Lewis Maclean June 2019

JUNE 2019


The toilet isn’t a topic many people like to talk about, especially in polite company. But no doubt, at times, the bathroom can be the most important room in the home. And when the plumbing becomes obstructed, you may find yourself counting down the seconds until it’s fixed. Plumbing emergencies can put your bathroom out of commission for a few hours, if not days, depending on the severity of the problem — and some of those problems aren’t cheap to fix. One of the biggest problems we continue to see are sewage backups caused by obstructions. While we see a variety of obstructions (see Page 3), the single most common obstruction is the wet wipe. We talked about wet wipes last year, but it bears repeating. Wet wipes are more popular than ever. They are convenient and useful for a variety of different applications, but the problem is many brands of wet wipes continue to be advertised as “flushable.” We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: There is no such thing as a flushable wet wipe. It doesn’t matter how small it is either. For instance, many wet wipes or moist towelettes unfold into a small square no larger than a toilet paper square. Because they seem so small, people think, “What’s the harm?” In this case, the problem isn’t size. A wet wipe is much thicker than a sheet of toilet paper. To make matters worse, they don’t break down like toilet paper, either. Wet wipes are highly fibrous because they’re designed to hold moisture.

Normal toilet paper begins to break down immediately when it comes in contact with moisture. It boils down to the fact that wet wipes simply aren’t designed for modern plumbing and sewage systems. When they do get flushed, they can bind up in the plumbing. Eventually, the plumbing can become completely blocked — and it’s not always near the point of entry. Many clogs happen further out, closer to where the home’s plumbing system links up with the municipal plumbing system. While a plumbing snake or auger can unblock some of these clogs, there are instances when homeowners had to have their yard dug up and the sewage line temporarily removed. It’s a costly headache for the homeowner. Homeowners with septic systems aren’t free and clear either. Some brands of wet wipes are advertised as antibacterial and contain small amounts of alcohol. These kinds of wipes can be detrimental to helpful bacteria living in septic systems to break down waste material. This doesn’t mean you have to stop using wet wipes. If you do use them, just be sure to dispose of them properly — in the trash. Unfortunately, wet wipes cannot be composted or recycled. They can only be thrown away. Wet wipes are made from synthetic fibres that don’t break down like organic fibres derived from wood. And there you have it, the straight truth about wet wipes! If you experience a clog or backup, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We don’t want you to wait to use the most important room in your home. We carry plumbing snakes in our trucks, so we’re always ready to tackle any clog that comes our way.

As always, we’re standing by the phone 24/7, ready to take your call for any plumbing, drainage, heating, or air conditioning needs!

–Tyler Dillon

1 604-532-9625 •


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