Plumbing Basics From Plumbers

What is plumbing? Before you install plumbing fixtures, buy tools and equipment, or DIY plumbing problems yourself, here are the basics of plumbing.

Here are some basic plumbing basics and information for you from plumbers. You probably didn’t know that the word plumbing comes from the Latin word plumbum. Plumbum means lead. The pipes of ancient times were made out of lead. Basically plumbing is a trade that consists of plumbing fixtures for drinking water systems, tubing and pipes, and handling drainage waste.

clogged bath tub drain with snake
One major category of plumbing is to ensure proper drainage.


A plumber is someone who repairs or installs equipment such as piping systems, water heaters and plumbing fixtures. The plumbing industry is an important part of any developed country due to the need for clean water and the transport of wastes.

Another definition of plumbing is a system of fixtures and pipes installed in a building to distribute water and for the removal of wastes. The basics of plumbing consists of several systems that work independently while other systems merge together in the home. Water is delivered to your home using pressure through a water system of pipes that carry water to plumbing fixtures, faucets, sprinklers and outdoor hose bibs. Moreover, the major categories of plumbing systems include: rainwater, surface and subsurface water drainage, drains and vents, traps, potable hot and cold water supply, and septic systems.

Water Heaters

Water heater maintenance is an important way to prevent problems according to some plumbers. Water heaters don’t last forever and will eventually leak. It is a good idea to place a pan under the water heater to prevent water damage to your home. Furthermore, once a year you should perform maintenance on your hot water heater. Begin by turning off the electricity and/ or gas because if the element comes on when the tank is dry it can cause damage to the water heater.

Then turn off the water supply to the water heater and drain it. Once it is drained and with the hose still attached open and close the inlet valve several times in order to flush out the sediment. Continue to do this until the water runs clear. If there are large chunks of scale coming loose, you may have to dismantle the valve to remove it.

Next, remove the sacrificial anode. The sacrificial anode is located on top of the water heater and looks like a plug. It should be almost as long as the water heater. If it or any portion of is thinner than inch replace it. Leaving the anode out, shine a flashlight into the tank to check for rust. If there is a a lot of rust in the tank then you should consider replacing the water heater now before it breaks down on you.

Normally, water heaters are lined with glass or ceramic to prevent corrosion. Once the corrosion develops the heat of the water speeds up the process. If everything looks good, put everything back in place and turn on the water. Then open a hot water faucet to let the air out. Once the hot water heater fills with water, turn the electricity back on.

Frozen Pipes

Another problem plumbers warn about is frozen pipes. In fact, some plumbers declare that, in the winter, frozen pipes can cause major damage that amounts huge expenses for the homeowner. Prevention is the best way to avoid having frozen pipes. Make a point or disconnect and drain all of your outdoor hoses before the cold weather starts.

To help prevent indoor pipes from freezing, seal off air vents, cracks and outside doors. In addition, keep your thermostat set no lower than 55 degrees. During extremely cold temperatures open the cabinet doors in the bathrooms and the kitchen to allow the heat to keep the pipes from freezing and keep a small stream of water running from the faucets.

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