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Wait! Don’t Flush That! Tales From Your Plumber | Mansfield, TX

Wait! Don’t Flush That! Tales From Your Plumber | Mansfield, TX

Photo By Imagentle at Shutterstock

Facing a clogged toilet can be a nightmare. Did you know at least one in five Americans encounter a blocked toilet annually? The good news is that you can avoid stopped-up toilets by taking proper steps and understanding that only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet.

Dumping personal care and hygiene products may lead to more significant plumbing problems in the long run because the wastewater either heads into your home’s septic tank or the community’s local sewer.

It’s common for homeowners to flush something not designed to disintegrate well, causing an unpleasant mess leaving them with a hefty plumbing bill. Sometimes the toilet will not clog immediately but may harm your pipes slowly, eventually resulting in a bigger problem in the sewer system. While you can resolve issues such as too much toilet paper by plunging the toilet bowl, some need to be fixed by a professional plumber.

In doing their jobs, plumbers have found weird things flushed down the toilet that end up causing inconveniences and damages. Below are some everyday items homeowners should avoid flushing down the toilet to ensure their pipes stay clog-free.

Paper Towels

Don’t be surprised that paper towels are at the top of the list. Although they look and feel like toilet paper, these items should not go down the toilet. Some folks think it’s okay to flush them because they are labeled “flushable.”

Paper towels can get stuck in pipes; hence, blocking the sewage lines or septic tank. Unlike toilet paper, they are coarse and made from materials, such as cellulose fibers, making it difficult to dissolve when mixed with water. Instead of breaking down completely, paper towels disintegrate into small strong particles, which take time to dissolve entirely.

Plumbers advise homeowners to flush the toilet with lots of water with high pressure if they mistakenly flush paper towels down the toilet. This ensures this item quickly goes down. Also, after flushing a paper towel, you can use a plunger to apply pressure to ensure it’s not stuck halfway.

Always dispose of the paper towels in the trash or waste bin after using them. And if you have been flushing paper towels down the toilet, you should stop to avoid spending more money on plumbers to fix the problem.

Tampons and Pads

Some women prefer to dump sanitary products by flushing them down the toilet because it has been labeled ‘flushable’ on the packets. Although some of these products, including wipes, pads, and tampons, are described as flush friendly, they end up clogging your toilet, causing it to back up or overflow and even create issues with your septic tank. It’s not surprising that plumbers are called out almost daily to fix toilets clogged with sanitary products in Mansfield, TX.

In public restrooms, you are most likely to encounter signs warning users not to put their sanitary products down the toilet in the ladies toilets. Even in your home, it’s essential to abide by this rule to avoid unnecessary inconveniences.

Sanitary products, especially a tampon, are likely to destroy your plumbing system because they absorb water and expand. They may enlarge even ten times their original size, clogging the toilet or blocking the sewer lines. If your home uses an older septic system, then the chances of blockage are even higher.

Also, tampons are non-bio-degradable and do not disintegrate when flushed in the plumbing system like toilet paper. Instead, they created a blockage because they don’t dissolve. As you continue flushing more tampons, the toilet will completely block and even overflow, and a plumber will have to clear that obstruction.

Even though the pads or tampons may move through the plumbing system, they can form a blockage as they move to the main sewer. If you don’t have a septic tank, the blockage will develop further down the sewer lines, affecting your neighbors. These products could also end at the city’s sewage treatment plant, clog the filters, or adversely affect the pumping station.

Homeowners with septic tanks risk sewer backups if they dispose of feminine products down the drain system. These items are not biodegradable; instead, they settle in the tank taking up space. Eventually, the liquid level will rise, causing waste to obstruct the distribution pipes, which leads to sewer backup.

Cosmetic Wipes

Most plumbers will agree that wet wipes are a menace in modern sanitary systems. When they go down the pipes, these wipes may get stuck along the lines forming a ball that grows to become a clog, causing a disgusting mess. This ends up harming the sewage treatment process.

Most homeowners start to notice their toilets, sinks, and tubs backing up in the home. This will be followed by an overflowing toilet that fails to flush. If the clog is significant, you’ll notice that the drainage in the shower fails to remove the water. You will need a plumber in such cases to clear the drains.

Condoms

In the United States, over 450 million condoms are sold annually. If these materials were disposed of improperly, the environment would not be safe because they are non-biodegradable.

Even a plumber does not look forward to fish used condoms out of blocked sewer lines. Besides being non-biodegradable, these latex prophylactics can lead to serious problems when introduced into the sewer lines. Also, flushed condoms could end up in the sea and remain in the water for many years, endangering the lives of aquatic animals.

If you keep dumping condoms down the toilet, you will have to contact a plumber to work on your toilet sooner or later because a blockage will be unavoidable.

Cotton Swabs

Cotton balls are not safe to flush. They still hold their shape; hence, they get lodged in place when you send them down the pipes. Since it doesn’t break down like the toilet paper once stuck, you may need a plumber’s help to remove them because they clump together down the lines.

