Why Flushing Regular Wipes Will Clog Your Drains

Wet Wipes Should Be Disposed Of In the Trash

If there is one thing people hate, it’s toilet repair. However, while many people believe anything is flushable, the truth is many items can in fact cause major problems. One of these items is wet wipes, which are becoming more and more common in today’s households.

Used quite often in homes where newborn babies live, they are used regularly and then flushed down the toilet. While in many cases you will be fine by doing this, in other situations flushing can create a variety of problems.

San Jose, CA DIY-wet-wipes-1Too Much of a Good Thing

When it comes to flushing wet wipes, it can often be too much of a good thing. While they have been tested in labs and been found to be flushable down household drains, the truth is the wipes have been flushed under very controlled conditions and fail to take into consideration many of the plumbing problems found in the real world.

One of the biggest problems with flushing these wipes occurs when people try to flush many wipes at once, rather than following the guidelines recommended by the manufacturer. Most wipes manufacturers suggest flushing only one or two wipes at a time.

However, because the wipes are small, most people think nothing of flushing several at once. But by doing so, the result is often a clog that can lead to the need for a toilet repair and require the services of a plumber to rectify.

Septic System Mishaps

While people who have city sewage systems often have problems flushing wet wipes, those who have septic systems often experience even bigger problems. Just like city systems, septic systems can become clogged when attempting to do drain cleaning or if multiple wipes are flushed on a regular basis.

However, while repairs to city systems can cost hundreds of dollars to repair, septic system repairs can often run into many thousands of dollars. In addition, the septic system will often back up and overflow into the home, leading to an additional mess that will prove costly to clean up. In extreme cases where clogs are so severe, they can cause damage to a septic tank to the point that the entire septic system will need to be replaced.

Not only will this be a tremendous inconvenience to a family, but it will also require an installation that could cost as much as $10,000 or more.

Tree Roots and Sewage Pipes

While many problems with flushing wet wipes can occur early on in the drain system, many others occur much further down the pipes and result in extensive repairs from a plumber after residents have attempted drain cleaning.

In many homes that have older plumbing systems, nearby trees may have roots that have found their way into the sewage pipes. These roots, which then form a web-like maze within the pipes, make it virtually impossible for anything to pass through, especially wet wipes that don’t disintegrate as readily as toilet paper.

Over the course of time, they form what is known as a “softball” clog, which can become entangled within the roots and cause not only a clog, but also additional damage to the pipes themselves. This is due to the fact that while most toilet paper completely dissolves within 24 hours, most wet wipes may take weeks or even months to completely dissolve.

When these problems happen, a plumber needs to be called as soon as possible to begin repairs. While in most cases the roots can be cleared from the pipes, in extreme cases the pipes may need to be dug up and replaced, costing thousands of dollars and causing much inconvenience along the way.

How to Dispose of Wipes

Even though most wet wipes tested by manufacturers are deemed to be flushable, most plumbers recommend never disposing of them in this manner. Instead, they recommend throwing them away in a trash can in order to avoid any potential plumbing problems.

In fact, testing conducted on wet wipes by independent researchers has concluded that most of the leading brands of wet wipes completely failed a disintegration test, showing that while the wipes may be flushable, they do so much damage to plumbing systems that they should never be flushed if at all possible.

Due to these findings, many cities have now made it illegal for their residents to flush wet wipes down their drains, although it’s a law that is often hard to enforce. In fact, more and more cities now report significant increases in clogs within their sewage treatment plants that are being caused by citizens flushing too many wipes down their toilets.

San Jose, CA DIY-wet-wipes-2Time and Money

According to most plumbers, what makes clogs from wet wipes so tough to deal with is the time and money involved with the repairs.

Because the wipes do not disintegrate right away, they can often accumulate in large numbers before the pipe is completely clogged. In fact, many clogs found have been softball-sized or even bigger, which can make them extremely difficult to remove.

In addition, the size of the clog can sometimes put excessive pressure on the pipes, which can occasionally lead to a pipe bursting. This often happens in homes with very old plumbing systems, creating additional problems to be fixed.

While plumbers may make large amounts of money on these repairs, more often than not they prefer not to deal with these repairs due to the complexities involved with them.

If you find yourself having problems with clogs as a result of flushing wet wipes down toilets, it’s probably time to contact a plumber to assess the situation. In many cases, if the problem is discovered early on, a plumber may be able to remove the clog with minimal effort. However, if the clog has been allowed to build up over weeks or months, the repair may be more complex.

If you need outstanding plumbing services in your San Jose, CA home, please contact Genmor Plumbing, Inc. at (408) 684-7083 today.

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