Plumbing Basics For Beginners

 

You rely on your plumbing to deliver safe water for cleaning, cooking, and drinking in your home. You also rely on it to keep you clean by safely transporting wastewater. Your plumbing is necessary, but how well do you understand how it works?

When it comes to making decisions concerning your plumbing or figuring out why you’re having problems with it, a little knowledge can go a long way. And, armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to avoid doing actions or making judgments that could lead to plumbing issues. Let’s look at the fundamentals of your home’s water system so you can be a more informed homeowner.

Your Plumbing System’s Three Components

While your plumbing system has many distinct components, it’s helpful to divide it into three main systems: water supply, water heating, and drainage.

Getting Water Into Your Home – Your Water Supply

Water comes from one of two sources in the pipes that bring water to your home:

Let’s look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Water from the city
Most likely, if you live in a developed residential area in a city or suburb, your system uses city water. Throughout your community, a number of massive pipes known as “mains” are underground, usually beneath the streets. Individual lines branch off from the mains to supply the houses and businesses on the system.

Water will pass via a water meter before entering your home’s plumbing system. This is used to determine how much water is consumed in your home so that the local utility system may bill you for it. At the water meter, you’ll discover a shut-off valve. This valve allows you to totally cut off the water supply to your home, which is highly beneficial in the event of a plumbing emergency such as a burst pipe.

Take the time to locate your water meter and shut-off valve if you don’t know where they are. They’re normally near the street, hidden beneath a metal cover the size of a huge plate that says “water meter.” Open it up and familiarize yourself with the placement of the shut-off valve. With a huge adjustable wrench, you can turn it on and off.

There are certain benefits to relying on city water rather than a well.

Reliability. You don’t need any special equipment to use city water systems. You can expect a consistent supply of water once you’re connected to the main, and you won’t have to worry about maintaining pumps or other equipment. And, unlike electric-pump wells, your water will continue to flow even if the power goes out.
Safety. While news stories like the Flint water crisis may cause concern, the vast majority of municipal water systems provide a safe and dependable source of water that is tested and treated on a regular basis. While a good well can give plenty of clean water, it’s up to you to analyze the water for bacteria and other impurities on a regular basis.

A damaged water main — the water pipe that brings water into your home — can be a major undertaking. For skilled water main repairs, contact Team Enoch.

Water from a well
You may own land that is well-suited for a well. Additionally, having a well as a water source has some advantages.

There are no monthly water costs. A well does not come cheap. Drilling, pumps, testing, and other expenses are only a few examples. However, once these prices are taken into account, you’ll have a steady supply of water that won’t require a monthly payment.
Chemical-free. You will get clean, safe drinking water from a decent well.
Water limitations are no longer an issue. You won’t have to be concerned if your location is experiencing a drought.
Property value has increased. Having a well on your property can often raise the value of your land and home.

Wells aren’t always without problems. There is a potential of groundwater pollution depending on what is going on on the lands around you. As a result, it’s critical to have your water tested once a year and to be aware of any changes in the taste of your water.

There are numerous critical components to a well water system:

The well casing is the tube that makes up the well’s body. A screen will be installed in the well casing to filter out dirt and debris. They’re often made of steel or plastic.
Water is drawn from the well by a pump and transported to your residence via an underground pipe.
A pressure tank in your home pressurizes the water so that it can flow through your pipes.

Because your pump and pressure tank both require electricity to work, it’s a good idea to have a backup power source, such as a generator, to keep them running in the event of an extended power loss. In this post, you will learn more about the various generating options available to you.

Water Distribution in Your Home

When water enters your home, there are numerous critical components to be aware of that help distribute the water to where it is needed.

Valve stoppers

Let’s say one of your faucets has a leak and needs to be turned off or replaced temporarily. It’s impracticable to turn off all of your home’s water supply when only a minor repair is required. Stop valves are used in this situation.

Stop valves can be found all over your house. There will be one near the point where your water supply enters your home. It’s useful for times when you might want to turn off the water completely, such as during a long trip or if you’re concerned about your pipes freezing during extremely cold weather. Stop valves can also be found beneath sinks and toilets. You can isolate where you need to undertake replacement or repair work by turning off these valves.

