Plumbing is one of America’s oldest and most specialized professions. As such, it’s only natural that a few misconceptions still exist in today’s modern age.
Inexperienced homeowners have been attempting to address their own plumbing issues for centuries, but the reality is: this can do more harm than good if you aren’t properly trained and equipped to handle certain repairs.
Courtesy of The Plumbing Works, here are six common plumbing myths you’re better off ignoring.
Myth 1: You Can Use a Wire Hanger as a Substitute for a Plumbing Snake
While an unfolded wire hanger certainly looks enticing for use as a drain snake, it’s not truly a good idea. An official plumbing snake is designed specifically for clearing pipe blockages, but a wire hanger can damage your pipes from the inside, causing additional build-up and actually worsening your problem.
If you’re dealing with an emergency, you’re better off calling in an emergency plumber, like those available at The Plumbing Works in Reading, PA, to get the job done safely and properly in the appropriate manner.
Myth 2: Flushable Wipes Are Safe to Flush
Despite specific branding, certain flushable wipes, including baby wipes, are not designed to be flushed down the toilet. So called “flushable” wipes are actually one of the most common causes of drain blockages, as are paper towels and feminine hygiene products.
These products simply do not break down the same way toilet paper does. Even if something looks flushable, you should always read the label carefully for any special disposal instructions.
Myth 3: Water Drains in the Opposite Direction South of the Equator
This fun little anecdote is one that almost all of us have heard at least once in our lives. Cute as it is to believe this to be the case, toilets and drains do not flush in the opposite direction south of the equator.
Unfortunately, this myth is based on a misunderstanding of the Coriolis Effect, which relates to the manner in which cyclones and hurricanes rotate differently between the Earth’s Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Much to the chagrin of barbeque dads everywhere, there is simply not enough water in a sink, tub, or toilet to replicate this effect. The truth is, the way a toilet flushes or a sink drains is based on the physical construction of that particular appliance.
Myth 4: Ice Cubes and Lemon Peels Can Sharpen Disposal Blades
Those who have garbage disposals in their homes are likely to have heard this myth before, but it’s hard to imagine that something like ice cubes or lemon peels could somehow sharpen the “blades” of a garbage disposal. This is especially peculiar when you consider the fact the garbage disposals don’t even really have “blades” in the first place.
Garbage disposals instead use two teeth-like features, called impellers, that grind any solids into liquid as the unit spins. These impellers can’t truly be sharpened, and acidic food items like lemon peels can actually trigger corrosion and clog up the unit.
Ice cubes won’t sharpen your impellers either, but they can assist in cleaning it, as can a subtle mix of water and vinegar. While lemon peels may smell pleasant, they aren’t the best way to freshen up a disposal.
Myth 5: Hot Water Allows You To Safely Dispose of Grease Via Your Sink
As any good plumber will tell you, it’s never a good idea to pour grease down our sink, even if you run the hot water while you’re doing it. Sure, hot water does melt grease and wash it down the drain, but once this grease hits the inner depths of your pipes, it cools and solidifies, eventually causing build-up. Grease is a magnet for food bits, lint, and hair, and a build-up of these objects can wreak havoc on even the most well-built plumbing systems.
You’re better off avoiding trouble all together by allowing grease to harden in the pan or in a separate container and simply wiping it into the trash with a paper towel after a few minutes.
Myth 6: Store-Bought Drain Cleaners are Safe and Effective
Store-bought liquid and drain cleaners are highly toxic, highly chemical compounds designed to eat away at whatever happens to be hanging out in your pipes. Unfortunately, these cleaners are sometimes so strong, they’ll eat away at your pipes themselves too.
If you desperately need to unclog, try a plunger, or better yet, contact the professional plumbers at The Plumbing Works in Reading, PA today to get the best plumbing services available in the area. We look forward to assisting you!