Upgrading Your Pipes

What Not To Flush

We've all seen a funny sitcom or two where the kid flushes a toy down the toilet, the toilet implodes, and hilarity ensues as the main characters try to avert disaster while cleaning everything up. It's a pretty standard scene for television writers. What we don't realize, however, is that there are so many more things that adults flush that put their own plumbing system at risk. If you have flushed any of the below items, you could be sitting on a clog waiting to happen.

1. Floss: Dentists and hygienists everywhere push flossing since it keeps your teeth clean and healthy. It can, however, wreak havoc on your septic system when you flush the dental floss after you use it. When floss comes into contact with other objects in your pipes, it winds itself up around them, causing a massive clog instead of continuing down the pipe. It is meant to be thrown out in the trash.  

2. Medicine: Most people simply dispose of a medicine once they are feeling better. The problem lies in the fact that people assume this to mean that it can be flushed. Unfortunately, neither home septic systems nor municipal wastewater treatment facilities were designed to filter pharmaceuticals from water. A Harvard study states that 80 percent of the samples taken from over 139 water sources found traces of pharmaceuticals. While no long-term studies have been done to determine how, or if, it is affecting humans, it is known to be damaging to aquatic life.   

3. Hair: Hair is another one of those long, stringy items that can wrap itself around a small clog and make it worse. Some hair goes down the drain naturally, but don't make the situation worse by flushing hair that you cut or clean from a brush. Use the trash can. 

4. Feminine Hygiene Products: No matter how small you think the product may be, do not flush menstrual pads or tampons. Maxi pads are not biodegradable. They will not break down, but rather stay in your pipes and in your septic tank until they are physically removed. Tampons are even worse because they can get wedged in, making them a prime target for all that floss you flush.

While it may seem funny on TV, clogged pipes and the ensuing bill for plumbing and septic repairs is no laughing matter. It is particularly sobering when you realize that it all could have been easily prevented. If you have been flushing any of these items, contact a company like Victory Plumbing and Heating, Inc to have them removed from your drains.