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Top 5 Biggest Plumbing Myths

Plumber fixing something under a sinkJust like other industries, there are some rather unhelpful rumors that spread about plumbing problems. Not only are these rumors entirely incorrect, but they’re typically harmful to those who believe them. So, to curb any unwarranted and misleading information, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common plumbing myths.

1. Anything can go down the disposal

While technically true, there are many items that should not go down the disposal. Anything greasy, including cheese or meat, can coat your pipes and create tough to remove clogs. Long stringy foods like celery, potato skins, carrot skins, etc, can get wrapped around the blades and lock the disposal. Additionally, coffee grounds, egg shells, bones, bread products, and other brittle or water absorbent products are also a bad idea.

2. Chemical drain cleaners don’t destroy pipes

Actually, chemical drain cleaners also eat away at the pipes and the clog. While it is a fairly common myth that drain cleaners aren’t harmful to pipes, over time they can do serious damage. It’s best to use a combination of vinegar and baking soda to deal with clogs. If that fails, try a plunger or a drain snake. If the clog persists, call a plumber.

3. Grind lemons to freshen your disposal

Actually, the acidity in lemons corrode the metal surface. It’s better to use a combination of salt and ice cubes to deal with disposal odors. The ice cubes will help remove food particles and keep everything nice and clean, and adding salt to the mixture improves the cleaning power.

4. “Flushable” items

There are a number of items that are marked as “flushable.” Again, this is technically true, but not advised. Flushing “flushable” wipes can cause fatbergs in the sewer systems, which is a giant congealed mass of non-biodegradable items. Additionally, cat litter should not be flushed, as it contains toxoplasma gondii, which could spread and cause a public infection. Other items like paper towels, sanitary pads, or insects should never be flushed. As a general rule, if it says “flushable,” it’s not.

5. Water heaters can’t explode

Unfortunately, they can. While most modern water heaters include a pressure relief valve, it’s still entirely possible for an explosion to occur at dangerous levels. It’s recommended to flush your system every year and check pipes and valves every few months to avoid any life-threatening situations.

6. Boiling water cleans grease

Hot water gets rid of congealed grease, so why wouldn’t it clean pipes? Unfortunately, that could end up hardening the grease instead of removing it. The best way to deal with grease in the pipes is to ensure it doesn’t get down there in the first place. Grease in a drainage system can cause overflow and drainage problems if left unchecked. If necessary, call a professional to scrape the inside of your pipes clean.

7. Dishwashers waste water

Actually, due to the way most people hand wash their dishes, dishwashers save water! If you have an energy efficient washer, the effect is compounded! So don’t feel bad about using your dishwasher, you may just save some time and money!

8. If it drains, it’s fine

Not necessarily. Debris can gather further down the pipe. Don’t assume a drain that appears to work properly isn’t in danger of clogging. It’s best to use filters to catch any large particles that might get down the drain.

Those are a few of the most common plumbing myths. Many of them are downright harmful, so be sure to avoid them whenever possible! If in doubt, call a professional plumber.

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