9 Common Plumbing Myths That Are Either Useless Or Harmful

It’s never fun to deal with plumbing issues within your home. Whether you’re plunging your toilet or cleaning your shower drain, you’re not going to have fun while working on some malfunctioning part of your bathroom. Of course, a home’s plumbing system relates to every part of the house that deals with running water in some way. Your garden hose and kitchen sink are also connected to the plumbing system, which in a lot of ways is somewhat of an unsung hero of the home. After all, we don’t want to think much about plumbing and piping systems. But when they aren’t working properly, we certainly notice rather quickly. While it can be something of a pain to pay for emergency repairs, it’s worth it in the long term to pay for the assistance of a professional plumber, as opposed to dealing with it on your own. There is a big difference between the aforementioned toilet plunging and seriously involved plumbing repairs. Plumbing repairs are a necessary part of maintaining a home over an extended period of time, but the unfortunate fact is that there are a lot of people don’t understand when to call a professional plumber and when to handle an issue on their own.

This is in part because there are a lot of plumbing myths that many of us have been raised on before owning our own homes. For example, a lot of people over-use bleach when cleaning their sink, toilets, and bathtubs, thinking that if it’s left to linger it will properly clean the area, where in fact if it’s left too long it may cause more harm than good. If using bleach to clean a toilet, for example, it must be removed within 10 minutes to ensure that there isn’t any corrosion. The more you know about these myths, the easier it will be for you to take care of your plumbing system. With that being said, let’s look into some of the most common plumbing myths that people often become confused about, and compare them to reality.

1. Water Heaters Can Be Left Alone

Many people have the perception that water heaters can be left unattended; even if they have initial anxiety about them, this is often brushed away. After all, it’s not as if water heaters can explode, can they? Unfortunately, it’s quite possible for this to happen, if water heaters are not maintained as they should be. The fact is that water heaters are built on creating pressure. This pressure builds up over time, which can cause a water heater to burst. The way that they prevent this from happening is through a relief valve. The pressure relief valve should work automatically, but it can potentially fail.

This can be prevented, rather simply, through proper maintenance. Ideally, water heater maintenance should be done on a yearly basis, during which the tank will be flushed. Furthermore, if any water heater repairs need to be done, the issue will be caught at this time. A lot of plumbing myths lie in the fact that people are unaware of necessary maintenance, but it’s an important part of keeping up with your home in general. A lot of common plumbing services are actually not based on repairs, but based on maintenance. Ultimately, it’s more cost effective to invest in regular maintenance than to pay for extensive repairs following damage.

2. You Can Snake A Drain With A Wire Hanger

Clogs are not uncommon in any home. While toilets can easily become clogged over time, shower or sink drains can also become clogged in a way that cannot be managed through drain cleaning solutions. This can be related to regular hair loss in the shower or tub, or perhaps excess food in the kitchen sink. With that being said, clogs are often cleared through the process of “snaking”. Snaking involves using a thin tool that slips through the pipes and breaks up the clog. One of the most common plumbing myths is that a wire hanger can be straightened and used as a makeshift drain snake. Theoretically, this makes sense. But in reality, snaking a drain is much more complicated than it looks.

A wire hanger is actually made of the wrong material, and therefore will scratch interior surfaces and potentially cause permanent damage. This damage can actually make it easier for buildup to occur, therefore making clogs worse in the long term. While you can potentially wrap a cloth around the end of the wire hanger and secure it with a rubber band, it’s smarter to either buy a proper drain snake, which is also more flexible, through a home improvement store; or to simply call professional plumbers to help.

3. Pipes Don’t Need To Be Replaced

Understandably, a lot of older homes have older piping systems as well. While their issues may not be immediately apparent, it’s not true that older piping systems don’t need to be replaced. In fact, a lot of the problems that occur with old pipes are not immediately noticeable. Furthermore, many old pipes are made of lead, which can obviously lead to issues if that lead filters into the water you drink or bathe with. All lead piping systems should really be replaced as a safety precaution, and if your home is older, making the pipes 70 years or older, the entire system should be replaced either way.

Not only do new piping systems simply work more reliably; they also can actually save you money in the long term. This is because they are overall more water efficient, which means that you don’t have to spend as much money on your water bills. While that initial upgrade may be somewhat expensive, as with many plumbing costs, you should think about the long-term investment.

