Like the perennial legend of New York’s sewer alligators, not all tall-tales of plumbing are true–no matter how well-known they are. Knowledge is your best protection against plumbing issues, big or small. A big part of that protective knowledge is knowing what is and isn’t true about your plumbing.
That’s why we’ve decided to bust a couple of particularly-pervasive plumbing myths wide open, here and now. By learning what’s not true about your plumbing, you’ll learn a lot about how you should take care of it. In that spirit, here are five plumbing myths we still hear all the time–and why they’re full of it.
It’s okay to use over the counter drain cleaners.
This is one of the most widespread and damaging myths in plumbing. First things first: yes, over the counter drain cleaners can clean clogs out of drains. The only problem is that they can’t tell the difference between a clog and the pipe itself.
Using over the counter drain cleaners will thin out the walls of your pipes over time. Eventually, they could even corrode your pipes until they leak or burst. If you have problematic clogs, it’s safer and more cost effective to invest in professional drain cleaning.
If a pipe freezes, it’s always going to burst.
Obviously, frozen pipes aren’t often a major problem in Texas, which means they’re not particularly well understood. It also means they tend to be quite feared. When Texans see their pipes freeze, they tend to think it means the pipe’s about to burst, too.
Fortunately, that’s not always the case. Just because pipes freeze doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to burst. To save a frozen pipe, simply apply heat to it slowly using a device like a blow dryer. Make sure you catch the condensation you’ll create with the heat! By thawing out your frozen pipes, you can reliably prevent them from bursting. Keep this in mind next time it starts getting chilly!
It’s okay to pour hot grease down your sink
The thing about hot liquid grease is, it never stays a liquid. When grease cools, it solidifies into a goopy, sticky, solid mess. When you pour grease down your drain, it cools and gets stuck to the walls of your pipes.
The more grease you pour down the drain, the more of this sticky mess builds up in your pipes. Eventually, solid grease will form a stubborn, nasty clog that you’ll have to clear away. Instead of clogging your pipes, dispose of grease another way. You could let it cool in a pan and then scrape it away, or pour it onto aluminum foil. Your plumbing will thank you!
A small leak isn’t worth fixing
A small leak may seem like an inconsequential thing. It’s just a little puddle you have to clean up once in a while, right? Wrong. Small leaks are how big problems begin. Not only do they drive up your water bills, but they’ll also grow bigger over time.
If you don’t repair a small leak when it happens, it probably won’t stay a small leak for long. They means they won’t stay a small problem for long, either. Repairing leaks early and quickly is always the right call, no matter how small they seem.
I can handle all my own plumbing repairs
We don’t doubt what you’re capable of, but unfortunately many DIY plumbing repairs exacerbate problems instead of fixing them. Unless you’re completely sure, don’t tackle any extensive plumbing repairs.
Plumbing mistakes are surprisingly easy to make, and they can have big (and expensive!) consequences. Next time you have a plumbing problem, call the pros sooner rather than later.
If any of these common plumbing myths have caused you undue problems, don’t fret. The team at Ben Franklin Plumbing can fix any plumbing issue you could throw at us–and that’s no myth!