Plumbing Myths Busted: Facts You Should Know

Plumbing Myths Busted: Facts You Should Know

Plumbing Myths – Ever wondered if putting ice cubes in your garbage disposal sharpens the blades? Or maybe you’ve heard that flushing a lemon peel down the toilet makes it smell better? 

These are just a few examples of the many plumbing myths floating around. But how do you know what’s true and what’s just a myth? In this blog, we’ll bust some common plumbing myths and give you the facts you need to know.

Plumbing myths busted

Photo by Yevhen Prozhyrko on Shutterstock.

Importance of Debunking Plumbing Myths

Debunking plumbing myths is essential because these misconceptions can lead to costly mistakes, wasted resources, and even damage to your home’s plumbing system. Understanding the facts helps you take better care of your plumbing and avoid unnecessary repairs.

Believing in and acting on plumbing myths can have serious repercussions. From clogged pipes to damaged appliances, these myths can cause extensive and expensive damage. Knowing the truth can save you money and headaches in the long run.

Myth 1: Hot Water Melts Grease in Pipes

Explanation and Reality

You might think that running hot water while pouring grease down the drain will keep it from clogging. After all, hot water melts grease, right? Wrong! While hot water does melt grease, it only stays liquid for a short time. 

As the grease travels down the pipes, it cools and solidifies again. This can lead to serious clogs over time, as the grease builds up inside your pipes. Believing in such plumbing myths can result in costly repairs and damage to your plumbing system.

Proper Methods to Handle Grease

So, what should you do with grease? The best way to handle it is to let it cool down in a container, like an old can or a jar. Once it’s solidified, you can throw it in the trash. This simple step can save you a lot of trouble and prevent major plumbing issues in your home. 

Just remember, keeping grease out of your pipes is a small effort that can make a big difference. Avoiding this common plumbing myth will help maintain the health of your plumbing system.

Myth 2: Flushable Wipes Are Safe for Plumbing

Truth About “Flushable” Products

Many wipes are labeled as “flushable,” making it seem like they’re safe for your plumbing. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Unlike toilet paper, these wipes don’t break down quickly in water. 

They stay intact and can cause significant blockages in your plumbing and septic systems. Even if they manage to go down your toilet, they often get stuck somewhere in the pipes, creating nasty clogs that can be expensive to fix. This is one of the plumbing myths that can lead to severe plumbing issues if not properly addressed.

Recommendations for Disposal

To keep your plumbing system safe, it’s best to throw wipes in the trash instead of flushing them. Even if the package says they’re flushable, don’t take the risk. It’s a simple change that can prevent a lot of headaches and protect your plumbing from blockages. By disposing of wipes correctly, you can avoid falling for these plumbing myths and ensure the smooth functioning of your plumbing system.

Myth 3: Ice Cubes Sharpen Garbage Disposal Blades

Misconception vs. Fact

A popular myth is that putting ice cubes in your garbage disposal will sharpen its blades. However, this is not true. Garbage disposals don’t have sharp blades; they have impellers, which are more like blunt teeth that grind food into tiny particles. Ice cubes do not sharpen these impellers.

Proper Maintenance Tips

While ice cubes won’t sharpen your garbage disposal, they can help clean it. The ice can knock off food particles and debris that might be stuck. For regular maintenance, you can clean your garbage disposal with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. 

Just pour half a cup of baking soda down the disposal, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Let it fizz and sit for a few minutes, then rinse it with hot water. This method helps to keep your disposal clean and fresh without causing any damage.

Myth 4: Lemons Clean Garbage Disposals

Why This is Ineffective

Some people think that flushing a lemon down the garbage disposal will clean it and make it smell nice. While lemons can temporarily mask bad odors, they don’t actually clean your disposal. In fact, the citric acid in lemons can corrode the metal parts inside the disposal, leading to potential damage over time.

Alternative Cleaning Methods

A better way to clean your garbage disposal is to use baking soda and vinegar. This natural combination is effective and safe for your disposal. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the disposal, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Let it fizz and sit for a few minutes, then rinse it with hot water. This will help to clean and deodorize your disposal without causing any damage.

Myth 5: Putting a Brick in Your Toilet Saves Water

Potential Damage Caused by This Myth

You might have heard that placing a brick in your toilet tank can save water with each flush. While this idea seems clever, it can actually cause more harm than good. The brick can displace water, reducing the amount of water per flush, but it can also prevent the toilet from flushing properly. Over time, the brick can break down and cause damage to the internal parts of your toilet, leading to expensive repairs.