4. You Can Flush Cat Litter

Among the most regularly flaunted plumbing myths is the idea that all cat little is safe to flush down the toilet. While there are specific types of cat litter that are made to be safe to flush, a lot of different types are not only unsafe, but entirely harmful when flushed due to the fact that they contain materials that are not water soluble. In actuality, however, you should think twice about flushing it either way.

This is because the waste that is found in the litter box is the real problem. Cat waste can actually contain harmful parasites that may not be completely cleared once the toilet is flushed. Therefore, those parasites may linger around the bathroom or toilet, and can be harmful to those that use these spaces. These parasites are particularly harmful to pregnant women, making it better practice to simply toss all cat litter and waste out in the trash.

5. You Can Flush Wipes Down The Toilet

When it comes to items that we think we can flush down the toilet, there are actually a lot of different misconceptions and plumbing myths. Another common myth is the idea that seemingly-flushable wipes can be flushed at all. There are two issues with the idea of flushable wipes.

Wipes are often called flushable simply because they can make it down the drain. This doesn’t mean that they won’t get caught in the pipes further down, potentially causing a need for an emergency plumbing repair down the road. It’s almost worse to flush something like this that does make it down the drain, as this means that a simple plunging won’t fix the problem. For that matter, these wipes don’t break down, which means that they can have a negative environmental impact. Wipes are much thicker than toilet paper and are less water soluble even than paper towels. Ultimately, anything of this type of material really shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet. If it can’t be broken down through water, don’t flush it; take that as a general rule when it comes to dispelling plumbing myths.

6. Grease Can Make It Down The Drain With Boiling Water

A lot of people feel like it’s just fine to push grease down the drain, providing that this grease is pushed down with boiling hot water. In theory, the boiling water may make it easier for the grease to make it down the drain at first, it won’t do anything in the long term. Grease won’t be broken up by boiling water, and it can easily get caught up and clogged within your piping system.

For that matter, in the long term a grease buildup can cause a serious clog or even a breakdown within your pipes. The last thing anyone would want is a new plumbing installation due to a grease buildup. But if you make combining grease with boiling water a regular habit, this may be something you’re faced with down the road. Nothing will effectively break up that grease, and therefore it belongs in the trash rather than the drain.

7. Putting A Brick In The Toilet Saves You Water

This may be one of the more old-fashioned plumbing myths, but it’s certainly not completely out of the ordinary for people to use it today. Nobody knows exactly where the myth began, and professional plumbers consider it completely ridiculous. Yet a lot of people, based on advice from their parents, place a brick in their water tank in order to conserve water and save money. Not only does this do absolutely nothing practical to aid in the toilet’s water conservation; it could actually have negative consequences.

Your water flow can actually be disrupted, as the brick will be in the way of the flow. This means that the toilet’s flush will actually be weaker in the long term. A weaker break can also break apart, therefore causing long-term damage to the toilet. The toilet could end up leaking due to this damage, resulting in water damage that you aren’t even aware of. There are a lot of fixes that can actually amend the same issue you may have been trying to solve with the brick. This will include water-saving flushers and faucets, as well as water-efficient shower heads. Ultimately, if you’re looking to cut down on your water usage, you would be much better off seeking advice from a professional versus following old wive’s tales.

8. You Can Ignore A Leaky Faucet

Perhaps one of the most problematic plumbing myths, which actually has to do with the myth mentioned above, is that a leaky faucet can actually be mended. A leaky faucet can actually cause you to lose a lot of water over time, even if it seems to be merely a minor, slow-moving drip. Of course, lost water in turn will result in a great deal of lost money. On average, the leakage rate per faucet stands at around 10,000 liters on a global level.

Simply by calling a plumber and having your faucet fixed, you can save at least 10% of your water bill. This will save you money, of course, but is also environmentally friendly.

9. Ice Cubes Sharpen Your Garbage Disposal Blades

While this isn’t one of the more immediately harmful myths, it’s remarkably common. Even some maintenance professionals advise people to put ice down their garbage disposal in order to sharpen the blades. This actually doesn’t work at all. While there are grooves within the disposal that are cleaned through ice, the ice doesn’t actually sharpen the blades in any way. The ice doesn’t cause any harm, but if you need the blades to be sharpened, you should talk to a professional plumber.

If you feel as if your garbage disposal does need a good cleaning, toss the ice in there. However, you can also use eggshells. Either way, have no fear!

Clearly, a lot of plumbing myths are either completely useless, or cause actual harm to your plumbing system. Therefore, you should treat your system with care and ultimately be unafraid to simply talk to your plumber about any issues within your system. They’re happy to help, and they know what they’re doing!


