Debunking 13 Plumbing Myths

There are a lot of plumbing myths floating around, and believing them could endanger your plumbing – or even your life. These plumbers in Arlington, TX shared with us some of the most popular plumbing myths so you can preserve your plumbing, save money, and more. Here are 13 plumbing myths debunked.

Myth #1 – Lightning can’t travel through pipes

Believing this myth could cost your life. You should never bathe or shower during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through your house’s plumbing and electrocute you.

Myth #2 – Leaky faucets are no big deal

While a drip certainly sounds annoying, you may be reluctant to spend the money to fix it. A faucet that drips once per second wastes 2,000 gallons of water per year. Assuming you pay your own water bill, a visit from a plumber could pay for itself pretty quickly.

Myth #3 – Ice cubes sharpen garbage disposal blades

While dropping a few ice cubes down the disposal and grinding them up can help clean the blades, it won’t sharpen the blades. In fact, it’s just one more thing dulling the blades, so don’t do it more than every 3 months or so.

Myth #4 – Animals can’t enter your home through your toilet

Sorry to give you nightmares, but it is entirely possible for snakes and rats to crawl through plumbing and pop out of your toilet. While it isn’t common, it does happen.

Myth #5 – Drain cleaner is always a good solution

Many drain cleaners are as likely to erode your pipes as they are to dissolve any clogs in those pipes. It can also easily splash up at you and cause skin or eye problems.

Myth #6 – Water drains clockwise in the Southern hemisphere

Hurricanes and cyclones spin different directions on opposite sides of the equator, but toilet water? Not so much? Any change in the direction of toilet water is due to the design of the toilet.

Myth #7 – It’s OK to flush “flushable” baby wipes

Even “flushable” wipes don’t dissolve as quickly as toilet paper. You may get away with one flushable wipe every once in a while, but more than one a day can clog your pipes.

Myth #8 – Toilet bowl tablets with bleach keep your toilet clean

Bleach is corrosive, and while you can swish it around the bowl to clean with it, you don’t want a tablet releasing bleach constantly. A bleach tablet in the bowl will damage the surface of the toilet bowl, and a bleach tablet in the tank can destroy the working parts of a toilet within 6 months.

Myth #9 – It’s OK to pour hot grease down the drain

Hot grease solidifies as it cools, and flushing it with hot water won’t get it all the way out of your plumbing before it sticks to the sides of the pipes and starts to collect debris. Save an old food container with a lid to pour your grease into.

Myth #10 – A brick in the toilet tank will save water

Not only can a brick in your toilet tank prevent it from flushing properly (resulting in extra flushes and wasted water) but it can dissolve and send bits of brick dust into your plumbing, which is definitely a bad situation.

Myth #11 – It’s OK to flush cat litter

Cat waste contains a parasite called Toxoplasma Gondii. It can be very harmful if it’s just sent out into the environment without going through a really good wastewater treatment facility first, including causing problems from pregnant women who encounter it.

Myth #12 – It’s OK to flush fish

If you’re certain the fish is dead, it’s OK. If the fish has some life left, it could swim through the sewer system, emerge in a stream, and destroy a delicate sewer system.

Myth #13 – Your water heater will explode if it’s gurgling

While water heaters can explode, gurgling sounds are usually the result of excessive sediment buildup inside the water heater. Call a plumber to take a look and see if it needs maintenance.

If you ever have any questions about plumbing, be sure to call a trusted plumber. Believing myths from the internet can have disastrous consequences on your plumbing, your budget, or even your life.