There are plenty of myths and misconceptions when it comes to your home's plumbing, many of which are still circulated unwittingly by well-meaning homeowners and even quite a few experts. However, these myths could easily damage your plumbing and cost you time and money spent on repairs. The following explores 5 common plumbing myths and why you shouldn't believe them.
#1: There's Nothing Urgent about a Leaky Faucet
A leaky faucet doesn't seem like much of a big deal, but each drip can add up to a tremendous expense if left to its own devices. At a rate of one drip per second, a leaky faucet can cost you more than 3,000 gallons of water in a single year, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To put it in perspective, you'd have to take more than 180 showers in order to use that much water.
Neglecting a leaky shower head can also cost you money in the long run. At 10 drips per minute, you'll end up wasting over 500 gallons of water per year. You can wash approximately 60 loads of dishes in your dishwater with that much water.
The good news is that it's relatively easy to take care of a leaky faucet or showerhead. In most cases, a new faucet washer or gasket is all that's needed to put an end to leaks. Drips and leaks can also be fixed by simply making sure the connections are properly tightened.
#2: Flushable Wipes Can Really Be Flushed Down the Drain
Many companies selling disposable cloth wipes market them as being "flushable." After all, who doesn't want the convenience of simply tossing a wipe into the toilet when you're done? In spite of the marketing, however, most flushable wipes are anything but.
Flushable wipes are designed to be more durable than toilet paper, which quickly biodegrades to avoid clogging sewer pipes. Flushable wipes lack much of this biodegradability, making them more prone to causing blockages that require a plumber's snake to bust through.
Even when they manage to pass through your home's sewer pipes, flushable wipes can go on to cause problems with your septic tank and combine with fats and other debris to form "fatbergs" in municipal sewer lines. When it comes to so-called "flushable" wipes, you're better off tossing them in the garbage.
#3: Putting a Brick in Your Toilet Tank Can Cut Water Usage
In most toilets, there's a lower and higher water level line. Under normal circumstances, the water normally fills up to the higher water level line. Positioning a brick so that it sits above the higher water level line displaces the water in the tank. In theory, it's supposed to help you trick your toilet into using less water for flushing.
Although it looks like you're saving money when you do this, all you're doing is making it tougher for your toilet to flush properly. In addition, using an actual brick could prove dangerous in the long run. Submerged bricks can disintegrate over time, allowing the resulting sediment to affect nearby flushing mechanisms.
Instead of using bricks to save water, you can simply cut back on the amount of flushing you normally do. For long-term savings, you're better off investing in a low-flow toilet that's actually designed to use less water.
#4: Running Water Can Help Your Garbage Disposal Tackle Almost Anything
A lot of homeowners think that a little water goes a long way towards flushing items down their garbage disposals. However, food items like banana peels and egg shells simply aren't meant for a garbage disposal to handle, no matter how much water you use to flush them away. Pasta, rice and other starchy foods can actually absorb water as they're being sent through the disposal, leading to clogs.
You're better off watching what you send through your garbage disposal. Here's a brief list of items that are a no-go for your garbage disposal:
- Fats, oils and greasy foods
- Fibrous vegetables like celery, carrots and lettuce
- Ice cubes and egg shells
- Potatoes, beans, rice and pasta
- Non-food items like fabric, rubber bands and sponges
#5: Toilet Bowl Tablets That Contain Bleach Are Harmless
Those toilet bowl tablets may seem like a relatively harmless way of keeping your toilet clean. However, many toilet bowl tablets containing bleach and bleach alternatives often contain a variety of harsh chemicals. These chemicals are capable of breaking down various rubber and plastic components in your toilet tank, especially if the tablets are left in the tank for too long.
Instead of running the risk of damaging these components, you're better off cleaning your toilet by hand instead of relying on tablets and other harsh cleaning chemicals.
Keep all of these tips and truths in mind the next time you run into any plumbing issues, and be sure to call in a professional, such as those at Knights Plumbing & Drain, for any other questions and help.