Efficient Water-Saving Techniques

A better way to save water is to upgrade to a low-flow toilet. These toilets are designed to use less water while still providing powerful flushes. Another simple tip is to check for leaks and fix them promptly, as even small leaks can waste a lot of water over time.

Myth 6: Leaky Faucets Are No Big Deal

Consequences of Ignoring Leaks

You might think that a leaky faucet is just a minor inconvenience, but even a small drip can waste a lot of water over time. This not only leads to higher water bills but also contributes to environmental waste. 

Ignoring a leaky faucet can also lead to more significant issues, such as water damage and mold growth in your home. It’s important to address these small leaks promptly to prevent further complications.

Steps to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Fixing a leaky faucet is usually straightforward. Often, the problem is a worn-out washer or gasket that needs replacing. You can find these parts at most hardware stores, and there are plenty of online guides to help you with the replacement. 

If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, calling a professional plumber is always a good option. Addressing the leak promptly can save you money and prevent further damage. Remember, taking care of these seemingly small issues can prevent major plumbing myths from causing larger problems in your home.

Hand putting baking soda in drain to clear drain clog

Photo by Nick Alias on Shutterstock.

Myth 7: Using Chemical Drain Cleaners is Safe

Risks Associated with Chemical Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners might seem like an easy solution for clogged drains, but they can be harmful to your pipes and the environment. These cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can corrode your pipes, leading to leaks and long-term damage. 

Additionally, they can be dangerous to handle and pose health risks if not used properly. Believing in this plumbing myth can result in more harm than good.

Safer Alternatives for Unclogging Drains

For a safer approach, use mechanical methods like plungers or plumbing snakes to clear clogs. These tools are effective and won’t harm your pipes. For stubborn clogs, you can try a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. 

Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of vinegar. Let it fizz and sit for a few minutes, then flush with hot water. If these methods don’t work, it’s best to call a professional plumber to avoid causing further damage. Taking care of your plumbing with these safe methods can help you avoid falling for harmful plumbing myths.

Myth 8: Over-Tightening Faucet Handles Stops Leaks

How Over-Tightening Can Cause Damage

It’s a common belief that over-tightening faucet handles will stop leaks. However, over-tightening can actually damage the faucet, causing more leaks and leading to costly repairs. The added pressure can wear out the washers and other internal parts, making the problem worse.

Correct Way to Handle Faucet Leaks

If a faucet is leaking, the correct approach is to check the washers or cartridges and replace them if necessary. These parts are often inexpensive and easy to replace. Avoid over-tightening the handles, as this can cause further damage. If you’re unsure how to fix the leak, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber.

Myth 9: It’s Normal for Water Pressure to Fluctuate

What Fluctuating Water Pressure Indicates

Fluctuating water pressure is not normal and can indicate underlying issues such as leaks, blockages, or problems with the water supply. Consistent water pressure is essential for the proper functioning of your plumbing system.

Solutions for Stable Water Pressure

Regular maintenance and inspections can help identify and resolve issues causing water pressure fluctuations. If you notice changes in your water pressure, it’s essential to address the problem promptly. This might involve checking for leaks, cleaning out clogged pipes, or adjusting the pressure regulator. If the problem persists, contact a professional plumber to diagnose and fix the issue.

Myth 10: Small Leaks Are Insignificant

Long-Term Effects of Small Leaks

Small leaks might not seem like a big deal, but they can lead to significant damage over time. Even a tiny drip can result in mold growth, structural damage, and higher water bills. Ignoring small leaks can also lead to more severe plumbing issues down the line. This is one of the plumbing myths that can have costly consequences if not addressed promptly.

Importance of Prompt Repairs

Addressing leaks promptly is crucial to preventing long-term damage. Regularly check your plumbing for leaks, and if you find any, fix them as soon as possible. This can involve tightening connections, replacing washers, or calling a professional plumber for more complex issues. 

Prompt repairs can save you money and prevent further damage to your home. Don’t let plumbing myths lead you to neglect these small but significant problems.

