There’s a big argument out there between plumbers and people who think they can be plumbers but have never actually done the deep work. Some say plumbing is so easy anyone can do it, and some say leave it up to the professionals.
The truth is somewhere in between. Where the lines start to blur are often based more in myth than in fact. While there are quite a few plumbing issues that you can fix with a bit of know-how, a lot of skill, and some luck, there are definitely many areas where just calling in a pro is going to save you time, money, and probably quite a bit of stress.
Many people in the middle – not experts, but not so unsure of their ability that they refuse to even attempt any plumbing work – get confused because a lot of what they know is actually based on old myths that continue to float around.
Don’t be a victim of these plumbing mistakes. Here’s the truth behind the myths.
Plumbing Myths Debunked
Now, we are not saying that everything you were told was a lie. In fact, many myths were based in truth when they began. But that was probably a long time ago, and a lot has changed in technology and the way plumbing works since then.
While the basic ideas of the process of pipes, irrigation, and plumbing still remain the same, we have come a long way since the time of outhouses and the inception of indoor water systems. Make sure that your ideas of how to take care of your plumbing components are not outdated as well by ignoring these long-standing plumbing myths.
1. If your sink and shower are draining, everything is just fine.
On a daily basis this is probably true. But your drains are also often your first sign that something may be going wrong under the surface.
As a whole, you may not pay attention to how quickly water goes down the drain regularly, but when it starts slowing down, most people notice. Don’t ignore that sign – it usually means there is a problem that you can fix if you catch it early enough.
It is probably just a clog, but the professionals suggest that you should avoid using the affected area until it is removed to prevent serious problems.
2. Lemons are for lemonade and cleaning garbage disposals.
Chances are your grandparents or parents advised you to stick a lemon down your garbage disposal once in a while to clean it out naturally. This is actually a big no-no.
Lemons can add a nice temporary scent to your otherwise dirty disposal, but they don’t clean it out and can even dull or break your blades. Instead, turn off your disposal and disconnect it from the power source, then use warm water, soap, and a brush and gently scrub the grime away.
3. Only harsh chemicals can clear clogs.
Some people have the mindset that you have to force a clog out of the way, and the only way to do it is to eviscerate it with harsh chemicals. These can work to clear the clog, but they are causing a lot of other damage at the same time.
While the chemicals are eating away at the clog, they are sitting in your pipes and eating away at them, too. Corroded pipes can cause a lot of damage and be expensive to replace. The chemicals can also get into your water and cause health problems to you and your family.
Instead of using harsh chemicals, if you are uncomfortable clearing the drain yourself, call your plumber for help unclogging your pipes and regular maintenance. This will prevent expensive emergency service calls later.
4. All faucets leak eventually.
While it’s true that regular wear and tear on a faucet can cause leaks, a leaky faucet is not something to ignore. It’s actually a sign of big problems on the way if it is not taken care of quickly.
A leaky faucet can mean that your water pressure is not running correctly or that your faucet is coming loose. It is also a big expense – letting a faucet leak for an extended period of time can cost you hundreds of dollars on your water bill each year.
5. As long as you are running water at the same time, you can pour anything down your garbage disposal.
The myth is that running water helps your disposal function better and lets you put just about anything in there. The fact is that a garbage disposal is not made of titanium blades and can break if it is not taken care of correctly or if you put the wrong items down it.
Anything that is not a food item should not go down a garbage disposal. Thicker, heavier food items should be avoided, as well. Common disposal destroyers are things like egg shells, bones, coffee grounds, and grease.
6. Water pressure is meant to fluctuate.
Your water pressure should stay pretty stable. If you notice that it comes and goes stronger or weaker, it could be the sign of a problem in your pipes and should definitely be checked by an expert.
7. If you want to stop a leaky faucet, keep your handles turned tightly.
A common belief is that turning your water handle firmly will avoid leaks. This can actually be harmful to your faucet, however.
Closing the handle tightly can cause damage to your faucet and even cause your pipes to break. Instead of tightly turning your faucet until you can’t turn it anymore, simply close it firmly until it stops releasing water.
8. All plumbers are created equally.
When you need plumbing help, you can’t just call any old plumber and expect to get the same quality service. You want to be sure the person you are calling out to your house to save the day has the knowledge and experience to fix whatever issues you are having quickly and efficiently.
The way to do this is to search around for plumbing companies that have good reviews and make sure that they are up-to-date in their use of technology. A lot of changes have been made in the field of plumbing, and keeping up with innovative, cutting-edge services is part of what a good plumber does.
When you call GM Plumbing Corp. if you are in the Long Beach, California area, you can be confident that the person who comes to your home to fix your problem will be an expert and will be able to confidently help you solve your issue.
9. A noisy water heater means it is on its last legs.
If you start to hear noise from your water heater, you may think it’s a sign that the end is near. Before you start stressing out worrying about how you are going to afford the expense of a new one, take a deep breath and call your plumber.
Many times, this noise is simply due to sediment build-up in the tank. Hard water causes loose minerals to accumulate at the bottom of the tank, near your heating element. If you turn the hot water on, your heating element turns on, but the sediment keeps the heat from being able to do its thing and warm up the water.
Instead, it expands and turns into air bubbles, making the loud noises you are hearing. While it’s not going to cause the immediate end of your water heater, it can make it run inefficiently. Your plumber can let you know if your best bet is a new one or if your heater is young enough that a repair is sufficient.
10. If the package says it is flushable, it’s okay to flush it.
This myth is becoming a big problem for plumbers and pipes everywhere, especially with flushable wipes. Sure, they flush, but that does not mean that they cleanly slide through your pipes like toilet paper.
When something is not biodegradable quickly, like flushable wipes and dead fish, they accumulate in your pipes and cause clogs. Plumbers are constantly unclogging “flushable” wipes and other things, like sanitary napkins, that should not be put down a toilet.
A good rule of thumb: if it’s not toilet paper or your waste, don’t flush it.
Did the Myth Bust You Before You Busted It?
If you didn’t know about any of these falsities before now, it’s okay! The good news is you can move forward from here and take care of your plumbing correctly.
However, you should definitely call a plumber to do a little maintenance on your home and make sure that anything you may have inadvertently done to your plumbing isn’t causing damage to your pipes somewhere.
The experts at GM Plumbing Corporation are ready and able to help you fix your minor problems before they turn major. We can also fix your major plumbing concerns with a knowledgeable and experienced professional. We have plumbers available 24 hours a day to help you, so call us today!