Plumbing Basics Every Homeowner Should Know

Plumbing is the system that brings water into and out of a house. It carries clean water to fixtures and appliances, and removes wastewater and vents gasses. 

Keeping up with basic plumbing knowledge can help prevent and address issues like leaky faucets, clogged drains and running toilets. Learn these plumbing basics to be a better, more informed homeowner. 

Know Your Pipes 

Plumbing pipes are the backbone of your entire system, carrying water to every faucet and drain, and removing waste into the sewer. The pipes are a series of tubes that can be made from a variety of materials like copper, plastic, galvanized steel, and cast iron. 

Knowing basic pipe expertise can save you cash and prevent plumbing emergencies from occurring. For instance, understanding how to identify early indicators of a clogged drain or toilet can help you quickly repair the issue before it gets out of control. 

Additionally, knowing what type of pipes are in your home and how to recognize a main water shut-off valve can help you avoid disastrous consequences like flooding and costly repairs. Also, remember to never over-tighten a fixture as this can damage the thread and rubber seals. 

Know Your Fixtures 

Home fixtures, including faucets, toilets, showers, and bathtubs, are connected to the plumbing system and provide us with clean, safe water for everyday use. They also wear down with normal use, making them subject to breakdowns and needing repairs from time to time. 

You can do some easy DIY fixes to extend the life of your plumbing fixtures, such as installing low-flow toilets or replacing old water heaters. It’s also important to know how your fixtures affect your plumbing by knowing their flow rates. It may seem counterintuitive, but over time, screws and other hardware loosen. Understanding this phenomenon can help you avoid costly plumbing repair down the road. Aside from this, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your fixtures for proper alignment. 

Know Your Drains 

Drain lines are responsible for carrying waste water away from sinks, tubs and toilets. Anything that goes down a drain other than water has the potential to clog it, including bits of food, hair, soap scum and garbage. If a drain is constantly slowing or smelling stale, it may be time for a professional plumbing cleaning service. 

Clogged drains can lead to serious plumbing problems. If left untreated, they can erode pipes over time, becoming leaky and cracked. Schedule routine maintenance

to prevent small issues from growing into big repairs and avoid the costs of a full sewer line replacement. To keep your drains smelling fresh, use a regime of half a cup baking soda followed by a half cup of vinegar to clean and deodorize them. 

Know Your Appliances 

Home plumbing often seems like an intimidating, mysterious network of pipes and fixtures. But understanding a few basic plumbing basics can help you navigate it like a pro. A plumber in Melbourne can assist with understanding your appliance hook ups and installation if needed. 

For starters, know that your home’s plumbing system consists of three primary systems: your water supply, your water heating and your drain-waste-vent (DWV) system. Your water supply system brings clean water into your house and keeps it running at high pressure. 

If you live in an established residential area, your city likely supplies your water through a series of large pipes known as mains, which run underneath the streets. Be careful not to plant trees near these lines; roots can cause damage. You can also avoid plumbing problems by keeping clogs to a minimum. 

Know Your Shutoff Valve 

There are few things more important than knowing the location of your home’s water and gas shut off valves. If a pipe bursts or you need to make a major plumbing repair, having immediate access to these can prevent large-scale damage and save you thousands of dollars in potential water damage repairs. 

Each individual fixture in your home, such as sinks or toilets, also has a fixture shut off valve that allows you to shut off water access to that specific fixture. These are usually angled valves and look like a small wheel you turn. 

Ideally, you want to have a quarter-turn shut off valve so that it can be closed or opened with a single quarter-turn. These are much more reliable than compression valves that require multiple turns to open or close.

These plumbing basics will help prolong the life of your plumbing system and help keep everything running properly.