24 Jul 2020

Understanding the Various Types of Roofing Materials

When people are feeling grateful for what they have in life they might utter the phrase, “As long as I have a roof over my head…” The roof is one of the most important parts of any building. They play a vital role in protecting the building from weather damage. Since they are so important to our standards of living, we want to make sure that we take good care of them. Hiring quality roofing services for installation and repair work is a great example of TLC. It is important to learn about the various types of roofing materials first.

Commercial vs Residential Roofing

Not all roofs are the same. Depending on the types of buildings, they have some different purposes and require different maintenance and repair work. There are various types of roofing materials that are unique to each type of roof. It is important to understand these differences so that you can be better equipped to take care of them.

Roofs related to businesses and other buildings you might find in your downtown city area are part of commercial roofing. They usually have a flat-top design. For commercial roofs, the design is rather irrelevant. The function is a much larger priority. These buildings are so tall, that the top of the roof is mostly obstructed from view. These roofs need to have more strength so that they can hold all of the structures and machines that are up there. Air conditioning units, communication machines, and electrical units are all stored on a commercial roof.

Asphalt roofing is one of the various types of roofing materials that commercial roofs are made from. These roofs need a strong material like this to hold the machinery safely. Metal is also a popular choice for a commercial roof. Since metal can rust, metal roofs should be protected with several protective layers. Some advantages of a metal roof include its durability and fire-resistant qualities. Due to its durability, it is more sustainable and good for the environment.

Due to the flat top design, you need to pay closer attention to the maintenance of commercial roofs. While rain and snow can slide right off a sloped roof, it can collect and pool on the flat surface of this roof. Business owners should find a quality roof cleaning service and schedule frequent appointments for a deep clean.

However, residential roofing is much different in both design and functionality. Since they are viewable, the design is a much bigger factor than it is for commercial roofs. Maintenance of the roof is not as intensive as a commercial roof since water does not pool on top. However, these roofs also endure wear and tear over the years. Afterward, the tiles will have to be replaced.

There are several different methods for tile replacement. To save costs, you can utilize the stacking tile method. Labor costs represent a significant portion of the budget. When you replace the tiles entirely, the crew will spend time removing the old ones. By just stacking the new tiles on top, they can cut down considerably on time. This can also work out to be an advantage for the roofing crew as well. The less time they spend on your roof, the more appointments they can make with other clients. It turns into a win-win situation overall.

There are many plus points for getting your roof tiles replaced or stacked. It will help with your homeowner’s insurance rate. The insurance company itself might request that you have your roof serviced. An unstable roof is susceptible to leakage. When a roof leaks, the water damage can be disastrous. Mold and mildew can develop. This presents several health risks for you and your family. These health risks could be even more heightened if someone has a respiratory ailment, such as asthma. Repairing a leaky roof is a costly job that could be prevented with proper due diligence.

Asphalt shingles remain the most popular among the various types of roofing materials. These shingles are noted for their strength and durability. Clay shingles are also among the most popular materials as well. Clay material roofs are noted for their long-lasting nature. They are also more environmentally friendly. Clay roofs, as well as concrete and slate materials, are known for their long-lasting nature. Manufacturers will even offer warranties as long as fifty years for their customers. They are built to last and require little maintenance. Leaking is very rare among tile roofs. They also come in many different colors and can match well with any type of home style. While tile roofs can be on the expensive side, the many distinct advantages make them a plus.

Single Ply Roofing

Single-ply roofing is one of the various types of roofing materials and is commonly used on low slope roofs. They use wide width sheeting and use fewer seams than an asphalt roof. Unlike asphalt roofs, single ply roofing does not require torches, making installation a much safer practice. The detailing accessories are prefabricated so that the installation process can run much more smoothly.

There are four basic system assemblies used in the single-ply roofing process. These are ballasted, mechanically attached, fully adhered, and metal retrofit. The ballasted roof system has a relatively easy installation. They are most often used in the construction of larger retail stores and warehouses. The membrane of the roof is usually held in place by stones or pavers. The ballast protects the membrane from the weather. The mechanically attached system is the most popular choice among commercial roofing and is considered an upgrade over the ballasted system. It is lightweight and maintenance is relatively simple. The roofs are held in place using plates and fasteners.

