We tend to take our pipes, water heaters, garbage disposals and other plumbing equipment for granted until it needs a little TLC. Even if you consider yourself a handy homeowner, you may want to think twice before trying to tackle a clogged sink or fix a slow drain without a professional's assistance. Consider these top five plumbing myths before you take any action — and potentially make the situation much worse.
1. Put a Brick in the Back of Your Toilet
Somewhere along the line, someone surmised that displacing water in your toilet tank with a brick would save money. Unfortunately, this tip does not work as promised. Submerged bricks tend to fall apart over time, messing up your toilet and plumbing. Plus, you may end up flushing more often. Save the bricks for construction and landscaping jobs.
2. Hot Grease Will Slide Right Down Your Kitchen Sink
You cooked an outstanding meal that left an inch of grease in the pan. Instead of pouring the leftover oil into your sink, wait for the grease to solidify. Then, wipe it up with a paper towel and throw the towel in the trash.
Why all the fuss? Grease sticks to the inside of your pipes, attracts other residue and will not go away on its own. Many plumbers spend time clearing homeowners' kitchen pipes that have become gummed up with old, used cooking oil.
3. A Plunger Will Solve Your Sink Clog Nightmares
Your bathroom sink is draining slowly. You poured liquid drain cleaner into it, but nothing happened. Time for the trusty plunger, right?
If you already put chemicals in your drain, you should never plunge. Even a small amount of toxic splatter could leave you with a skin burn. If you did not use a liquid drain cleaner, you may try plunging once or twice. If the plunger produces no effect after a few rounds of suction, call your plumber because the clog is likely deep in the pipes.
4. Lemon Peels Will Freshen Up and Sharpen Garbage Disposal Blades
Lemon, orange and lime peels have a pleasant, natural scent. However, they belong somewhere other than in your garbage disposal. They can trip up your disposal with their bulk, and the acid from the fruit may even lead to long-term corrosion.
A better way to keep your garbage disposal smelling great and working well is to occasionally pour a mixture of vinegar and water into the disposal. Run the disposal with a handful of ice cubes and move on to your next household job.
5. Flushable Wipes and Sanitary Products Are Septic-Safe
No matter what the packaging says, you should never send flushable wipes or sanitary products to the sewer from your toilet. Even if they go down the drain without a problem, they may be causing buildups that will bite you later. Professional plumbers routinely encounter the problem of so-called flushable items that never disintegrated. Avoiding this issue is much cheaper than fixing it.
Want to learn more about plumbing facts and tips? Keep reading our blog and be sure to contact our expert technicians for all your plumbing needs.