Drain Doctor discusses some of the top plumbing myths to help you keep your household plumbing in working order and to prevent you from making costly mistakes.

There are several plumbing myths that have been floating around our customers’ households, and these are some of the most common misconceptions. Knowing the truth behind these myths will help you keep your plumbing system in pristine working order, all while saving you from making costly mistakes.

Myth #1: If I don’t see a leak, that means that there isn’t one.

Many leaks are not visible to the eye but rather are hidden in a building’s internal plumbing. If left untreated, hidden leaks can amass significant expenses from repairs, water damage, and higher water bills. One way to test if you have a hidden leak is to check your water meter before and after a period in which no water has been used; if your water meter is reporting a change, then chances are that you have a hidden leak.

Myth #2: If my drain appears to be functioning, then I do not need to perform any maintenance.

Most clogs are not a result of one incident but rather occur due to the build-up of debris over time. For this reason, drains should be cleaned regularly in order to remove the unwanted accumulation of waste within your plumbing.

Myth #3: You can throw disinfectant wipes in the toilet.

Unlike toilet paper, disinfectant wipes are not biodegradable and can cause a blockage in your pipes as they accumulate over time.

Myth #4: Running hot water down your garbage disposal will help food break down faster and go down the drain smoother.

Hot water actually dissolves fats and can cause a build-up of grease in your drain. You should only use cold water to flush food down your garbage disposal, as cold water causes grease to clump—preventing it from sticking to your drain pipe.

Myth #5: If you have a leaky faucet, you should just turn the tap handle harder.

Trying to force a shut tap handle even tighter will not resolve a leaky faucet. If your faucet is leaking when the handle is in the off position, it means that the internal valve is broken or damaged and the fixture should probably be replaced. While a drop from a leaky faucet here and there may seem like a mere nuisance, it can actually increase your water usage bill by several litres.

Myth #6: If you accidentally drop an item down the drain, you should use a plunger to retrieve it.

Using a plunger to retrieve an item that was accidentally flushed down the drain can sometimes cause more damage than was originally inflicted. Some try to retrieve their lost items by using a plunger, but this method can actually push the item further down the pipe. Also, never use a plunger after you have used a chemical drain cleaner, as backsplash could result in skin or eye damage. If you are unable to retrieve your flushed item with your hand or a hook, you may need to call a plumber for professional assistance.