance, sewer line repair, and even inspections. Call 661-424-9820 to request service or learn more about our financing options.