If you’re a child of the 70s or 80s, you probably remember playing with a Stretch Armstrong or maybe you remember watching the commercial on TV. Pull on him, throw him around, knock him against the wall, do anything you wanted, and he would always bounce back. He seemed so indestructible. Younger folks might remember the Little Tikes Rocking Horse that seemed like it could take any number of assaults and still hold firm. Many toys like these are remembered because they have endured the test of time and are still around today. They prove their worth and provide a great value when generation after generation can play with them without showing much wear and tear. Unfortunately, people often view their sewer pipes in the same way. They’re indestructible, right?! They can take anything and flush it away.
We often abuse our pipes when we have this mindset. Many flush paper towels and flushable wipes down their toilets, never realizing the havoc they’re wreaking below. I’ve previously written on London’s Fatberg problem, much of which was made up of flushable wipes. This is a problem and most people have no idea! You might ask, “What’s the big deal? These wipes have the word ‘flushable’ in their name.” Lots of things are flushable when you think about it. You can flush golf balls, rocks, toys, food, and much more. However, just because they are flushable does not make them good for pipes. Our pipes aren’t Stretch Armstrong. They cannot expand to accommodate whatever we put down them only to spring back to normal position.
Consider the difference between good ole TP and wipes. Have you ever used toilet paper to mop something up? Notice how it disintegrates in your hand when a bunch of liquid touches it. How about paper towels? It’s their job to hold up! And even more so for flushable wipes. No amount of water dissolves those durable suckers so flushing them only takes them down the pipe to either back up your sewer or swim downstream to back up the sewage plant.
Use of flushable wipes costs homeowners thousands every year and cities much more. Homeowners are either forced to hire someone to clean their sewer or hire someone to repair or replace it. We at Apex specialize in underground plumbing, so we know quite a bit about these issues. If you’re having trouble with your sewer, we would be happy to recommend a sewer cleaning company in your area or provide a free estimate for a sewer repair so contact us today! Overall, don’t treat your pipes like Stretch Armstrong or a Little Tikes Rocking Horse. Indoor plumbing is amazing, but it is not indestructible.