Depending on the type of house you own and where you live, you may not know everything about your plumbing system. Without proper knowledge of your plumbing system, you might call someone unqualified to fix a problem. It can end up costing more money in the long run by calling the wrong company.
This blog teaches you everything you need to know about your plumbing system, or you can watch the video here:
Your plumbing system starts at the water meter. The city is responsible for the valve, meter, and anything before it. If there’s a leak on the other side of the meter, it’s your responsibility. You may need a tool to get in the meter box to turn the water off, which could save you thousands of dollars.
Two-way-clean-outs are where the sewer line run from the house, out to the tap. Two-way-clean-outs are great for two different reasons:
1. You can run cameras or a sewer machine from the two-way-clean-outs into the house or out to the street.
2. There is a p trap installed under the two-way-clean-outs, the backwash of the house water filtration system.
The gas meter is where the gas comes into the house. You are responsible for anything leaking on the side of the gas meter going into the house. The gas company is responsible for anything on the other side of the meter and anything underground.
The kitchen sink is a big part of your plumbing system. Probably the part you use more than any of the others.
Almost everything on a kitchen sink can be changed. Working on a kitchen sink is a good DIY project.
Underneath the kitchen sink is also connections for the dishwasher. The dishwasher has a hot water supply line and a discharge hose. These things are easy for you to work on and change yourself.
The electrical connection usually comes out of the wall underneath it. You may need to call an electrician so you don’t get shocked working on it.
Behind the refrigerator, if your freezer has an ice maker, there should be a valve. Normally, if there’s a problem, you’ll want to call a plumber because you might have to get into the wall.
Whether you have an electric or gas oven, if you smell gas at the oven you’ll want to call a plumber.
The faucet and drain from the bathroom sink are also part of the plumbing system. If the cartridges start to drip, that is something you can do as a DIY project.
Take it apart and take the cartridges to a plumbing supply store to see if they can match the cartridges. It is best to use the same brand and not a knock-off so you don’t have any problems later on.
For the piping underneath, you have the typical p trap. You also have a condensation drain above the p trap which keeps sewer gas from coming through. This is something you want to maintain to avoid overflowing.
To work on the bathtub, you’ll have to get inside the tub. It’s recommended to go through the wall instead of the tub to avoid the risk of cracking and ruining the tub.
On the faucet, there is an aerator that can be replaced. For the waste and overflow, the overflow can be removed with a screwdriver. Be careful when removing the overflow. If there’s not a metal ring hanging over to keep it in place, it might pop back into the wall when taking it apart.
For the drain itself, you may need to pull the inside out to get to the drain body that goes into the shoe. However, it requires a special tool to remove it.
All of these are things you can do as a DIY project. Just make sure you have the right tools to do it properly.
The shower head and shower valve are both parts of the plumbing system. What most people don’t realize, is a dripping shower head is usually a problem with the valve. If your shower head is dripping, you probably need to change the cartridge in the shower valve.
Soaking your shower head in vinegar for ten minutes can help clean and get rid of calcium if you don’t have an anti-scale system.
Changing the shower head and shower valve are easy to do and usually a good DIY project.
The toilet is another easy thing to work on and change. There’s an angle stop behind the toilet to shut the water off, which you want to do anytime you’re working on it or changing it.
You also have the fill valve, flush valve, flapper, and handle on the inside. These are all parts that are easy to change.
The washing machine box behind the washing machine has a hot and cold valve. It also has drainpipe connected to it.
You want to make sure the washing machine drain hose is stuck down in there properly. The valves can be taken off and replaced if they start leaking, but if there’s a problem with them you may need to open up the wall to change out the whole valve box assembly.
The fireplace lighter is another gas appliance. If you ever smell gas here, either turn it off or close it and make sure there’s no gas coming out at the log lighter in the fireplace.
The water heater is the biggest part of a plumbing system and the part you appreciate the most. You have the gas line coming in at the bottom, the control valve on the front, cold line in and hotline out.
Most people don’t know enough about water heaters to install it themselves and do it right, causing them to put themselves in danger. If you install your own water heater, check and make sure you’re doing everything right.
The drain valve is the most important part of a water heater for a homeowner. Once a year, after getting a new water heater, connect a hose to the drain valve. Run the hose out to concrete or into a five-gallon bucket where you can pour it down a drain.
Draining the water heater breaks up the magnesium and calcium that builds up in the bottom if you don’t have an anti-scale system. This is why you should regularly flush your water heater.
If your water heater is leaking, the ball valve is on top to shut off the water. Shutting the water off will help eliminate the problem and hopefully keep water from going into the house.
Water Filtration System
Installing a whole house water filtration system is good for chlorine levels. It will last about 20 years, maintenance free. It plugs in, so it has to have an electrical connection. It backwashes itself, has a built-in bypass, and has a backwash that runs out to the drain.
This is a good system to have. It helps take care of the entire plumbing system.
Secret Tip #1: Leave the caps to the two-way clean-outs in the front yard loose, but still on so animals don’t crawl inside. Keeping the caps loose will cause the lines to back up into the yard instead of the house in the event of a stoppage.
Secret Tip #2: Make sure you know how to turn off the water. Whether it’s at the meter or in the valve box, if you have a flood, shutting off the water fast can save thousands of dollars.
Secret Tip #3: If you think you smell gas in your house, go out to the gas cut off and turn the valve so that it’s perpendicular to the line and not parallel. Parallel means its open and flowing as it should be.
If you smell gas at the line, spray it with soapy water to see if it bubbles. That’s how you find the leak. If you do see a leak, turn it off and call a plumber or the gas company.
Whether you’re turning the water off at the meter or the valve box, turning off your gas, or leaving the caps off your clean outs, all of those tips can save you money.