Regular wipes and other materials are not flushable. They do not break apart as fast or at all. This spells bad news for your plumbing system. A misplaced material can lead to repairs that can cost thousands of dollars.
To prevent these costly repairs it is important to avoid actions that can cause problems. In addition, it is also essential to perform regular maintenance. A simple drain cleaning is an easy solution to help prevent costly problems.
Plumbing problems are often caused by flushing material that is not flushable. Since they do not break down like toilet paper does it can cause anything from clogs to jams to blockages. So it is important to not flush certain kinds of products, such as wipes.
Wipes Can Get Caught on a Snag or Bend in the Pipe
The pipes that connect your toilet to either the septic tank or the city sewage system are not straight. In fact, they may turn several times before making a connection. These bends, where the pipe may become smaller, are prime places for debris to lodge. Debris includes regular wipes as well as some common toiletries as well.
Some of the most often flushed items are:
- Sanitary Napkins
- Paper Towels
- Facial Tissue
- "Flushable" Wipes
- And More!
Anything that isn't toilet paper does not belong in your toilet.
Wipes Can Clump Together and Cause a Blockage
Wipes can be flushed, as long as you flush them one at a time.
Even one wipe can cause a blockage. Wipes and other debris can clump together to create a large ball. This ball called a "fatberg" has the potential to become lodged somewhere in the pipes.
Depending on the severity and location of the blockage, you may need a professional drain cleaning or even toilet repair.
These blockages also happen in sanitation plants. Companies clean out and haul away thousands of pounds of wipes and debris. If a blockage is bad enough it may cause equipment to break. That equipment then needs replacement or repair. This results in hours of downtime and thousands of dollars in taxpayer expenses.
Wipes Do Not Break Down the Same Way Toilet Paper Does
Wipes are just like toilet paper. They both serve the same purpose don't they?
Designed to dissolve in water, toilet paper breaks apart when submerged.All toilet paper passes strict standards dedicating how quickly they need to break apart in water. Regular wipes and other hygiene products mentioned above are not subject to these standards.
Regular wipes are more fibrous and take a longer time to break apart. That is if they break apart at all. The material is more cloth-like and durable. This is so that they will hold together for longer. It makes them great for cleaning and other jobs. Yet, because of their durability, they will cause problems in septic and waste removal systems. They may even cause problems in the toilet itself.
Toilet repair or replacement may be required in this case.
Wipes Will Jam Pumps and Other Equipment Including Vents and Filters
Wipes move through the sewage system without any problems. The package does say "flushable" on it.
Equipment and ventilation pipes are likely to jam or become blocked by these wipes. Even "flushable" wipes have the potential to do this. This term first began use in the manufacturing industry for disposable wipes. It was not tested by plumbers and sanitation experts for flushability.
Some of these wipes may break apart over time. However, it does not break up enough before reaching the sanitation facility. Since it did not break apart it becomes stuck or clumped together with other debris. Workers then need to go in and clear the blockage. These types of repairs have cost cities, like New York upwards of $18 million a year.
Older Pipes May Have Roots or Material Build Up in Them
These materials are particularly problematic for older sewage systems.
These older systems are more fragile because of their age. Older plumbing systems and pipes may have cracked. Roots can and do grow into them. The roots become snags that non-flushable materials can get caught on. When this happens it reduces the amount of space other materials have to flow past it.
This slows the flow and increases the potential for clogs and material build-up.
Frequent clogs and slow drainage may indicate this narrowing. It is likely that each time you unclog it yourself you are pushing a small hole through the sludge. Just enough to get things moving again. Once that hole fills in again you will have another clog. If you find yourself in this predicament it may be time to call in a professional.
Time to Call a Professional
They can help you find out what exactly is causing your plumbing problems. They also have the proper equipment to help prevent damage to your fixtures and pipes. When it comes to plumbing, a DIY project is not always the best solution. Especially, if the problem has been happening for an extended period of time.
If the problem is big, like roots, a certified and insured plumber can recommend and implement long-term solutions. If it is small they can fix the problem with minimal downtime. If you are having problems with your plumbing system it is time to contact a professional.