It’s in our nature as humans to be reeled in when we discover a new ‘hack’. Someone who may or may not have tried something at home and put it on social media where it then became gospel truth!
Don’t be fooled by these “tips and tricks” when it comes to your home’s plumbing. Maintaining home plumbing is one of the least desirable aspects of homeownership. We will try just about anything to make our lives easier, simpler, and quicker.
Unfortunately, some of these plumbing myths will do more damage to your home plumbing than good. It can be a troublesome task, but if done right, can help you and your loved ones lead much more comfortable lives. Here, we outline some of the common myths and urban legends which burn a hole in your pocket for no reason.
Below is a list of just a handful of these myths and why they should be avoided. Just remember that before reading any further if you’re looking for plumbers in Cape Town to assist you with your DIY plumbing efforts, then contact us sooner rather than later, we’re here to help.
Bleach will solve all your problems
Leaving bleach-based cleaners to soak in your cistern or toilet bowl overnight to remove unsightly stains in the bowl will do nothing. In fact, chemicals will react with the build-up in your toilet caused by hard water and rust deposits, making it even more difficult to remove. If you use bleach to clean your toilet do not let it sit for longer than 10 minutes as bleach can degrade the working parts of your toilet and even corrode the whole toilet. This home plumbing myth could cost you the replacement of your toilet and pipes in the long run.
As long as it says ‘flushable’, it’s fine to flush
There are all kinds of wipes on the market nowadays. Moist wipes, baby wipes, make-up wipes, and feminine wipes, simply put, do not belong anywhere else than in the dustbin. Products now advertise certain wipes as being ‘flushable’, yet most of the drain clogs in the world are created by ‘flushable’ wipes. To avoid problems with your home plumbing, avoid flushing anything that isn’t toilet paper.
Drain cleaner is the best way to unclog a stubborn drain
If your goal is to do long-term damage to your home plumbing – go ahead and use chemical drain cleaners. This may sound harsh, but the sad reality is that while it may seem that it has cleared your blockage, it is only temporary and is likely to have done more harm than good to the pipes. Chemical drain cleaners are not only corrosive, they are an absolute no-go for septic tanks and the environment. So just avoid them altogether. A far more natural and effective way to clear a small clog is to pour bicarbonate of soda into the drain followed by a good cup or 2 of white vinegar. Allow the fizzing to do its job and once it’s done, flush the drain with hot water. If this, combined with plunging (if necessary) has not cleared the clog, it is time to call in a professional plumber as a blocked drain is not only inconvenient, it is also a breeding ground for germs that could affect your family’s health.
You can flush grease and oil down the drain as long as you flush it down with hot water
Please DO NOT try this at home folks! Any kind of fat/grease or oil (F.O.G) is never to be flushed down a drainpipe, whether accompanied by hot water or not. Hot water cools down and oil and fat solidify within your pipes and attracts and traps other food particles as they pass through. This causes a big messy and fatty blockage with you do not want to deal with! There are many ways to safely dispose of used grease and oil, but the drain is not one of them!
A leaking tap is fine to ignore
If we were to just focus on the money-saving aspect of this myth (leaving aside the obvious detrimental effect on the environment, you are spending 10% more every month on your water bill for every tap that drips. Why would we throw money away on a monthly basis on something that is so easy to fix? If you are unable to fix this yourself, don’t ignore it. A minor drip could be wasting as much as 2000 litres of precious water every year! Ouch!
If your drains are draining, all is good with your home plumbing
Nope! Out of sight, out of mind is one of the most dangerous phenomenons when it comes to home plumbing. Ask any plumber, just because you can’t see a problem, doesn’t mean it’s not there or about to become a huge problem. Flushed food such as rice or pasta may be swelling within your pipes and causing other food to become trapped rather than flushing away smoothly and easily. The same could be happening with solidified grease. Blockages don’t occur overnight. They are an accumulation of debris that has not been able to be flushed away effectively. Treat your drains kindly. Call in your local plumber to install hair traps in your bathroom drains and never flush food or grease and oil down the drain. Your wallet will thank you for caring for your drains in the long term.
Smelly drains? Fresh lemons will fix that!
Firstly, the citric acid contained in lemons is corrosive. Therefore it will corrode metal pipes and cause leaks and possibly even burst in your pipes. A good old flush with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar will remove odours and small clogs that are causing bad odours. If this does not help, you will need to bring in a professional plumbing company in Cape Town to inspect your drains before they overflow.
Most home plumbing problems are DIY jobs…
If that was the case, plumbers wouldn’t be in high demand. People who believe that they can fix home plumbing problems themselves are usually the ones who end up needing the emergency services of a plumber for big, expensive jobs that they messed up themselves.
Our hope is that this article has dispelled a few of the myths floating around on ways to improve your home plumbing, and will help you to save money and frustration in the long run. Short cuts often lead to big expensive repairs. The rule of thumb is, never ignore a small plumbing problem, because that small plumbing problem will become a huge plumbing problem before you know it! Contact Absolute Plumbing your friendly neighbourhood plumbers in Cape Town today if like many others out there your DIY methods have failed, we’re here to help.