Like many things that people depend upon and fear at the same time, there are a number of myths about plumbing that have become urban legends. It’s the kind of thing that everyone knows but which on closer examination turns out to be not just wrong but potentially dangerous. One of the most dangerous myths of all time is that homeowners can do all their plumbing work themselves, even something as complicated as gas cooker installation. Now that’s one thing that you really should not try at home.
But there are other myths too which can lead to damage on a small scale, though it may escalate into a major problems. Let’s look at some of these myths and the actual truth in each case.
- The Myth: You can safely ignore that leaky faucet
Most homeowners don’t consider a leaky faucet to be a major problem. It’s easy to ignore the drip, because it’s not actually doing any visible damage. It turns out, this belief is wrong.
In fact: Leaky faucets should be fixed as soon as possible. Even a slow drip can add thousands to your water bill. And if you live in a place that faces water shortages, it’s inconsiderate to your fellow-citizens and bad for the environment. Drips will also end up leaving stains on the basin, which can almost impossible to clean.
- The Myth: Is my water heater going to explode?
Even at the best of times, water heaters are fearsome things. People tend to walk on eggshells around them and keep their fingers crossed that nothing terribly bad will happen. So when your water heater begins to make odd clanking noises, with some bangs and rumbling thrown in, you may feel it’s time for panic stations.
In fact: Not necessarily. Water heaters, and especially older water heaters, tend to collect sediments of calcium and other minerals from hard water. The noises you hear are the sediments obstructing the heating element from releasing hot water. This is not a life-threatening situation, but it can become a drain on your checkbook. That’s because more energy is needed to heat the water.
If your water heater is more than fifteen years old, it may be time to replace it anyway. Most newer models are more energy efficient. They’re also easier to clean, and they can be drained and the sediment can be flushed.
- The Myth: Flushable wipes really do flush
It’s the convenience that lulls you in this case. Flushable wipes promise no to harm the plumbing, but the reality is quite different.
In fact: Even though the manufacturers claim that the wipes can be flushed, in fact they are the source of many clogs. Once they do clog the drains, it will take a visit from a professional plumber to fix. Flushable wipes also cause environmental problems because they don’t biodegrade like toilet paper.
- Myth: Got clogs? Use a plunger!
Whether it’s a clogged toilet, sink or bathtub, many people believe that a plunger is the solution to all kinds of clogs.
In fact: some bathtub clogs can be so stubborn that you may need to use a snake. And for serious toilet clogs, you may need to call in a professional plumber.
Myths can be frighten you or make you complacent. Neither is a good substitute for understanding how your domestic plumbing works, and what kinds of maintenance and upkeep are necessary. In fact, one of the biggest myths is that plumbing doesn’t need maintenance. Regular maintenance visits and inspections can actually help to make all systems more energy efficient, and to identify and fix problems before they spiral out of control.