There was a time in which wet wipes were reserved for cleaning babies during the diaper-changing process. However, wet wipes, also referred to as disposable wipes, are being increasingly used by adults as well. They provide a portable, disposable alternative to carrying cloth towels. People use these wipes to clean their faces, their hands, and the home’s surfaces.
While the convenience that these types of wipes provide cannot be disputed, the manner in which they are disposed of can prove to be problematic. While there are a number of brands that advertise their disposable wipes as being flushable, what people are learning is that over time, flushing these wipes leads to the clogging of the plumbing, and high costs for toilet repair.
Using Disposable Wipes as a Convenience
The term “disposable wipes” is simply another term for wet wipes that are packaged and marketed for adult use. In essence, there is no difference between wet wipes and disposable wipes, with the exception of fragrances and types of soap. As far as the type of paper that is used, everything is basically the same.
Some manufacturers and brands market their products as being flushable, which should mean that it breaks down in water, much in the same manner as toilet paper, however, consumers are reporting that they are running into plumbing problems with prolonged use.
The cost to repair the clog can be expensive.
There are multitudinous consumer reports that are being published suggesting that flushing these wipes has led to expensive repair costs.
According to these reports, the number of instances in which pipes are becoming clogged due to flushing wipes is increasing exponentially. While it may seem that the clogging of pipes with disposable wipes would be a minor issue, with minimal damage, there have been reports of major pipe damage, and sewage backup — which can also create health hazards.
In addition to problems in residential structures, there have been reports of city governments having to invest in heavy equipment to repair or replace pipes that have been damaged by flushable wipes. These wipes have increasingly clogged pipes and water pumps over the last several years. There have been flooded basements, in addition to damaged furniture and walls.
How to Avoid Costly Repairs Associated with Flushable Wipes
Although packages may be labeled as flushable, it is imperative to understand that the current standard for what is considered flushable is somewhat ambiguous, and the regulatory sanctions for mislabeling this type of product are relatively light, which reveals that just because it is labeled as flushable does not mean that it is a good idea to flush it down the toilet.
The first thing that has to be considered is the plumbing design and the layout of the pipes. Some plumbing systems will fare better than others.
The best way to determine if a particular home has a plumbing system that can facilitate flushable wipes is to consult a qualified plumber. The plumber will be able to access the plans for the design, and they will be able to advise the homeowner as to whether their plumbing system can facilitate flushing disposable wipes. It is likely that the vast majority of plumbing professionals will err on the side of caution — suggesting that disposable wipes not be flushed.
When consulting a number of top plumbing companies across the country about ways to avoid this costly issue, the common response was not to flush them.
Drain Cleaning Pipes Clogged by Wipes
For the homeowner, it should be a common practice of having their plumbing system inspected at least twice per year. The good thing is that the homeowner who has their plumbing system inspected by a qualified plumbing professional will benefit from the fact that the inspection will reveal buildup that could possibly lead to a clog. The sooner that a problem like this is discovered and addressed, the easier it will be to resolve the issue.
Additionally, the earlier the problem is diagnosed, the less expensive the repairs will be.
When people don’t address plumbing issues until symptoms manifest, it can often be too late.
Homeowners should understand that water flows through the pipe systems being propelled by pressure, and where there is pressure, there is always a risk of damaging the pipes as the pressure builds.
When pipes burst, there is risk of interior water damage. It is also a chance that the damage will trigger sewage backup, which will not only create an inconvenience, but it could be harmful to the health of the residents in that home and surrounding homes.
Once the pipes burst, toilet repair and drain cleaning costs can literally skyrocket. What homeowners should avoid is the proclivity to take shortcuts and to seek cheaper ways of addressing the issue. When it comes to plumbing, if it is not repaired right initially, the damages will simply compound when the faulty repair fails.
Using a professional will ensure that the problem is properly diagnosed and all of the damage is detected the first time around.
It is obvious that the use of disposable wipes provides convenience, however, convenience should be tempered with practicality. While flushing the wipes may seem to be expedient, the long-term effects make it counterproductive, and costly. To dispose of these wipes through other means would prove more beneficial.
When Toronto homeowners do find themselves in a situation in which their pipes and drains are clogged because of flushing disposable wipes, they should seek professional assistance, as soon as possible.
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