By Cheryl Landsman, Customer Service Manager, Credit/Returns Manager, Accounts Receivable, Collections and Reporting

Do you ever wonder how much of your plumbing knowledge is true? How many of those myths you've heard for years actually work? Here at PRIER, we get asked a lot of crazy and thought-provoking questions each day and it made me wonder if what I “know” is actually true or not. 

Here are a few plumbing myths I decided to break down:

  • Putting lemons down the sink can clean and freshen the disposal

This is actually something I do each week. I mean, you read it on Pinterest all the time, so it must be true….right? Yes, putting lemons down your disposal does make it smell better. BUT, did you know the citric acid from the lemons can corrode the metal inside your disposal? Well, I know it now. So, what to do? The recommendation is to use ice cubes instead of lemons. Sure, it’s noisy, but it removes the odor plus polishes and cleans the inside of the disposal.  

  • Always be sure to run water while using the garbage disposal

Yep, garbage disposal again. Sounds good, right? Well, for the most part it’s true. It is a good idea to run your water while operating your disposal however, it’s not a good idea to cram as much food as you can down the disposal and then run water to flush it all down. You will unfortunately end up with a sink full of dirty water as the disposal clogs. A better alternative is to follow the 4:1 ratio of water to food. Basically, if you were to put a cup of food in your sink to grind up, you should use 4 cups of water to wash it down. This helps separate the food as it flows down the disposal.  

  • As long as stuff goes down the drain, everything must be ok!

Sure, as long as you’re not the one cleaning the drain. Things go down the drain just fine for a while, but eventually you will get a clog. Place a hair screen in the tub or shower or even in your sinks. This should help alleviate clogs and in particular, that big clog of hair when you pull out the drain stopper.

  • Plumbing fixtures are low maintenance

In my last house we had a bathroom in the basement that was used very seldom. One day I noticed an awful sewer smell. My first thought was the toilet had backed up but much to my surprise, it was the trap in the tub. Lack of use can allow the p-trap to evaporate, which allows sewer gases to smell up the area, even the house. Every few weeks simply run some water down the sinks and tubs and flush the toilet. Moral of the story: don’t ignore the sinks and tubs in your home that aren’t used as often. 

  • Why bother spending money on washers for a small leak?

This is something we do hear about, unfortunately. It’s a small drip, so you ignore it and forget about it. Huge tip: DON'T ignore those leaks!! Especially leaks on your outside faucets. Most everyone knows to remove the hose on your outdoor faucet before temperatures drop below freezing to prevent the faucet from bursting. But did you know if you don’t fix that leak, you will still have water running through the faucet? Then, when the temperature inevitably drops outside, your faucet is left with internal water trapped and prone to freezing. In the Spring when you go to turn on the faucet, the stem washer could be frozen in place and tear. Then, you will have to replace the washer. Even worse, water can expand and freeze, which can burst the faucet and lead to some costly damage.

These are just a few things to think about when surveying your indoor and outdoor plumbing. There are plenty more plumbing myths online we recommend checking out before believing everything you hear. Remember, maintenance is the key to keep your plumbing working as it should! 

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