Most industries have certain folklore or tall tales associated with them. Plumbing is no different. From urban legends to plumbing myths, you may be familiar with them. While some have some merit of truth to them, others are false, just like with most tall tales. Here are some of the most common plumbing myths you may have heard.
#1 Rodents and Other Critters Can Crawl Up Through Drains
This plumbing myth is, unfortunately, one that is based on fact. In fact, rodents and other critters entering the home through the drain is a common plumbing problem. Rats, snakes, cockroaches, other vermin can gain access to a home through drains, pipes, and toilets. This is particularly common in plumbing systems that aren’t used on a regular basis. To combat unauthorized entry in the home a trap valve may need to be installed.
#2 Ice Cubes Sharpen the Blades of The Garbage Disposal
This is a common plumbing myth that isn’t exactly accurate. Putting ice cubes down the garbage disposal can benefit your garbage disposal, however, the ice doesn’t actually sharpen the blades. Instead, the ice helps knock debris that might buildup over time. This helps your garbage disposal work more efficiently.
#3 Alligators Live in The Sewer Systems of New York
Alligators living in the sewer system is not only a common plumbing myth but also one of the scariest plumbing myths. This plumbing myth was started back in the 1930s. The basis for this urban legend revolves around wealthy New York families vacationing down in Florida and bringing back baby alligators with them as pets. No doubt baby anything can be cute, however, once the alligators got too big and the owners realized they didn’t make the best pets they ended up flushing them down the toilet to get rid of them. However, they did not die but actually flourished. There are tales of giant white alligators dwelling in the dark depths of the sewer beneath the busy bustling streets of New York City, and while there have been sightings over the years, none of these sightings have actually been proven or disproved for that matter. Despite the settings over the years, most scientists agree that the conditions in the sewer would not be ideal conditions for alligators to thrive in.
#4 Thomas Crapper Invented the Toilet
This is a common plumbing myth that isn’t true. The modern-day flush toilet, formally known as the flushing closet, was actually invented by a man named Sir John Harrington. Sir John Harrington engineered the flushing closet for Queen Elizabeth the I. The idea was later patented by Alexander Cummings in 1775. While Thomas Crapper helped popularize the flush toilet, he was actually born 60 years after the initial flush toilet was patented.
#5 Water Flushes Counter Clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and Clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere
This is by far one of the most common plumbing myths. The notion that water changes direction has to do with the Coriolis Force Effect which affects the direction of a particular object based on the inertial force of a moving object in conjunction with the rotation of the earth. This can affect large bodies of air mass; however, it has to be measured over long distances and is otherwise hardly noticeable. As far as the direction of water goes, if the Coriolis Force Effect has any effect on the direction of the water draining it would be hard to measure. More so the shape of the actual plumbing fixture would have more of an effect on the actual direction of drainage.