The Costly Consequences of Flushing ‘Flushable’ Wipes
Have you ever reached for a flushable wipe instead of toilet paper, thinking it was the more hygienic choice?
You’re not alone. Flushable wipes have surged in popularity in recent years, with many consumers believing they are a convenient and effective way to stay clean. However, what many people don’t realize is that these so-called “flushable” wipes can wreak havoc on your plumbing system, causing blockages, backups, and costly repairs.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the costly consequences of flushing flushable wipes, and why you should think twice before using them in your home.
From the damage they can cause to your pipes, to the long-term costs of ignoring the problem, we’ll explore everything you need to know to protect your plumbing and your wallet.
So, if you want to learn how you can avoid paying for professional drain cleaning services, continue reading!
What are flushable wipes,
and why are they so popular?
Flushable wipes, also known as butt wipes, are a type of personal hygiene product designed to be used in place of traditional toilet paper. They are typically made from a combination of materials, including polyester, polypropylene, and wood pulp, which the manufacturer’s state are designed to break down in water.
While flushable wipes have been around for decades, they have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more people seek a more thorough and hygienic way to clean themselves after using the bathroom.
In addition to their use as a personal hygiene product, flushable wipes are also marketed for use in cleaning up spills, wiping down surfaces, and even removing makeup. With their convenience and versatility, it’s no wonder why they have become such a popular choice among consumers.
However, as we’ll explore in this article, the popularity of flushable wipes comes at a cost – both to your plumbing system and your wallet – and can lead to an emergency plumbing service call more frequently than you would think.
In a news release in 2018, the City of Ottawa urged residents to avoid flushing wipes down the toilet, citing damage they cause to pipes and sewer infrastructure. The City of Ottawa reported spending more than $2 million annually on maintenance and repairs related to blocked sewers, and identified flushable wipes as a significant contributor to the problem
Are flushable wipes really flushable?
What makes them different from regular toilet paper?
While flushable wipes are marketed as a convenient and easy-to-use alternative to traditional toilet paper, the truth is that they are not truly flushable – and, they often lead to blocked toilets and drain backups.
Unlike toilet paper, which is designed to quickly dissolve in water, flushable wipes are made from materials that are not as easily broken down. While some flushable wipes are marketed as biodegradable or eco-friendly, they can still cause serious problems in your plumbing system.
For example, some wipes can become tangled in your pipes or sewer lines, leading to blockages, backups, and even costly repairs. Furthermore, many wipes contain chemicals or fragrances that can cause irritation or allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. So while flushable wipes may seem like a convenient choice, it’s important to remember that they are not as flushable as they may seem, and can cause serious damage to your plumbing and your health.
Flushable wipes are one of the most common causes of blocked drains.
How do flushable wipes impact your plumbing system?
What kind of damage can they cause?
Flushable wipes may seem like a convenient option for keeping yourself clean, but they can have a serious impact on your plumbing system. When flushed down the toilet, flushable wipes can accumulate in your pipes and sewer lines, leading to blockages and backups.
Unlike toilet paper, which quickly breaks down in water, flushable wipes are made from materials that are designed to be durable and long-lasting. This means that they can get caught on rough spots or bends in your pipes, creating a sticky situation that can be difficult to resolve.
Even worse, flushable wipes can cause damage to your plumbing that can lead to costly repairs, such as leaking pipes or sewer backups. In the long run, the cost of flushing flushable wipes can far outweigh the benefits they provide. So before you flush those wipes, remember the high price you may end up paying in the end.
According to the Municipal Enforcement Sewer Use Group (MESUG), a non-profit organization that works with municipalities in Ontario, flushable wipes accounted for up to 30% of all debris found in wastewater treatment plants, despite making up less than 1% of all material flushed down toilets.
What are some common signs that you have a flushable wipe blockage in your pipes?
If you’re using flushable wipes in your home, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs that they may be causing problems in your plumbing system.
One of the most common signs of a flushable wipe blockage is slow draining water in your sinks, tubs, or toilets. This can indicate that there is a buildup of wipes in your pipes that is preventing water from flowing freely. Additionally, clogged sinks, clogged showers, or floor drain backups can also be due to a flushable wipe blockage.
You may also notice gurgling sounds coming from your drains, or an unpleasant smell coming from your toilet or sink. In some cases, you may even experience a complete backup of your plumbing system, which can cause sewage to overflow into your home or yard.
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to call a professional plumber right away to address the problem before it gets worse. Ignoring the problem can lead to costly repairs and potential health hazards.
According to a study conducted by Water UK in 2017, “flushable wipes” accounted for up to 93% of material causing sewer blockages.
How much does it cost to fix plumbing issues caused by flushable wipes?
What are some potential long-term costs?
The cost of fixing plumbing issues caused by flushable wipes can vary widely depending on the extent of the damage and the location of the problem.
In some cases, a simple blockage such as a clogged toilet can be cleared with a plunger or an auger, which on average in Ottawa, can cost in the neighbourhood of a few hundred dollars.
However, if the blockage is more severe, it may require more extensive repairs, such as hydro jetting or even sewer pipe replacement. These repairs can cost thousands of dollars and can take several days to complete.
Additionally, if the blockage causes a sewer backup or overflow, you may be responsible for paying for the cost of cleaning up the damage and addressing any health hazards. In the long run, flushing flushable wipes can end up costing you much more than you saved by using them in the first place. So, it’s important to avoid flushing any type of wipe down your toilet to prevent costly plumbing issues from occurring.
What can you do to prevent flushable wipe-related plumbing problems?
What alternatives are there to flushing wipes?
Preventing flushable wipe-related plumbing problems starts with proper disposal of these products. The best way to avoid clogging your pipes with flushable wipes is to throw them in the trash, rather than flushing them down the toilet.
You can also consider using alternatives to flushable wipes, such as a bidet or a washcloth. Another option is to use toilet paper that is specifically designed to break down quickly in water, such as septic-safe or RV toilet paper.
It’s also a good idea to educate yourself and your family members about the dangers of flushing wipes, and to encourage everyone to dispose of them properly. By taking these simple steps, you can avoid costly plumbing problems and keep your pipes flowing smoothly.
What should you do if you suspect that you have a flushable wipe blockage in your pipes?
When is it time to call a plumber?
If you suspect that you have a flushable wipe blockage in your pipes, it’s important to act quickly to address the problem. The longer you wait, the more damage the blockage can cause to your plumbing system.
If you’re experiencing slow draining water or gurgling sounds coming from your drains, the first step is to try clearing the blockage yourself using a plunger or an auger.
However, if these methods don’t work or the blockage is severe, it’s time to call a professional plumber. A licensed plumber has the expertise and tools needed to identify and address the problem quickly and effectively. They can also advise you on steps you can take to prevent future blockages and keep your plumbing system in good working order.
By calling a plumber as soon as you suspect a problem, you can avoid costly repairs and protect your home from potential health hazards.
In conclusion, are flushable wipes bad for plumbing?
They definitely can be. Flushable wipes are one of the leading causes of blocked drains.
So, if your goal is to support your local plumbing companies and drain cleaning companies as much as possible, then using flushable wipes is terrific.
But, if you’d rather protect your plumbing system and wallet and prevent clogged pipes, it’s wise to consider an alternative!
Call John The Plumber If You’ve Got A Blocked Toilet in Ottawa!
John The Plumber is your local 5-star drain service company.
We’re known for fast, friendly, and same-day service. Our plumbers are honest and efficient, and they’re equipped with everything they need to solve your problems fast and properly!
Whether you need a plumber in Nepean, or you’re in the east end, we’re the local plumbing company that is available for service today!