How do you protect your pipes before a cold snap? You prepare your home and add insulation. Here are a few simple steps that you can do to ensure your home makes it through another cold season.
Doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, flushing the toilet and taking a shower are all things we do (hopefully) every day without a second thought. Proper maintenance is what keeps your plumbing working, so you don’t have to, so maybe it’s a good idea to take a quick look at some of the common myths about plumbing.
We’re not talking about whether or not your toilet bowl water spins differently in North America versus Australia (hint: it’s based on how the toilet is made). These are the hardest hitting myths and common questions, so grab a plunger and a mop.
Myth 1: A dripping faucet is no big deal.
It is a good idea to keep faucets dripping during freezing weather. Pipes exposed to harsh conditions can cause problems later if they are damaged due to freezing.
However, in the heat of the summer, or any other time of the year for that matter, a dripping faucet can be a drain to your wallet. A simple, slow drip can go through 3,000 gallons of water a year. What’s more, a constant drip can stain a sink and damage the seals of the fixture. Don’t let a simple fix turn into a bigger problem.
Myth 2: The garbage disposal can handle anything.
A garbage disposal is a dream of a kitchen tool. Doing dishes where you can lose a spaghetti noodle to the void is a wonderful peace of mind.
Over time the disposal can get grimy. Ice cubes and eggshells are great ways to clean your garbage disposal. Vinegar is one of the best ways to clean and deodorize it.
It’s not advisable to purposefully put large items in the disposal, especially if you have an older one still hanging around. If you have to do anything to the unit, follow the owner’s manual and unplug it first.
Myth 3: Lightning Can’t Travel Through the Drain.
Fact; Electricity can pass through the pipes with ease. If you find yourself in a thunderstorm, it may be a good idea to take a shower later. While it is incredibly uncommon, there have been cases of rats, mice, and even snakes coming up into the toilet bowl.
Myth 4: Just flush it, it won’t hurt the toilet.
It is surprising what abuse a toilet can take. Thousands of years of innovation have culminated into the porcelain throne. We may not have flying cars and hoverboards, but we do have bidets.
However, you can't just flush anything. Cat litter can scratch, stain, clog and carry parasites. Cat litter goes in the trash, not the toilet. Disposable wipes and towelettes are disposable, not flushable, which means they go into the trash. They do not break down like toilet paper, and they can back up more than just the toilet.
Also, a plunger won’t fix every problem. Sure, it can handle a small clog, but for those big problems, you’ll need to use different tools, chemicals or possibly call in the professionals.
You don’t have to soak your toilet in bleach to clean it. It doesn’t take long for bleach to do its job. Pour it in, do a quick scrub, and flush. Too long in the bowl can cause the seals to deteriorate and leak. Gross!
Myth 5: A water heater is a set-it-and-forget-it appliance
Sediment and hard water buildup can cause your water heater to lose its efficiency. Long hot showers in the morning are going to turn into a cold wakeup call. Regularly checking and maintaining your water heater can not only keep you warm in the tub but can help keep you safe. While it is incredibly uncommon, a water heater can fail and when they do the results can be explosive.
With good maintenance, your pipes should rarely ever cause you problems. However, accidents happen, two-year-olds flush weird stuff down the toilet and pipes will sometimes freeze. If you find yourself in some deep water, give us a call with any questions at (405) 895-6640 in North OKC or (405) 237-1414 in South OKC.