Every homeowner should know a few plumbing basics. No we’re not just talking about how to use a plunger (though boy howdy is that important!), we’re talking about how certain features function in your home, or where key fixtures are located. This time on the Economy Plumbing Service LLC we’re talking plumbing basics and what you should know.
Plumbing Basics to Know
Where’s Your Water Main
If you know nothing else, know where your water main is located! The water main is the first access point for water heading from the supply to your home and it’ll typically be found outside or in the basement near a water heater. On the water main sits the shutoff valve. This when turned this valve will completely cut off the flow of water to your home. This is crucial in case you have a major plumbing disaster or project. Pipe break in the kitchen? Hit the water main, turn the valve (usually a lever or a wheel) and stop that flow of water fast!
How to Handle a Clogged Drain
It’s going to happen at some point – despite your best efforts, a drain is going to clog. Food debris goes down the pipes, hair and skin goes into shower drains and given time they will start to collect, first slowing the flow of water until it is fully blocked off. When this happens you are going to be tempted to jump to a liquid drain cleaner – after all, those commercials show the industrial sludge turning gross pipes into sparkling beauties! But don’t fall victim to that trap! Get a physical tool like a snake to remove clogs, these will remove the breakages entirely and not risk damaging your pipes with harsh chemicals.
Treat Your Toilet Right
Toilets are one of those plumbing fixtures that get the most use day in and out and if you’re not treating it right it’ll cause problems fast! The first thing to do is make sure that nothing but waste and toilet paper are going down the toilet. There may be many different materials that are disposable and one use only in bathrooms (like wipes, cotton swabs, hygiene products, etc.) but none of those belong down the toilet. Toilet paper is specifically designed to break down in water and plumbing, where swabs and wipes are not. They’ll get stuck in a pipe, never break down and soon your bathroom floor will be flooded with nothing good.
While you’re at it, make sure you have a plunger on hand – that’s something it’s better to have and not need than need and not have. And trust us, everyone needs a plunger eventually.
In addition, make sure you’re keeping an eye out for leaks. Leaks can start out fairly minor but can lead to larger water bills and trouble down the line. An easy way to do just that requires food coloring and a half hour. Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank and go for a walk, make a sandwich. Done? Nice now go back and check the water in your toilet bowl. See any color? If so you have a leak. If not you’re golden!
Don’t Disrespect the Disposal
Garbage disposals are another fixture in your home that get a lot of use day in day out. Some people might over rely on their disposals though and there-in comes the problem. Garbage disposals may be marketed as some sort of… super-powered-grinding-destruction machine that can handle everything.
But disposals can’t take everything! Oils, grease, fats, bones – those types of things shouldn’t be sent down the drain and if they do they can catch a hold of the side of the pipe. The grease and oils will then cool and thicken. Then the next batch comes down and cools. Then the next… and the next. You see where we’re going with this? Soon enough your pipe is clogged over.
So, the moral of the story? Don’t be careful about what you’re putting down the garbage disposal. Want to know more about what to avoid? Here’s 11 things not to put down the drain.
Now is that everything? Of course not, these are just the most basic of plumbing basics that every homeowner should understand. There’s always more to learn out there if you’re interested! If you’d rather just leave all plumbing to the professionals, we got your back! Need help clearing a clog or repiping a whole home? Economy Plumbing Services are the folks for you!