Plumbing “Myth Busters” You Must Know



As Homeowners ourselves, we have done our share of “DIY” projects that we really had no business trying to do or tackling ourselves. I recall about 15 years ago attempting to install an HVAC system in our rental property.  We are plumbers right?  This should be simple.  Run some duct work, install a unit and make sure it has some vents and BAM its done. Not so fast!  We found out really quickly that our “attempts” at installing an HVAC system ourselves ended up costing us double what we would have spent initially if we had just hired someone to install it instead of doing it ourselves. It is safe to say we have tackled all sorts of projects around here from excavation to fence building and quite frankly most of it went ok but I can honestly say that in our attempts over the years to “save money” by DIY’ing it, we have never really saved that much and it would have been better left to the professionals!

Plumbing isn’t something that most people can do on their own.  Most can change a faucet or install a toilet if necessary but when it comes to more complicated tasks like Drain Clogs, Water Heater Installations and Pipe Work, homeowner attempts usually fail and often end up costing more money than it would have initially. We thought we would play “myth busters” incase you wanted to “DIY” and attempt a plumbing fix or repair yourself! Check out these Plumbing Myths so you don’t make an unnecessary mistake!

1. Grease is ok if you flush with hot water

Grease cools quickly once it is inside the pipes. When it does, it sticks to the inside surfaces and stays there. Grease and cooking oil will continue to build up until the pipe is completely clogged. To avoid trouble, wait for the grease to harden in the pan and then wipe it away with a paper towel. Then throw it in the trash. Never put grease down the drain!

2. A Wire Hanger Is a Good Substitute for a Plumbing Snake

An unfolded wire hanger certainly looks like it might work!  And, in an emergency if it’s the only available option, it’s better than nothing. BUT a wire hanger can damage pipes from the inside. If a hanger is the only option in an emergency, wrap it in a cloth, secured with a rubber band, so you don’t scrape the pipe.  If you cannot get the clog to resolve, there may be an issue farther down the pipe.  A plumbing snake that professionals use is designed for clearing pipe blockages. This is not a machine that homeowners typically have the know how to use even if they can rent one at a local store.  The snake drain line can easily get stuck in your pipes and with improper use, can be very costly to retrieve when they break.  The line will need to be dug up and pipe replaced which is thousands to repair.  Don’t attempt to “DIY” this one.  Leave it to the professionals!

3. Flushable Wipes Are Safe to Flush

Despite their branding, flushable wipes should not be flushed down the toilet. These include baby wipes. They are a common cause of drain blockages, as are paper towels and feminine hygiene products. Even if something looks flushable, read the label for any special disposal instructions. I know I have said this in the past,  toilet paper is the only safe item to flush down the toilet.  Nowadays with the eco friendly toilets using less water, there is less flow going downstream.  Most toilet clogs we see are the result of homeowners or guests flushing things in the toilets like Flushable Wipes that are just simply Not Flushable.  Do not do it. Save the cash and just use toilet paper.

4. A Brick in the Toilet Tank Helps Save Water

No, it doesn’t. A brick placed in the tank will force the toilet to work harder, can cause parts to break, and may require you to flush more often and use extra water. Exposure to water will cause the brick to break apart after awhile and the brick will ultimately end up in your drain and clogging your lines. Believe it or not, people still do this.

5. Lemon Peels Are Good for Your Garbage Disposal

While we all love the smell of lemon, the idea of putting something down the disposal that would make it smell good is very enticing. The scent of lemon peels may be pleasant, but its a myth that throwing them into the disposal will do the impellers any good (they’re not blades that can be sharpened). In fact, the acid can trigger corrosion, while the peel itself can clog up the unit. Running the disposal with some ice cubes or pouring a mix of water and vinegar into it can help clean the impellers. Lemon peels are NOT SAFE!!

6. Bleach Tablets Will Help Clean Your Toilet

Bleach tablets contain chemicals that is not safe for sensitive toilet components so this is a big myth. Never put them in the toilet or the tank. Always use cleaners that are labeled for use with the toilet.

Don’t take plumbing issues into your own hands by following a DIY. At Rocket, our licensed plumbers use the latest technology and repair methods to troubleshoot and fix problems, along with occasionally being myth busters. We are available 24/7 in case of an emergency, and can provide drain cleaning, plumbing work, sewer line repair, and even inspections. Save yourself the hassle and call Rocket’s Response Team at 484.986.5517 TODAY!