Plumbing Pitfalls: Bad Advice You Should Avoid

Don’t let misleading advice clog your plumbing knowledge! Below, we dissect some of the worst plumbing advice we’ve heard and explain what our North East professionals recommend instead. 

“Chemicals are the best way to clear your drain.” 

Many chemical drain cleaners are marketed as a simple and safe way to eliminate clogs. However, the caustic substances found in these drain cleaners can be abrasive and harmful to your pipes, not to mention the plumber if your clog requires a professional. Those with septic systems can sustain even worse damage as the chemicals eat into the septic tank. And in many cases, the bulk of the clog remains in place, even if enough is dissolved to allow your drains to flow a bit more freely. 

Instead, it’s best to remove clogs with a hand auger. If the clog still won’t budge, call a professional.

“Flushable wipes are designed for your sewer system.” 

Flushing a “flushable” wipe is just as bad for your sewer system as flushing feminine hygiene products or other non-biological materials. These wipes don’t dissolve like toilet paper, but instead can tangle together to form major clogs in sewer lines. Always put these wipes in a wastebasket, not your toilet. 

“When you’re cleaning your toilet, use boiling hot water.”

While cleaning your toilet with warm water is fine, boiling water may crack your toilet bowl, leading to a huge mess that will require you to replace your entire toilet. 

“Garbage disposals can handle just about anything.”

Garbage disposals are not appropriate for all types of food waste. Greasy, fibrous, and highly absorbent foods can quickly build up and cause clogs. Harder items like bones can also damage your disposal blades, making them less effective.

“If your water isn’t hot enough, just increase your water heater temperature.” 

If your water temperature is growing colder, this can indicate a problem with your water heater’s element or thermostat. If there is an issue, simply adjusting the thermostat won’t resolve it, and at some point, your water heater will stop working entirely. Aside from that, turning your water heater higher than 120 degrees can leave you at risk of burning or scalding yourself or others in your home. A plumber can investigate the source of the water heater issue and recommend necessary repairs. 

“Duct tape can fix anything!”

Duct tape has its place as an emergency leak fix, but it shouldn’t be relied on as a long-term solution. If you have duct tape holding any components of your plumbing together, it’s time to contact a professional to have your problem fixed for good. 

“DIY-ing a plumbing repair is easy these days with so many how-to videos online.” 

Although there are some DIY-friendly repairs, any plumbing repair has the potential to turn into a messy, expensive, and unpleasant experience for those who don’t have specialized knowledge and tools to repair common issues. Online videos might make it look easy, but they rarely address the backup plan you’ll need should a plumbing repair go wrong. It’s always best to reach out to a plumbing professional before attempting a repair, especially one you’ve never tried before. 


As a company who’s been in the industry for decades, there’s not much we haven’t seen at North East Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. Don’t dread calling a plumber—let one of our experienced professionals check out your plumbing issues and outline the possible solutions. Give us a call today or visit our website to learn more about the various services we offer.


Call: 210-658-0111