Fully adhered is the next system used in single-ply roofing. The fully adhered system is notable for its stability and the uplift protection it provides. This system is most popular among buildings in high elevations and in areas where high wind is a common occurrence. They use adhesives such as water and asphalt-based, bonding adhesive, and others. The last single-ply roofing system is the metal retrofit system. The benefits of this method include the savings you will incur. Removal can be costly so in the metal retrofit system, the roof is completely encapsulated over the old roof. The flutes are filled, the metal deck is covered in insulation and the membrane is installed at the top. This system will help you save money on your energy bill and it also prevents outside noise from bothering the people inside the building. If you are in the market for a commercial roofing installation, you should consider any of these methods while reviewing the various types of roofing materials.

Choosing the Right Roofing Company

When you require some roof repairs or installation, there are several important decisions that you will need to make. Conducting pertinent research is vital to finding any contractor. Recommendations from trusted friends, family, and colleagues is a great place to start. You might rely on these suggestions when finding the right electrician, plumber, or general contractor. The right roofer should be no different. If you value the opinion of these important people in your life, they hopefully will not steer you wrong. You can also visit a consumer review website to gauge the reputation of the company.

Reputation is an important factor in most people’s evaluation. If there’s a roofing company that has been around thirty or forty years, then you can surmise that they “must be doing something right.” Companies with poor business sense and/or shoddy work, no matter what industry they’re in, will likely not last long.

It is ok to feel a little picky with this decision. This is your home or business and you want to make sure that the work is well done. If you live in a small town you might not have much of a variety to choose from. The town may only have one roofing company. You might even find someone who is a combination “roofer, mechanic, plumber, etc.” This “jack of all trades” handyperson may not be the most reliable since they have so much on their plate. Consider going outside of the area to choose a roofer. There might be some high-quality roofers a few towns over. There can be some issues with this choice, however. Contractors generally include travel costs in your bill. The farther they have to travel, the higher rate will be. If you live too far away from their home site, they might outright refuse your request.

During this evaluation period, you should also visit the company website and ask them some questions to get a better sense of their methods. You can ask them about the various types of roofing materials that are available. These people are experts and most likely know a lot more than you when it comes to roofing. They can advise on which materials are best suited for your roof. They can also inform you about their methodology and practices. When the roofers come to work on your property, it is important to treat them with respect. Safety is the number one priority. Any experienced roofer should have their safety measures in place. You can help them out by providing them with cold water throughout the day. Roofers often work in the sweltering heat and hydration is a literal lifesaver. They should appreciate the gesture.

If you are looking for ways to save on this roof replacement or repair, talk with the company and they could help you. They could suggest the shingle stacking method to cut down on labor costs. The various types of roofing materials come at vastly different prices. The roofer can tell you which materials are more affordable. You should not, however, sacrifice quality for the cheapest material. If they have to be constantly replaced or repaired, then it will wind up costing you more. You can also save money by scheduling during the “off” periods of the year. Since roofing is an outdoor job, the spring and summer months are the busy times for them. During the fall and winter months, they are less busy, and they could offer some discounts. As long as there are no snowstorms, they should be able to work on your roof.

Roof Ventilation

Ventilation is also an important component in having a quality roof. If a roof is properly ventilated, it can extend its life over twenty years. Ventilation systems allow cooler air in and hotter air to flow outwards. When a home is not properly ventilated it will harm your roof. During the hotter months, the increased temperatures can affect the heated air. Overloaded air conditioners can ruin shingles and cause them to fall. This will lead to possible leaks. In the colder months, the heated air will mix with the vapors. This will eventually lead to mold and mildew. This can affect your roofing studs.

You can consult with the roofing company on the various basics of how to ventilate the roof and prevent these issues from arising. The repair work used to rectify these problems can be rather costly. By utilizing common sense and preventative measures, you will nip the problem in the bud. Intake and exhaust vents will help to properly ventilate your home or business. Intake vents help to reduce attic heat effectively. They can also prevent ice dams from forming on the various types of roofing materials. Soffit and fascia vents are two examples of vents. Exhaust vents are placed at the top of the roof. They provide an exit for hot air, heat, and moisture that is in the attic. All of these ventilation practices will help extend the life of the roof and save you money.

There are several important items to consider when choosing the right methods for roof repairs. The various types of roofing materials are a large part of it. You can consult with whatever company you hire and ask for their recommendations. Your home or your business help make you, you. It is important to take pride in them. By following some of these tips, you will leave a lasting impression.

23 Jun 2020


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01 Jan 2012