There are some excellent plumbing tips out there being shared by thrifty, helpful people, but we all know that you can’t trust everything you read online.
Although there are some basic plumbing problems homeowners can successfully get to grips with themselves, there’s also plenty of advice you could do without.
Let’s have a look at some of the most potentially damaging plumbing myths that are commonly shared by those thrifty types online:
1) Leaky taps are a fact of life
A leaky tap will only be a fact of life if you don’t get it fixed. Taps only leak if there’s a problem, otherwise, your tap should be clean and drip-free.
You’ll also have to get used to higher water bills if you accept a leaky tap as the norm.
If left unchecked, the rot, rust and mould that can come with a leaky tap will add to your repair bill. It may even cause the need for a new tap altogether (especially areas with hard water) so your best bet is to fix it as soon as you find it.
If you’re not sure how there’s plenty of videos on YouTube to help you out. You can also call your local plumbing service who can advise you.
2) Putting a brick in the toilet tank will help to save water
You’ve got to love the ingenuity of someone who puts a brick in their toilet tank in an attempt to reduce their water bills.
Unfortunately, this ingenuity is completely misplaced – not only is this ‘age-old’ plumbing trick a complete myth, but there’s also a chance it could seriously damage your toilet.
Over time, the brick will deteriorate, break up and cause damage to parts like the flapper and other fixtures (which you’ll then have to replace) as well as running brick dust into the water system unnecessarily.
Since the actual science behind this technique is true, instead of using a brick, partially fill a plastic milk or juice container with sand or gravel, and the rest with water, then seal.
The water displacement this creates could help you save up to 350 gallons of water a month, so it’s still worth doing! Of course, the alternative is to invest in an environmentally friendly toilet that reduces the amount of water needed for a flush.
3) Flushable wipes are, uh, flushable
We’re not sure quite how the marketers of these wipes are using the word ‘flushable’, as its traditional definition ‘can be flushed’ does not apply.
Flushable wipes do not biodegrade so end up creating huge problems for homeowners, especially those with biological sewage systems as these wipes can really damage the internal working of these systems.
Though it’s lovely to be squeaky clean, make sure you put them in the bin from now on if you don’t want some hefty unblocking bills!
4) Remove toilet stains with concentrated bleach
Bleach is an incredibly powerful chemical that ideally should be kept well away from your toilet bowl.
It’s true that bleach is often included in many toilet cleaners, but it’s mixed with other chemicals that help to dampen its effect and is specifically designed not to damage your toilet as quickly.
Using concentrated bleach to clean your toilet could cause damage to its inner workings in as little as six months, as well as ruin your sewage system if you have a biological septic tank or sewage system.
If you do use a toilet cleaner that contains bleach, make sure you don’t let it sit in the bowl for more than five minutes, and instead of letting the bleach do all the work, a soft toilet brush will help to reduce the amount of cleaner needed.
5) Boiling water helps to prevent clogs
It’s true that pouring boiling water down the plughole can help to melt away grease and keep water draining properly. Unfortunately, this can simply be a way of delaying the problem rather than finding a solution.
When melted with hot water, the liquefied grease will travel down the pipes, where it’ll cool and re-solidify.
It then becomes a magnet for just about everything else that’s washed down your sink, especially hair and food particles which can also create a nasty smell.
Instead, consider using a combination of baking soda and vinegar, letting it work its magic on the oil or grease, and then washing it down with hot water. If you’re not sure when to do this, there’s a guide available here.
6) Flushing all the toilets in a tower block…
What better way to end our list of plumbing myths than with a little bit of fun?
It’s said that, if by some frightful quirk of fate, all the toilets in a tower block were to be flushed at the same time, it could bring the entire building down.
Fortunately, this is not the case! Tower blocks are designed with several plumbing systems to reduce the possibility of failure – so there won’t be any toilet fountains in your flat block, even if you coordinate your flushes perfectly!
Make sure you do your homework
Before you follow a plumbing myth and potentially cause a huge amount of damage, make sure you research the problem thoroughly and consult reputable sources. The last thing you want is to have to call out emergency plumbers!