Archive for May, 2012

How does a home plumbing system work?

May 22nd, 2012

Large house

A critical aspect of your home

Let’s look at some of the very basics here – house-hold plumbing systems are one of the most crucial aspects of a house, without a plumbing system, you may as well consider yourself living in antiquity. Indeed, plumbing systems have been one of the benchmark achievements of modern civilizations, and have been around since the times of ancient Rome. Although home plumbing seems to be a very difficult science to master, by understanding the general principles by which a plumbing system operates, you can understand a lot about plumbing. Firstly, it is crucial to understand that in any plumbing system there are certain key forces at work; gravity, pressures, and water seeking.

Plumbing subsystems

All plumbing systems have two main components, called subsystems. One component works to bring in water from the street, while the other functions primarily to remove water that is already used. When water initially enters your house it is pressurized. This water pressure allows it to flow into house and go around any obstacles like bends and turns, that it may run into. As the water flows into your house, it is measured by a meter which allows a meter reader to inform the water company of how much water you are using. Typically, the main water shutoff is located somewhere in the general vicinity of the meter. If you have a plumbing emergency, it is important that you go to this main shutoff valve and shut off the entire water supply. If you do not do so, then your entire house could stand a risk at being flooded.

Sink faucet

Taps are, of course, a critical aspect of home plumbing

Conversely, if the problem area is confined to a smaller part of the house, let’s say, a sink or toilet, it could be possible to shut off only one stop valve located nearest to the problem area. The drainage system which allows the waste water to exit your home does not depend on pressure. All of the drainage pipes pitch, or angle, downward, allowing gravity to pull the waste water out of your plumbing system. This is the simplified version of how a home plumbing system works. There are, however, additional components that make the system function. There are vents that go into your drainage pipes. These vents enter into the drainage pipes, letting air in, for if there were no air entering into the drainage pipes, then the waste water in the traps would need to be siphoned out, as it would not flow correctly.

Plumbing traps

Traps are another vital part of your plumbing system, traps, also called u-joints, and are S-shaped sections of pipe under a drain. Water flows through these traps with enough force to remove the excess water, but the trap retains enough water in it to not allow sewer gases back into the house. There are many these fixtures in your home such as in your sink. Remember: Before you attempt to do any repair on a fixture, make sure that you have turned off the water supply to the fixture or the main shutoff. This is what home plumbing is all about.

When Should You Hire a Professional Plumber?

May 14th, 2012

confused woman

One of the most valuable DIY lessons is knowing when to call a pro

While there are some minor plumbing jobs that a homeowner can perform without assistance, there are times that a homeowner needs to hire a professional plumber to make certain that the job is done properly. A professional plumber will know how to handle a problem and can handle the problem more quickly than a homeowner. Here are some things for a homeowner to consider when determining whether or not to hire a plumber.

Get your problems solved, correctly

Making certain that a problem is handled safely is one of the best reasons to hire a plumber. Leaks in an upstairs bathroom or water pipes in a wall can create a safety hazard if the leak comes into contact with electrical wiring or other electrical devices. Leaks in these hard to access areas can also encourage the growth of mold. Mold is not only expensive to treat and remove, but mild mold growth can be deadly for the young and old and those with respiratory problems.

Stay out of hot water!

professional plumber

A pro plumber can really save the day!

Hot water problems are another situation that is likely to require the attention of a plumber. Problems with the heating element or other components of a hot water tank require expert repairs to prevent the creation of an unsafe condition. An improperly repaired hot water tank can produce scalding hot water or can produce excess pressure that may rupture the water heater or water lines. Repairs of any problems with devices that use natural gas, propane or other flammable gases should be performed by a professional.

Thinking about mucking with your sewer? Think again.

A homeowner should also contact a plumber to deal with any problems caused by sewer lines. Sewage or sewer gases backing up into a home can cause significant health problems. Sewer gas is also flammable and can create a deadly situation if not properly repaired. A plumber will also have the needed experience to perform or recommend that proper cleaning procedure to remove the residue from sewage.

Worried about your pressure?

Excessive water pressure is a problem that is generally best handled by a plumber. Excessive water pressure can cause damage to water lines and any device that uses water. High water pressure can also create leaks that can cause safety hazards or cause extensive property damage. Though not generally a safety hazard, low water pressure is a complex problem that may require the experience of a plumber to quickly diagnose and repair.

Keeping you up to code

Kitchen and bathroom upgrades may require the services of a plumber to make certain that the repairs are performed to meet local regulations. Though a homeowner may be able to make useable changes in either room, work that is correctly performed will cause additional expenses to get the home to pass an inspection when it is time to sell the home. Building codes and other regulations exist to make certain that homes are safe and energy efficient. Completing work that does not meet local building code may result in property damage and possibly even significant fines.

These are just a few examples of situations where a homeowner may need the services of a professional plumber.

General tips on finding a good plumber

May 11th, 2012

fixture repair and installationIf you are suffering from a problematic toilet, or leaky sink or faucet issues, you may be wonder what you can do to fix them. Well that’s where plumbers can come in; chances are you have quite a few in your local area. Deciding on a plumber can be a tedious issue as there are some people who will blatantly try to rip you off; therefore finding a high quality plumbing company should be your top priority.

Plumbers that provide emergency services

It’s important to consider that plumbing issues will happen at all times of the day, or night. So it is a good idea to find a plumbing company that can handle your emergencies. This is because, once you hire a plumber to do a job it’s a good idea to develop a working relationship with them. This way they’ll know your plumbing system better and have a working knowledge of your setup. Typically plumbers will charge extra to come out for emergencies, which should come as no surprise. But the advantage of having a serious plumbing problem such as a flood, broken pipe, faucet that won’t turn off, or toilet that won’t stop running, fixed in the middle of the night will typically more than pay for this expense.

plumber working in bathroomAsk for credentials!

Be sure that when you first visit with your plumber they bring all of their personal information such as insurance, license, and bonding information. The vast majority of truly professional companies will carry this sort of information along with them as it showcases their expertise and commitment to being a high-quality service provider. Plumbing companies or ‘handymen’ that do not have this information you should be wary of. These aspects of the plumbing contractors business are in place to assist both themselves and their customers. It is an added layer of protection against any unforeseen problems, such as a plumber that somehow is hurt on your property; you may end up being served the bill.

Keep an eye out for a deal

It is common to find professional plumbers that offer deals or specials on their services. Some come in the form of coupons and these can generally save a lot of money. Sometimes you can find these sorts of deals or coupons directly on a plumbing companies’ website, other times they are sent out in form of direct mail. These sorts of deals can really help you to save some money when it comes time to call on their services, so keep an eye out for these.

These are some general tips when trying to find a plumber, they are not set in stone by any means but I have written them down here to help someone who has never faced this issue become more enlightened in the process.

For more information on plumbers Wikipedia provides a great resource of general info.