In a perfect world, our school systems would dedicate approximately a semester of your high school career to learning the basics of plumbing. Whether you own your own house or live in an apartment, you will have a plumbing issue to solve during your life. Some issues, like leaky faucets, are minor but can become larger problems down the road. If you don’t attend to plumbing problems or contract plumbing services to fix problems promptly, you might find yourself on the hook to pay for some very expensive water damage.
There are many plumbing issues that do not require the attention of professional plumbing services. However, even minor repairs can become catastrophic if you try to fix them without some basic plumbing knowledge. But even if you contract a professional service, it’s important to have an awareness of the basic functioning of your home so that you can provide the professional with important information when he or she arrives. Some important plumbing concepts are:
- The mainline
- Individual shut offs
- Septic or municipal network
- Sewer gas and p-traps
- Compression valves
- Push to connect valves
- Use the right tools
- Don’t over-tighten
- When in doubt, ask a pro
The Main Line
Most houses or apartment buildings have a main shut-off valve that supplies water to the residence. If you own a home, you need to know the location of this valve. If you have a ruptured pipe or some other emergency, you can shut off the main line and prevent massive water damage. It is also necessary to shut off the main line for some plumbing repairs.
Most sinks, showers, and toilets have individual shut-off valves near to the appliance. It is important to know where these valves are so you can turn off water to your appliance without turning off the water to your whole house. Individual shut-off valves sometimes need to be replaced after years of use. To replace a shut-off valve, you must shut off the main line.
Septic or Municipal Network
No matter where you live, it’s important to know whether your system is connected to a municipal water system, or if it’s a septic system. This information can be critical during various repairs, and it can help you guide a professional. When a professional repairman is at your home, he or she is being paid by the hour at a professional rate. You don’t want to waste their time forcing them to search for water and septic connections.
Sewer Gas and P-Traps
P-traps exist beneath sinks so that there is always a reservoir of water in the tube to prevent sewer gas from coming into your house. Sewer gas can be toxic, so you want to make sure that your P-traps are properly installed.
Compression valves are used on copper tubing and are tightened shut with a wrench. Most individual shut-offs will use a compression valve. It’s important to have somebody near the main line the first time you attempt to install a compression valve in case of leaks.
Push to Connect Valves
After using compression valves, push to connect valves will seem too good to be true. As the name implies, you simply push them together. It is still important to have somebody near the main line on your first installation in case there is a leak.
Use the Right Tools
Plumbing often requires working in very small corners or in walls. It can be difficult to get the proper leverage if you don’t have the extenders and attachments that are designed for close quarter operations. Do not use poorly fitting wrenches or you can strip bolts.
Don’t Over Tighten
Over tightening can create micro-fractures in the pipes that can lead to leaking down the road. It is especially important not to over tighten on plumbing work that will be sealed into a wall.
When in Doubt, Ask a Pro
City water is at high pressure and if you make a serious mistake, you risk flooding your house. If you discover a leak, it is prudent to familiarize yourself with the issue. But if the task seems daunting, do not hesitate to contact a pro. Professional plumbing services can handle all issues quickly and economically without risk of further damage.
Your Home Is Your Castle
Everyone needs a basic awareness of the plumbing facilities of their home or apartment. A little knowledge can help an individual solve a minor issue and direct a professional when more serious problems arise. If you have a plumbing problem, call our friendly staff here at ProPlumbNW for a quick and professional resolution for any of your home plumbing concerns.