Diapers and Baby Wipers

Although flushing baby wipes or diapers down the toilet may even cost $10,000 in plumbing repairs, some people continue to dump these items down the toilet. Diapers are likely to clog your tank in no time because they are absorbent. Hence, when put in a wet environment, they absorb water and swell inside the sewer drain pipe, causing a solid clog. When you flush the toilet, you’ll notice that the water moves slowly, and as more waste accumulates, it will be impossible to flush the toilet.

Plumbers advise homeowners not to dump baby wipes or diapers down the toilet even if the manufacturers indicate on the packaging that the product is “flushable” There is no such thing as a flushable wipe. Even if the wipes pass through your plumbing system, they will end in the city’s wastewater treatment plant, where they’ll have a devastating effect. Plumbers advise parents to dispose of diapers in the trash to be on the safe side.

Contact Lenses

The stats are simply astonishing! It’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of persons in the US wearing contact lenses flush used lenses down the toilet or sink. This translates to up to 3.36 billion lenses that end in the drainage system, harming the environment. After flushing contact lenses, they are in wastewater treatment plants and are broken into microplastics.

Microplastics are dangerous to the environment because they move freely throughout the ecosystem. They are likely to reach the ocean if the wastewater ends up in a river, stream, or wetland. Sea creatures consume these microplastics, and humans are also exposed to plastics when they eat seafood.

Dental Floss

Dental floss is good for our teeth, but it’s a disaster for our sewer systems; therefore, you should not flush it down the toilet. Made from thin strands of Teflon or nylon, dental floss may appear as something that would not impact your sewage system. But, it isn’t biodegradable; hence, a danger to the plumbing system.

Instead, it mixes with clumps of toilet paper, sanitary products, wipes, and other gross stuff, forming large clumps that block sewers and pumps. When these balls combine with grease or tree roots, they can cause sewage spills, damaging the motors in septic systems.

This leads to unnecessary inconveniences and high costs for a plumber to clear the mess. Also, the local agencies that own and manage sewer systems will spend more money on maintenance to clear the pumps.

Medication

If you are clearing or cleaning your medicine cabinet, avoid flushing old or unwanted over-the-counter medications or prescriptions down the toilet. When they get into the sewage system, they can pollute water and expose residents in Mansfield, TX, to the chemicals contained in these drugs.

Studies have revealed that flushing medicines down the drain contaminates streams or lakes since some treatment systems do not remove these medications. This ends up in drinking water and harming aquatic wildlife.

Drugs such as antidepressants and hormones contain endocrine-disrupting compounds, which affect the normal growth and reproduction of aquatic species, such as frogs and fish. Therefore, avoid flushing old or unwanted drugs down the toilet because water can’t break medicines down correctly.

Hair

Did you know that you can lose up to 100 strands of hair daily? It’s even worse if you’ve pets. With all this hair falling out, it’s tempting to flush it down the toilet, but that’s not a good idea. In fact, plumbers have identified hair as the most common cause of a clogged pipe. Although the hair may not block the toilet, it ends up jamming the pipes further downstream in the long run.

Hair is likely to catch anything on its way. This happens mostly in old pipes, which are likely to have rough places of buildup due to wear and tear that traps hair flushed down the drain.

If you have long hair, it will ball up to form a web that snags all particles passing through. Over time, this causes a stubborn clog as more debris accumulates in the web. Also, hair breaks down very slowly over time, unlike other organic materials; therefore, when it starts clogging, it will get worse.

Plus, homeowners in Mansfield, TX, using septic will end up with more complicated issues since components of the tanks are hard to access and repair. Therefore, only flush septic-safe toilet paper and human waste to avoid costly expenses.

Cigarette Butts

Most smokers have difficulty believing that a small thing like a cigarette butt can clog the toilet. The harsh truth is that these seemingly harmless items can put your plumbing at risk when flushed. Professional plumbers advise homeowners to dispose of these little troublemakers in the trash.

For starters, cigarettes are non-biodegradable, especially the plastic mouthpieces and foam filters. These are the parts of the cigarette that clog the toilet. Also, they accumulate in the sewer or septic system resulting in massive damage. Therefore, you should avoid dumping these items down the plumbing system if you’ve got a septic system.

Cigarette butts contain harmful chemicals that enter the water supply. When you flush these troublemakers, they contaminate rivers and oceans and could harm wildlife that lives in these areas and cause other environmental problems.

You can fix these clogs caused by cigarette butts without involving a plumber in Mansfield, TX. However, you can contact a professional if cigarettes have blocked up the toilet and simple plunging seems ineffective.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Fort Worth: Plumber for Toilet Repair and Clogged Drains in Mansfield, TX

Although there are numerous DIY methods to fix a clogged toilet, not all will effectively deal with a severe clog. When you encounter a stubborn clog that doesn’t budge, you should call a qualified plumber in Mansfield, TX. At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Fort Worth, we have professional and experienced plumbers trained to fix your clogged toilet quickly.

Our plumbers use top-of-the-line tools that won’t damage your toilet to clear the most stubborn clogs. We also have a 24/7 emergency service to handle all your plumbing emergencies. Plus, we offer drain cleaning and treatment, gas testing, leak detection, gas piping, and appliance installation for both residential and commercial clients. Get help now!