If you are a new – or even a veteran – homeowner, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with common plumbing myths and mistakes. Doing so could save you from making some expensive mistakes with your valuable time, money, and property.
7 Plumbing Myths: Let’s Set The Record Straight
It’s time to separate fact from fiction. Below are seven of the popular dilemmas that come up with plumbing systems and how you might want to consider addressing them.
1. Flushable Wipes Are Flushable
False. The packaging might say “Flushable,” but unless the material dissolves similarly to toilet paper, you are better off tossing it in the trash. If it’s too late, consider these tips for unclogging your toilet. Keep in mind these items should also go in the trash rather than the toilet:
- Flushable wipes
- Baby wipes
- Paper towels
- Sanitary pads and tampons
- Cat litter
2. Leaky Faucets Can Be Ignored
False. Do not hesitate. Locate the leak, if you can. Turn off the water, and call a plumber. It will save you money and headaches in the long run. Fixing a leaky faucet can save as much as 10% on your water bill. The slow drip of a leaky faucet adds up and according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it can waste up to 90 gallons of water per day.
3. I Can Use A Wire Hanger to Snake The Drain And Clear A Clog
Use Extreme Caution. This method while potentially effective is also potentially problematic. The wire hanger could damage the piping, allowing for clogs and deterioration to occur down the line.
4. I Can Put Grease Down the Drain, And Hot Water Will Help It Go Down
False. Grease and oil should never go down the drain. While hot water may keep that grease and oil liquefied to get it down the drain, it will cool and solidify further down and cause a clog.
5. Ice Cubes Sharpen The “Blades” Of Your Garbage Disposal
While this is not true, ice cubes can help clean parts of your garbage disposal that become coated with bits and pieces of the food you scrape into it.
6. Showering During A Lightning Storm Is Okay
False. This is one myth that sounds reasonable but is actually very dangerous. Water and metal are both conductors of electricity. Showering combines the two and increases the risk of electrocution, especially during a storm with the potential for lightning. You actually should not shower during a storm.
7. Water Pressure Should Fluctuate
False. Anyone with thick hair will tell you – water pressure is important. It should also stay relatively consistent. If you notice your water pressure is great one minute, and the next you can barely rinse the shampoo from your hair, it is a good idea to call your plumber to check it out.
8 Plumbing Mistakes: Stop Doing These!
Do It Yourself (DIY) projects are an important way to keep the ongoing maintenance costs of homeownership and rentals down. But it’s even more essential to get the information correct before diving into complicated plumbing systems. Here are eight common plumbing pitfalls to avoid.
1. Over Tightening Connections
This can cause cracking, leaks, and damage that will cost you in repairs or replacements.
2. Using Drain Cleaners
These chemicals can clear a clog (although, not always), but they can also damage your pipes and cause future problems.
3. Doing a Plumbing Job Without Spare Parts
If you start a job to replace a simple worn part like a washer, it is a good practice to replace all the small parts. It will save you time and effort – and even money on a service call – down the line.
4. Not Turning Off the Main Water Supply
When you set out to do a DIY plumbing job, do yourself a favor and turn off the water first. It only takes a minute, and it will save you a big mess.
5. Not Having the Right Tools And Equipment
Avoid making one of the most common DIY plumbing mistakes. If you know you do not have the tools to do the job right, it is best to leave that job to a professional plumber. Having the proper tools and equipment ensures the job gets done efficiently, effectively, and correctly.
6. Not Having the Proper Permits To Perform The Job
Another advantage of having a professional involved in your plumbing project is that they know what permits are necessary to avoid code violations.
7. Doing It Yourself Without Required Training
It happens. You think it is a simple fix. You watched a few DIY YouTube videos and got started only to find out you bit off more than you could chew. If it is a problem you do not know how to fix, go ahead and call for a licensed plumber to avoid making the worst plumbing mistakes.
8. Not Sloping the Shower Floor
You just remodeled your bathroom; it is beautiful. You take your first shower and notice the water pooling at your feet. You didn’t slope the shower floor to allow the proper flow toward the drain. It is a subtle but important detail to miss. Typically, a shower should have a 4% angle, dropping half an inch toward the drain for every 12 inches of the stall.
When in Doubt – Call the Professionals
The key takeaway from these plumbing myths and mistakes is this: When in doubt, call a licensed plumber. They have the training, experiences, tools, and equipment to get the job done right the first time. However, knowing and using these tips will help you avoid making the worst plumbing mistakes no matter if it is the first or the fifth home you have owned.