Plumbing — we rarely think twice about it, but did you know this modern convenience has a lot of myths circulating about it? Here are the top 10 plumbing myths that cause more harm than good.
Plumbing Myth #1: Flushable Wipes Should Be Flushed Down The Toilet
Fact: Flushing wipes marketed as ‘flushable’ down the toilet can wreak havoc on your plumbing. How? By blocking or bursting pipes on your property. Flushable wipes, such as wet wipes and baby wipes, are now a leading cause of plumbing blockages in Australia.
Why? Wet wipes typically contain plastic, so they don’t disintegrate like toilet paper when flushed. They do not break down by the time they reach the sewer.
In 2018, Queensland Urban Utilities removed a 7-metre long ‘fatberg’ — a large, solid mass made of fat and personal hygiene products that had been flushed down toilets — from a Bowen Hills sewer in Brisbane. This gigantic, congealed lump was so big that it had to be removed by a crane.
Not only that, ‘flushable wipes’ can damage Australia’s delicate natural ecosystems. When they eventually make their way into the ocean, they can be eaten by sea creatures, such as turtles, who mistake them for jellyfish and eventually die as a result of consuming the flushable wipes.
Plumbing Myth #2: Mixing Hot Water With Grease Will Help It Go Down The Sink
Fact: Grease should never be allowed to go down the drain. Pouring boiling water down the sink to melt hardened oil or fat only helps it wash down the basin. But once the liquefied grease travels down your pipes, the grease will cool, thicken, stick to the sides of your pipes and become even harder to remove. This grease is a magnet for food, lint and hair, eventually blocking your pipe. It’s best to wipe the grease out of your frying pans with a paper towel and throw it in the garbage bin.
Plumbing Myth #3: You Can Flush More Than Toilet Paper
Fact: The only things that should be flushed down a toilet are human waste and toilet paper. Sanitary wipes, flushable cleaning wipes, paper towels, makeup remover wipes, and tampons are not suitable for flushing down the toilet. Why? These products are not designed to disintegrate quickly and can block your home’s sewer drain, cause sewer blockages and overflows, and even end up on our beaches and rivers. Nothing except toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet.
Plumbing Myth #4: You Should Clean Your Toilet With Bleach Tablets
Fact: While bleach is an effective toilet cleaning agent, it should not sit in your toilet for longer than 10 minutes. A drop-in bleach tablet continually releases bleach and this can damage the surface of your toilet bowl and degrade many of the working parts within the toilet within six months. The damage can even corrode your entire toilet. To save money and the hassle of calling in a plumber, be extremely careful when cleaning your toilet with bleach.
Plumbing Myth #5: A Brick In The Back of Your Toilet Bowl Will Help You Save Water
Fact: A brick in the back of your toilet bowl could break apart and damage your toilet’s flapper. If this happens, you’ll need to flush twice. Not only does this waste water, but you’ll also be forced to pay a higher water bill. If you want to save water with your toilet, consider purchasing a water-saving flusher or faucet.
Plumbing Myth #6: Drain Cleaners are Safe
Fact: If your drains are gurgling or slow to drain, it’s best to contact a plumber who can remove the block without a drain cleaner.
Liquid drain cleaners are ineffective at clearing blocked drains and may eat away at your pipes. Even worse, if you pour drain cleaner down your sink and follow it with a plunger, the chemicals may splash up and burn your skin.
Plumbing Myth #7: Cat Litter Is Flushable
Fact: Even if the manufacturer claims that their natural cat litter product is flushable, cat faeces can contain Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that is a danger to humans and our natural water ecosystems. Though this parasite doesn’t pose a risk of healthy adults, it can hurt pregnant women and marine life.
Plumbing Myth #8: Flushing Pets Is Safe
Fact: Before you flush your beloved pet goldfish down the toilet, you need to be 100% certain that your fish is not alive. Many live goldfish survive their journey through the sewer system to become oversized giants and reproduce at alarming rates, causing significant changes to natural ecosystems.
Plumbing Myth #9: A Leaky Faucet Is Nothing To Worry About
Fact: Even a leaky faucet that drips just one drop per second can waste as much water as 180 showers. In fact, you can save almost 10 per cent on your water bill, simply by fixing your leaky faucet. Don’t ignore a dripping tap.
Plumbing Myth #10: You Should Use Lemon Peels To Clean and Deodorise Your Garbage Disposal
Fact: Lemon peels contain citric acid, which can cause corrosion to your garbage disposal. Instead, we recommend using a homemade mixture of baking soda dissolved in vinegar, to keep your disposal smelling fresh.
Plumbing Myth #11: Most Plumbing Jobs Can Be DIY
Fact: A plumber is essential to most plumbing tasks. At Yarrow Plumbing, we continually see ineffective DIY fixes that continue to create problems until we repair it. Always consult a trustworthy, qualified plumber before attempting to DIY repair it yourself.