As a homeowner, there are probably a lot of things you wished you would have known before moving in. Along with the joy of homeownership comes the oftentimes overlooked possible plumbing woes that can occur.
Below we’ve debunked several “myths” to help you ward off plumbing faux-pas.
- “My sink is clogged…Grab the plunger.”
DIY blockage-unclogging is not always as straightforward as you may first think. If done incorrectly, it can even prove to be disastrous. After unsuccessfully clearing the clog, you may think that the next logical step is to reach for drain cleaner. So, you pour it in and wait. After seeing that nothing happened, you then reach for the plunger again. Unfortunately, you may have forgotten to wear eye and skin protection, which can cause irreversible skin and eye damage. It can even cause blindness. NEVER use a plunger with a chemical drain cleaner.
Keep in mind that even if you use a plunger correctly, but you have a double sink, once the blockage is dislodged, the pressure from plunging one side can the blockage to come up the other drain. To prevent this from happening, be sure you’ve covered the second drain completely.
- “Hot water washes grease away.”
Sadly, this is wrong! Grease sticks to drains, pipes and hot water. Even boiling water won’t remove grease or help ‘flush’ it out. When the hot water cools over the grease, the grease then hardens and creates a thick coating inside of your pipes. This causes long-term issues, including backed-up pipes or pipes that burst. To avoid any hot-water mishaps, wipe the grease out of pots and pans or pour it into a disposable jar.
- “If it goes down the pipe, it’s okay to flush.”
Just because the object seems to fit down the pipe, it does not mean it’s okay to flush. Take items such as scraps of food or female sanitary products, for example. Although these objects can fit down a sink or a toilet at its entry point, it’s not a good idea to flush them. Most pipes are no more than no more than 4” wide, so flushing even tiny pieces food down the sink can result in a buildup, which can cause a clog.
Similarly, female sanitary products may disappear down the pipe but they quickly absorb water and expand. This can cause a blockage, which can lead to bigger problems. To keep your plumbing running smoothly, it’s always best to use your trash can to dispose of such items.
- “Flushable wipes are flushable.”
Most wipes, including ones advertised as flushable, usually cannot be eliminated by the sewer or septic system. The truth of the matter is, they simply do not break down fast enough to be flushable. Mixed with other debris, they can become stuck in the pipes and block the system, causing serious damage. Toilets are designed to remove human waste. Use your trash can for everything else!