I think we have heard of some goofy plumbing myth before. For instance, people will put ice cubes down their garbage disposal to sharpen the blades. Some people have been known to put a brick in their toilet to save water. These are all plumbing myths. Someone posts something online, and it becomes the gospel. Consequently, other people discover that information online and then they post the information on their blog as though it was the truth. There are many plumbing myths out on the internet, but we need to get the information straight. Let’s answer those plumbing questions with facts.
#1 of the Plumbing Questions -When I go on vacation, should I turn off my water?
I think we can all agree that a vacation is where we recharge our proverbial batteries. We certainly don’t want to come home to a flooded house. So, the answer is YES! When you take a vacation, turn your water off before you leave. Even a small pipe leak could cause significant damage if left for an extended period. Older homes are the most at risk of a pipe leak, so be especially careful if you have an older home. You may want to consider a smart home leak detector that connects to your main water service pipe. It connects to your WiFi from a downloaded app on your smartphone. The smart home leak detector will alert you if a water leak occurs in your home. Some devices can turn your water off right from your phone.
#2 of the Plumbing Questions -What I can and cannot put down my garbage disposal?
Let’s talk about sharpening the blades in your garbage disposal by pouring ice down it. First, your disposal does not have blades; it has impellers that force the food particles against a grind ring, liquifying them. The running water flushes the particles into the wastewater pipe then out into the sewer.
Most of us treat our garbage disposal like it’s a trash compactor and put anything down it that will fit. If you want to maintain the integrity of your sewer line and your garbage disposal, there are some things you should not put down your disposal.
I would usually put coffee grounds and potato peels on the NO list. I didn’t because you can put them down in small quantities. Some people put them down the drain in large amounts – don’t do that! If broken down into small quantities, it’s fine going down the garbage disposal. But if you put them down in large amounts, your disposal could jam or clog.
Here’s the “No in Disposal” list:
- Bones – Your disposal was not meant for something as hard as bones.
- No rice, pasta, oatmeal, or grits because they will clog your pipes.
- Nuts – All you need to do is think about how peanut butter is made, and I think you’ll get the point.
- Eggshells – Are not made for your disposal, but they are great for the garden.
- Anything fibrous such as banana peels, celery or pumpkins
- Corn husks – Also, fibrous husk and fine threads of corn silk create a dual-threat for disposals
- Pits or avocado seeds – If you cannot chop it with a knife, don’t put it down your drain.
- No paint, household fluids, or automotive fluids
- No cooking grease, oils, butter, meet, or lard
The next question is, what can we put down our garbage disposal? Almost all fruit scraps and vegetable scraps can go down the garbage disposal. (You can also compost them.)
#3 of the Plumbing Questions – Can I pour chemical drain cleaners down my clogged drains?
While most plumbers will tell you ‘no,’ it isn’t suitable for your plumbing pipes. Let’s clear the air about the two most popular drain cleaners on the market, Drano® and Liquid Plumber®. First, neither products are suitable for clearing clogged toilets, nor were they designed to do so. The products are designed to remove clogged or slow-moving bathroom drains. They work perfectly to remove black slime from your sinks and bathtub. These products will not harm plastic or metal pipes; in fact, those that say they will damage pipes have not performed their research. The problem is, some liquid drain uncloggers contain acidic chemicals such as sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid, which can damage porcelain, metal, and almost any other material. All drain uncloggers are not equal; some are perfectly safe for your drains, while others can cause them to damage. Read your labels and stay informed. Drano® and Liquid Plumber® will not harm your drains.