October 10, 2017 Posted By Matt O'Brien
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Myths are everywhere, and the world of plumbing is no exception. Plumbing has its fair share of myths, which, just like myths in other areas, have been passed down from generation to generation. More often than not, many plumbing myths—from the invention of the flush toilet to the way the water flushes in different hemispheres—have already been accepted as fact.
While some plumbing myths may be closer to the truth, a lot of plumbing myths just aren’t true. Here are some of the popular plumbing myths I have heard about through the years.
It is but normal for our garbage disposal systems to give off unpleasant odors, and the popular solution to that is putting lemons in it. While it’s true that it could somehow naturally freshen things up, albeit briefly, know that lemons contain citric acid and that citric acid could corrode the metal inside the disposal. Your best bet would be nice, as it helps wash off the scum that’s causing all that stench, and doesn’t ruin your disposal the way lemon does.
The truth is, faucets and fixtures get corroded if you get water and soap on them. That’s why you always have to wipe off your fixtures after use to make sure they’re hand soap-free.
This is one of those plumbing myths that are widely accepted as fact. Even as kids, we already “knew” that in the Northern Hemisphere, water flushes counterclockwise, while it’s the opposite direction for those in the Southern Hemisphere. This is mainly because of the Coriolis effect, which has something to do with the rotation of the earth causing things to move in a straight line to appear to follow a curving path. However, the Coriolis effect is more applicable to understanding storms, wind and other large-scale movements, not to the way the water flushes down a drain. The truth is, it’s the shape of the sink or toilet that has a lot to do with the direction the water drains.
No matter how fitting his last name may be, it simply isn’t true that Thomas Crapper, a 19th century English plumber, is responsible for the invention of the flush toilet. While the concept of the flush toilet has been in existence since ancient times, the invention of the flush toilet has been attributed to Sir John Harrington, a prominent member of Queen Elizabeth I’s court.
These cleaners are surely good at making your toilet look clean, but all it really does is cover up build-up—which can eventually coat vital parts of the toilet and damage them—in your tank. A better alternative is vinegar poured down the overflow tube. It’s a very cheap alternative for removing smelly buildup in your toilet.
Actually, this “myth” that we often use to scare kids is actually true. Critters can crawl up drains and toilets, and that is indeed a scary thought. It is absolutely not unheard of for rats, bugs or even snakes to crawl up drains and toilets, especially ones that are scarcely used. Thankfully, we can prevent something like this from happening by installing special traps and valves in the drainage system itself.
Do you know any other plumbing myths? If you do, then don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comments!