Plumbing myths are the stuff of good story-telling but they can cost you money, too, if you believe them. Every technology has its fables and folk tales—like the old wives’ tale that dirty cars get better gas mileage than clean cars. The truth is, there’s not much about household plumbing that isn’t scientifically established by now and, while plumbing techniques and materials are constantly evolving, the basic principles are well-established. Take any tall tales you may hear with a grain of salt, but particularly watch out for these plumbing myths.

  • Bubbling water heaters may explode. Actually the sounds you may hear are simply water percolating due to sediment accumulation. Hard water sediment in the bottom of the heater traps heat and releases it suddenly in the form of air bubbles which may sound like pressure building. Sediment accumulation won’t make the heater explode but it does make it less energy efficient. You can drain the tank to remove sediment yourself or call a plumber to do it as part of a yearly evaluation.
  • Leaky faucets don’t waste much water. Because a leak usually runs 24/7/365 until it’s repaired, those individual drips can add up to startling amounts of water waste. A single faucet leaking four drips a minute wastes over 200 gallons per year. An ongoing leak also hastens deterioration of faucet components as well as staining porcelain fixtures, requiring repair or replacement.
  • Bricks in a toilet tank are a good way to reduce flush volume. Actually, bricks may deteriorate in water and interfere with components like the flapper valve, causing more water waste. A “bricked” toilet that produces too little flush volume must be flushed twice, which wastes water. To reduce flush volume, ask your plumber about installing a high-efficiency toilet.
  • Lemon peels deodorize a garbage disposal. Yes, but they may also clog your plumbing. Any form of fruit rinds may resist the shredding action of the garbage disposal and cause a clog. A better deodorant is a cup of white vinegar poured into the disposal.

For more information to bust common plumbing myths, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

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