It is great to learn about plumbing and the internet is full of valuable information so you can fix common plumbing problems yourself. Just be careful where you get your information from because there is a lot of flat-out wrong info out there! Some of these plumbing myths won’t just cause serious problems, but can waste money too.
Myth: Coffee grounds clean garbage disposals
Putting coffee grounds down your garbage disposal is a terrible idea. It will not sharpen the blades or clear the drain – it will just likely cause a big clog. Likewise, putting lemons down the garbage disposal is also a bad idea.
Myth: You should pour cooking oil down your toilet
You know that you shouldn’t put cooking oil down your kitchen drain, but that doesn’t mean your toilet is a better option! It may be harder to clog a toilet, but cooking oil will still cause clogs (and toilet clogs are going to be a lot messier than a kitchen drain clog!). Never put cooking oil down any drain. Put it in a jar and throw it away.
Myth: You can fix plumbing leaks with caulk
If you have a very small leak, then caulk can be used as a temporary fix. Note the word temporary! Caulk is not going to hold up against the leak for a long time, and soon you will have leaking again. Except the next time around, you might not notice the leak until it cause serious damage.
Myth: Sewer problems are the city’s responsibility
From the street onwards, the sewer is the city’s responsibility. However, from the street to your home, the sewer main is YOUR responsibility. It is your job to make sure the sewer main is kept free of debris and obstructions (such as from tree roots). If any problem occurs, it is going to affect your entire plumbing system and you will be responsible for fixing it.
Myth: Chemical drain cleaners will clean pipes
Drain cleaners can be helpful for cleaning organic obstructions in a pipe (such a wad of hair or food debris). However, drain cleaners will not clean your pipes. Many pipe clogs are caused from years of buildup (especially from hard water, corrosion, cooking oils, and debris which went down the drains). To clean out this buildup, you will need to have your pipes water-jetted by a professional. Putting chemicals down an already-corroded pipe could cause serious damage!