Myth 11: All Plumbers Are the Same

How to Choose a Reputable Plumber

Not all plumbers provide the same quality of work. It’s essential to choose a licensed, experienced plumber with good reviews. A reputable plumber, like Bert Norman’s Plumbing, will have the necessary skills and knowledge to handle various plumbing issues effectively. Falling for plumbing myths that suggest all plumbers are the same can lead to unsatisfactory results.

What to Look for in Professional Services

When selecting a plumber, look for ones who offer warranties on their work, have positive customer feedback, and are transparent about their pricing. A reputable plumber can save you time, money, and avoid future headaches by providing reliable and high-quality services. By debunking these plumbing myths, you can ensure that you get the best service for your plumbing needs.

Myth 12: Toilet Flush Direction Varies by Hemisphere

Explanation of the Coriolis Effect

The Coriolis Effect, which influences large-scale phenomena like weather patterns, does not affect the direction of water in toilets. This effect is too weak to impact the small-scale water flow in toilets.

Reality of Toilet Flush Mechanics

The direction in which a toilet flushes is determined by the design of the toilet and the direction of the water jets. It has nothing to do with the hemisphere you’re in. Toilets are engineered to flush in a specific direction to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

Myth 13: Showering During a Thunderstorm is Dangerous

Safety of Using Plumbing During Storms

The idea that showering during a thunderstorm is dangerous comes from the belief that lightning can travel through plumbing. While it is technically possible, the risk is extremely low. Modern plumbing systems are designed to minimize this risk. This is one of those plumbing myths that sounds scarier than it actually is.

Precautionary Measures

If you’re still concerned, you can avoid using plumbing fixtures during severe thunderstorms. This is a rare risk, but it’s always better to be safe. In general, the chances of being electrocuted while showering during a thunderstorm are very low. Understanding the reality behind plumbing myths can help ease your worries.

Plumbing services in Jacksonville FL

Photo by Yevhen Prozhyrko on Shutterstock.

Myth 14: You Can Fix Any Plumbing Issue with DIY Solutions

When to Call a Professional

While some minor plumbing issues can be handled with DIY solutions, many problems require professional expertise. Attempting to fix complex issues without the proper knowledge and tools can lead to more significant problems and costly damage. Believing in these plumbing myths can sometimes do more harm than good.

Risks of DIY Plumbing Fixes

Improper DIY repairs can exacerbate plumbing issues, causing leaks, water damage, and even structural problems. If you’re unsure about how to fix a plumbing problem, it’s best to consult a professional plumber. 

They have the experience and equipment to handle the issue safely and effectively. Avoiding these plumbing myths ensures that your plumbing issues are resolved correctly the first time.


Plumbing myths can lead to costly mistakes and misunderstandings. By knowing the facts, you can take better care of your plumbing system and avoid unnecessary issues. 

Regular maintenance and informed decisions are key to keeping your plumbing in good working order. Remember, when in doubt, it’s always best to consult a professional plumber to ensure your home’s plumbing is safe and efficient.

Need Reliable Plumbing Services in Callahan, FL?

For expert plumbing services in Callahan, FL, trust Bert Norman’s Plumbing. Our experienced team handles everything from routine maintenance to emergency repairs with professionalism and care. Contact us today at  904-225-5888 to schedule an appointment and experience top-notch plumbing service you can count on!


  1. What are some common plumbing myths that people believe?

Many people believe in various plumbing myths, such as using hot water to melt grease in pipes, ice cubes sharpening garbage disposal blades, and flushable wipes being safe for plumbing. These myths can cause significant issues if followed.

  1. Can running hot water really melt grease in pipes?

No, running hot water does not effectively melt grease in pipes. Grease solidifies as it cools, leading to clogs. It’s best to let grease cool in a container and dispose of it in the trash to avoid plumbing issues.

  1. Are flushable wipes really safe for plumbing systems?

Despite being labeled as flushable, these wipes do not break down as easily as toilet paper and can cause major blockages in plumbing systems. It’s better to dispose of them in the trash.

  1. Do ice cubes sharpen garbage disposal blades?

This is a common plumbing myth. Garbage disposals have impellers, not sharp blades, and ice cubes do not sharpen them. However, ice can help clean the disposal by knocking off food particles.

  1. Why is it important to debunk plumbing myths?

Debunking plumbing myths is crucial because following incorrect advice can lead to expensive repairs and damage to your plumbing system. Understanding the facts helps maintain a safe and efficient plumbing system in your home.

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