Flush Away Falsehoods: 5 Myths About Plumbing You Need to Debunk Today

Plumbing systems are an essential part of our homes, yet they often fall victim to misconceptions. In the following sections, let’s address “5 myths about plumbing you need to debunk.” By flushing away these five common plumbing myths and uncovering the truth behind them, you’ll be better equipped to maintain your home’s plumbing and avoid costly issues down the line.

Key Takeaways

  • Garbage disposals and toilets should not be used to dispose of certain items.
  • Dripping faucets can lead to water wastage, higher bills, and corrosion.
  • Professional plumbers are more qualified than DIY fixes for complex plumbing issues. Chemical drain cleaners may not be safe or effective.

Myth 1: Garbage Disposals Can Handle Anything

Garbage disposal system with caution sign

One of the most pervasive and biggest plumbing myths is that garbage disposals and toilets, including the toilet tank, can handle anything you throw at them. However, this belief can lead to disastrous consequences for your plumbing system.

Many items should not be disposed of in garbage disposals or toilets. For instance, sanitary napkins, grease, baby wipes, litter, cotton, and food should be kept away from toilets, and excessive amounts of toilet paper should also be avoided. Similarly, lemon peels, pasta, stringy vegetables, and grease are among the items that should never enter your garbage disposal, as they can damage the garbage disposal blades and lead to clogs.

Ignoring these guidelines can result in a clogged toilet and blockages in your plumbing system, causing backups and potential damage. Do not flush the following items down your toilet:

  • Baby wipes
  • Facial tissues
  • Cotton balls
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Paper towels

Flushing these items can create significant issues for your home’s plumbing.

So, what’s the proper way to dispose of these items? Rather than placing them in your garbage disposal or toilet, it’s best to dispose of them in the trash or, when applicable, compost them. By doing so, you’ll prevent clogs and keep your plumbing system running smoothly.

Having dispelled this initial plumbing myth, we’ll proceed to discuss other common plumbing myths and prevalent misunderstandings, with some plumbing myths debunked along the way.

Myth 2: A Dripping Faucet is No Big Deal

Many people believe that a dripping faucet is a minor issue that can be ignored. Unfortunately, this plumbing myth can cost you money and cause damage to your pipes and fixtures, potentially leading to costly repairs.

Attending to a dripping faucet is paramount. Leaky faucets can lead to water wastage, higher bills, and corrosion and damage to pipes and fixtures. Rectifying a leaky faucet can lead to savings on water bills and avert additional complications.

A dripping faucet can have a significant impact on your water bills. Depending on the rate of the leak, you could lose gallons of water per day. This waste not only increases your water bill but also affects the efficiency of your water heater.

A leaking faucet can cause various types of damage, including:

  • Water damage to wooden cabinets, floors, and furniture
  • Higher water bills
  • Overflows
  • Drain clogs
  • Possible structural damage from improper disposal of items in toilets.

With a better understanding of the consequences of a dripping faucet, it’s clear that addressing this plumbing issue is essential.

We’ll now dispel another fallacy about the experts who deal with these plumbing challenges.

Myth 3: All Plumbers Are Created Equal

The belief that all plumbers are created equal is another common plumbing myth. In fact, plumbers possess diverse skills, training, and licenses, underscoring the importance of selecting a trustworthy plumbing company.

A plumber’s skill set can include mechanical aptitude, physical abilities, knowledge of plumbing principles, problem-solving capabilities, administrative abilities, dexterity, physical strength, and familiarity with tools and plumbing fixtures. To become a professional plumber, one must obtain a high school diploma or GED, enroll in plumbing training courses, find a plumber apprenticeship program, and complete the apprenticeship to gain hands-on training and experience.

The licenses required for a plumber to operate may vary depending on the location and type of work being done. Common examples include the Journeyman Plumber License, Master Plumber License, and Plumbing Contractor License. Always check with the local licensing board for the exact requirements applicable to your area and ensure the plumber you hire can handle all your plumbing needs.

Hiring an inexperienced or unlicensed plumber can lead to improper repairs and further damage to your home’s plumbing. Opting for a trustworthy plumbing company guarantees that your plumbing problems will be managed with professionalism and efficiency.

Having dispelled this fallacy, we’ll turn our attention to a topic that poses a challenge to many homeowners: DIY plumbing fixes.

Myth 4: DIY Plumbing Fixes Are Always Enough

Professional plumber fixing complex plumbing issue

The belief that DIY plumbing fixes are always sufficient is another widespread myth. While some minor plumbing issues can be resolved by homeowners, complex plumbing problems require professional expertise to avoid costly mistakes and further damage.

DIY plumbing fixes can often lead to more significant issues if not done correctly. For example, homeowners may:

  • Fail to address leaks promptly
  • Dispose of inappropriate items in the toilet
  • Utilize chemical cleansers to unclog drains
  • Use pipes of an incorrect size or that are not compatible
  • Neglect to detach the garden hose before winterizing the plumbing system

Recognizing when professional assistance is necessary can help you avoid expensive and lengthy repairs. Complex plumbing issues, such as those involving hot water heaters, clogged toilets, or major leaks, should be addressed by a professional plumber to ensure the problem is resolved correctly and efficiently.

Many homeowners may be tempted to tackle plumbing issues themselves to save money. However, investing in professional help can prevent further damage and expensive repairs in the long run. Knowing when to summon the experts for your home’s plumbing is fundamental.

Having discussed the restrictions of DIY plumbing fixes, we’ll dispel a final misunderstanding about chemical drain cleaners.

Myth 5: Chemical Drain Cleaners Are Safe and Effective

Many people believe that chemical drain cleaners are a safe and effective solution for clearing clogs. However, this plumbing myth can cause more harm than good. Chemical drain cleaners can corrode pipes, leading to collapses or leaks and resulting in expensive repairs. These cleaners may not fully clear clogs, especially those caused by flushable wipes. Under such circumstances, seeking advice from a professional plumber for secure and efficient solutions is advisable.

If you encounter a major drain clog, it’s best to contact a plumbing expert to assess the situation and provide a safe and efficient solution. Taking this step will safeguard your pipes from any potential harm inflicted by chemical drain cleaners, maintaining your plumbing system in prime condition.


In conclusion, debunking common plumbing myths is essential for maintaining a healthy plumbing system and avoiding costly repairs. Understanding the limitations of garbage disposals, the importance of addressing dripping faucets, the varying skill sets of plumbers, the potential pitfalls of DIY plumbing fixes, and the dangers of chemical drain cleaners will help you make informed decisions about your home’s plumbing. Armed with knowledge, you can prevent plumbing issues and ensure your system operates smoothly and efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a common mistake in plumbing?

One of the most frequent mistakes in plumbing is attempting DIY jobs without the right tools and knowledge, leading to connections being overtightened or local codes being ignored.

What are some interesting facts about plumbing?

Plumbing was invented in Ancient Greece and it’s estimated that the average American spends 240 days on the toilet. The first city in America to use plumbing was established before toilet paper was used, and faucet leaks can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water per year.

What are the common plumbing issues?

Common plumbing issues include clogged drains and toilets, leaky faucets and pipes, water heater issues, low water pressure, and a running toilet.

How does plumbing affect your daily life?

Plumbing is essential for your daily life, providing water and heating/cooling throughout your home. It is a network of pipes and valves that delivers water to your fixtures and appliances.

What items should not be disposed of in garbage disposals and toilets?

Sanitary napkins, grease, baby wipes, litter, cotton, food, lemon peels, pasta, stringy vegetables, and grease should not be disposed of in toilets or garbage disposals.


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