All You Need to Know About Plumbing

If you venture into homeownership, then as the homeowner you must understand the big responsibility you have on your shoulders. In terms of keeping your home intact, that includes taking care of your plumbing.

We, homeowners, are in charge of the conditions of our house fixtures (i.e. sinks, toilets, faucets, pipes, water heater, washing machine, etc.). Otherwise, we cannot get through our daily household routine smoothly. Leaks and clogs are disastrous to our plumbing system. No matter how small the problem is, it’s imperative that we fix it immediately before it takes serious effects. We need to take note of important guidelines to keep our plumbing system in good shape and enjoy a productive day at home. 

Knowing How Plumbing Works

The fundamental step toward proper plumbing maintenance is knowing what plumbing really is or how it works. Plumbing is always an important element of home ownership. Like other parts of the household, our plumbing fixtures need to be taken care of and properly checked every now and then. Indeed, one of the most crucial responsibilities of homeowners is to always keep the plumbing system in check.

Plumbing issues and malfunctions arise from time to time whether in a household or commercial building. The most common types of plumbing problems are leaks and clogs which are inevitable especially if you have a lot of people staying in the house. Regardless of how minor the problem is, however, it is advised that it must be resolved as soon as possible for it may later cause major damages to other parts of your plumbing system.

Two Types of Plumbing Systems

The plumbing system has two types—the water supply system and the drain-water vent system (DWV). Fresh water enters the household through the water supply system, which is a system of pipes that is highly dependent on water pressure. Having low water pressure is usually caused by blockages and/or leaks in the water supply pipeline, which then affects the water supply to our faucets, toilets, and showers. The DWV system, on the other hand, gets rid of the wastewater from the household. Drain pipes, drain traps, and drain vents make up the DWV system. Pipes in drains carry or move the waste from the fixtures to the sewer line non-stop; that is why they are way bigger than water supply pipes and are built at downward angles as they highly rely on gravity. Drain traps, on the other hand, are responsible for trapping nasty debris and preventing backflow. They are built with curvatures, designed to consistently hold water and trap “odorous” sewer gases so they don’t escape into your home. Those small pipes you can see running from your roof down to your drain pipes are called drain vents. Through them, the air is released into the drain pipes, which helps facilitate smooth drainage.

Basics of Plumbing You Must Know

Among other things, it is important for people in the household to somehow possess basic know-how about plumbing. This is the way to protect our home and everyone in the household from the stress brought by plumbing disasters. Let’s keep in mind the following pointers so we can better keep our plumbing in tiptop condition:

    • Leaky faucets should not be taken lightly.

Most of the time, people tend to not pay so much attention to a leaky faucet, especially if the leak appears to be just a small one. What we don’t know is that leaky faucets are the reasons why a household wastes as much as 3,000 gallons of water every year. Small leaks, over time, can put a huge dent in our wallet for the leaks will eventually lead to water wastage, thereby increasing your water bills. Hence, we need to fix small leaks as soon as we can before they affect other fixtures at home and waste more water along the way.

    • Low-flush toilets are advantageous.

One of the products of plumbing evolution is the low flush toilet, which is a very effective water-saving plumbing technology. A low-flush toilet helps every household save hundreds to thousands of gallons of water annually.

    • There are two distinct types of plungers–one for the sink and one for the toilet.

A sink plunger is definitely different from a toilet plunger in terms of usage and appearance. A sink plunger is the one we commonly see with a plain flat bottom or base. That’s obviously designed to unclog drains or sinks.  A toilet plunger, on the other hand, has a narrow base and is used for unclogging toilets.

    •  Insulated pipes help warm up water faster.

Giving your pipes proper insulation does not only protect your pipes from the cold weather. It also helps trap heat, thus warming up the water that travels from the water heater to the faucets. As a result, you no longer have to spend a long time waiting for hot water to come out of your shower or taps.

    • Set the temperature of your water heater to no more than 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ideal hot temperature for taking a bath or shower is 125 degrees F and below only. Going beyond it can be very dangerous for it will burn your skin in just a matter of seconds.

    • Careful what you flush down the toilet.

The toilet is one of the most essential fixtures of the home because we use it every day. Unfortunately, some people treat the toilet as if it is a trash bin. This is so wrong as nasty debris not only can clog the toilet but also can damage your pipes. Every member of the household must know about the proper way to use the toilet and to refrain from flushing stuff. These are baby wipes (even if labeled “flushable”), tissue paper, food debris, hair, and other objects (i.e. toys).

    • A vinegar and baking soda mixture is the best alternative for cleaning the drain.

Commercial drain cleaners are readily available in the store and may seem effective for unclogging drains. However, chemical drain cleaners contain harsh ingredients that are undoubtedly not good for the pipes, particularly when used excessively. According to plumbing experts, one natural alternative solution to clogged drains is white vinegar and baking soda mix. It is safe to use and inexpensive. Just half a cup of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda poured into the drain can create a bubbling effect. This helps remove backups or blockages in the drain. Others would let the solution stay overnight and then run boiling hot water through the drain afterward to further eliminate the remaining backup residues.

    • Know the location of the house’s main shut-off valve.

Nowadays, some homeowners still do not know the location of their main water valve at home. As far as your plumbing system is concerned, not knowing anything can be a dangerous thing. The main water valve is the household’s main source of water. In case of plumbing emergencies or repairs, shut off the main valve right away to avoid accidents. This also lessens any damage to your property. In terms of appearance, the main water valve usually has a lever or a round wheel handle. It may be located in the basement, usually in a place near the front foundation wall, and/or inside your home’s crawl space.

Plumbing Maintenance Goes a Long Way

Knowing things relevant to home plumbing greatly helps homeowners better take care of their household. The plumbing system plays a significant role in keeping things smooth sailing and fixtures well–functioning at home. Therefore, awareness is the key to achieving well-maintained plumbing on the property. While professional plumbers surely are the right people to call when we encounter problems with our plumbing, it is more advantageous if we homeowners somehow are knowledgeable about plumbing and keeping it in shape.