Water that is both hot and chilly

From your water main or well, cold water travels directly to your taps or toilet tanks. However, the hot water we use for bathing, showers, dishwashing, and laundry travels a longer path. A water heater provides hot water to your home. In most homes, a single centralized water heater will suffice, while on-demand water heaters may be used in some situations.

A branch line connects a central water heater to your main water pipe, and the hot water is then transported to where you need it via a series of pipes. Water heaters can heat water in a variety of ways, including electricity, gas, or solar. A thermostat incorporated within the heater controls the temperature of the water.

When it comes to replacing or updating your water heater, there are numerous variables to consider. In this blog post, we’ll go through how to choose a water heater.

Drainage and Wastewater

When water enters your home, it must exit as well. That’s where your plumbing’s drain system comes into play. Gravity is used by your drains to transport wastewater away from your home and to either a municipal wastewater system or a septic field. That may seem straightforward, but there are three key components of your drain system to be aware of: vents, traps, and cleanouts.

Vents

Have you ever wondered what those small pipes protruding from your roof are for? Your drains have vents in them. We won’t go into the details of how they work, but drainpipes won’t work correctly without vents. To allow wastewater to flow through the system, drains must have sufficient venting.

Traps

The curved portions of piping beneath your sink and incorporated into the base of your toilet are known as traps. Sewer gas cannot back up into your home if there is always water in the trap. Clogs can form in your traps due to their shape, which prompts us to…

Clean-outs

To make cleaning clogged traps easier, they often contain removable plugs that give access to the trap without disassembling it completely. Using the clean-out, you may be able to clear a blockage on your own.

Keeping blockages at bay

One of the most prevalent plumbing issues is clogged drains, which can be caused by a variety of factors. A drainage problem is nearly always fixed by eliminating a clog. Use strainers at your kitchen sink to keep excess food particles out of your drains and avoid pouring excessive grease down the drain to help prevent clogs. Keep hair out of your drains as much as possible in the bathroom, and only flush garbage and toilet paper down your toilet. Clogs are prevalent with “flushable” wipes, both in residences and in municipal sewer systems.

The Basics of Maintenance

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the adage goes. You may avoid some of the most frequent home plumbing issues by following these simple measures.

Make sure your drains aren’t clogged. The best approach to avoid clogs is to keep foreign things out of your drains. To avoid food scraps from blocking your drain in the kitchen, use screens on your drain or install a disposal. In the bathroom, make sure to keep as much hair out of the drain as possible. Also, flushable wipes and hygiene products should not be flushed. When cleaning a blockage at home, use commercial drain cleaners sparingly because they might harm your pipes over time.
Examine your pipes. Wherever feasible, keep a watch on exposed pipes, such as those in your garage or basement, and take note of any leaks. In enclosed places, keep an eye out for mildew on the walls or nasty aromas. They could indicate a leaking pipe.
Drain the tank on your water heater. Draining your water heater a couple of times a year to clear away sediment and rust is a good idea. This easy step will significantly extend the life of your water heater.
Prepare your pipes for the winter. Before the winter arrives, make sure you winterize any exposed or susceptible pipes. A burst pipe can cause significant damage and be an unexpected expenditure. For more information, see our guide on winterizing your home.
Ensure that your plumbing is in tip-top shape.

The plumbing of your home is critical to your health, comfort, and pleasure. Regularly maintaining your plumbing and making quick repairs when needed is a vital element of house upkeep.

Early detection of plumbing issues can save you money on your water bill by preventing wasted water, as well as water damage and mold growth caused by leaking pipes. When left neglected or handled incorrectly, even minor difficulties can grow into much larger problems. As a result, it’s a good idea to have skilled professionals evaluate your home’s plumbing system on a regular basis.

We hope that this look at the fundamentals of plumbing has given you a better understanding of how your plumbing works and how you may better care for it and spot problems early. We take pride in our work at Team Enoch, and we have the skills and know-how to not only cure plumbing problems, but also to spot prospective problems before they occur. Preventative maintenance and inspection programs are included in our membership plans to assist you keep your system in good working order.

If you have a plumbing problem or wish to update some aspects of your system, contact us now and we’ll be pleased to discuss your options. Always keep in mind that estimates are always free!