Top 8 Plumbing Myths Debunked

Plumbing Myths

Myths are great fun – but once you start fact-checking them, they begin to fall apart. For example, in Roman myth, the god of fire was said to live beneath a volcano in Sicily. Any reputable geologist will tell you this isn’t true.

Many plumbing myths are equally bogus. Some are grounded in faulty reasoning. Others are relics handed down to us from bygone eras of plumbing. These plumbing myths lead many homeowners astray as they think they can solve a plumbing issue that they’re actually misinformed about. That’s why we’re going to debunk the eight top plumbing myths – we’d like to spare you a headache!

1. Lemon is good for freshening up your garbage disposal – false!

Do you want to get the funk out of your garbage disposal without using chemicals? Don’t use a lemon. It might smell clean and fresh, but lemon juice’s corrosive citric acid can dull down steel blades and also rust up your garbage disposal. Grinding up whole slices of lemon is even worse, as bits of lemon’s water-insoluble peel can clog up your kitchen drain.

2. Garbage disposals can dispose of any food waste – false!

Lemons are not the only things that don’t belong in your garbage disposal. Obviously, you aren’t contemplating emptying your lawn clippings in your kitchen sink, but there is a surprising number of things that could damage your garbage disposal (or just clog up your kitchen drain), including:

  • Bones

  • Shells

  • Pasta

  • Rice

  • Pits

  • Seeds

  • Eggshells

  • Grease and oil

  • Coffee grounds

  • Onion and potato peels

  • Celery and other “stringy” produce

3. “Flushable” wipes are safe to flush – false!

“Flushable” wipes are flushable in name only. Because they are made of synthetic polyester and polypropylene, these disposable wipes do not actually dissolve in water. That makes them adept at clogging your toilet’s plumbing. Flushable wipes can even accumulate in municipal sewer systems until they form clogs that weigh in excess of 100 tons!

4. A leaky faucet is no big deal – false!

Do you have a leaky faucet? Then you’re probably paying 10% more on your water bills than you already have to. One leaky faucet wastes about 10,000 gallons of water a year!

Faucets do start to leak when they get old, but that doesn’t make a leak acceptable. Your leaky faucet may just need a new O-ring, cartridge, valve seat, washer, seal, or other parts. Some of those parts are cheap little things that any layman could replace!

A leaky faucet may also indicate that you have low water pressure, which would mean your appliances are not running as efficiently as they could. Water pressure should not fluctuate, and getting to the root of that problem is best left to a professional plumber.

5. Turning the handle tight will stop a leaky faucet – false!

This myth is so badly in need of debunking that we’re assigning it to the coveted number five spot. It’s only natural to expect an assertively turned-off faucet to stop leaking, but in fact, it’s that is likelier to further damage an already damaged faucet. Tightly turning your faucet may even damage the pipe it’s connected to, so resist the urge!

6. Cleaning chemicals can’t harm your plumbing – false!

Do you know what the caustic ingredient in Drano is? Sodium hydroxide, which is also known as lye, is so high on the pH scale that it easily corrodes steel plumbing. Lye can also deform PVC under the right conditions, which is why it is recommended that you (A) use Drano and other drain cleaners sparingly, and (B) flush the drain with plenty of water afterward. Manually clearing the obstruction is the gentlest way you can unclog a drain.

7. A noisy water heater is going to break soon – often false!

If your water heater is making lots of banging, rumbling or popping noises, then it’s not necessarily going to break down anytime soon. It may just have excessive sediment buildup! Fixing that is as easy as draining the water heater tank, which is something you should do every six months anyway.

Is your water heater making cracking or hissing sounds? Electrical water heaters just do that sometimes, so occasional cracks and hisses are no cause for alarm. Frequent or persistent cracks or hisses could indicate a heating element obstruction, however, which is worth a plumber’s attention. A hissing gas or oil water heater, on the other hand, may have built up excessive moisture and require professional maintenance.

Is your water heater ticking? Could just be a sudden change of water pressure. Whistling? Loose valves let air escape the tank. Meowing? The cat got in there somehow.

8. PrairieSons doesn’t serve the greater Sioux Falls for all its plumbing and HVAC needs – absolutely false!

We don’t believe anyone is spreading this particular myth, but it can’t hurt to make sure it’s debunked all the same. Our locally-owned business is at your service to remedy all your plumbing problems, whatever the scale of those problems might be. Contact PrairieSons today for all your residential and commercial plumbing needs!