Beginner's Guide to Plumbing

plumber helping client


The plumbing in our homes directly affects our safety. Even a basic grasp of plumbing is beneficial if you own or rent a home or business. Basic plumbing skills enable you to perform five things:

  1. Avoid problems
  2. Have a better judgment
  3. Improve efficiency
  4. Optimize operations
  5. Know the system and its parts

Order a Plumber Inc. enjoys answering plumbing questions and sharing information to help prevent plumbing issues. The more you know about basic plumbing; the more consistent your comfort and safety will be.


Water for a home or business comes from either a public source (like a city) or a private well. Water is frequently stored in massive towers and piped to households by government agencies.

Private sources are more common in some parts where public supplies are scarce. A pump pumps water from a well for distribution within a home or business.

Water is sourced from surface and underground sources, including rivers, lakes, and aquifers.


Finding and using the shut-off valve is essential for any homeowner or renter. Main shut-off valve near utilities on the ground floor (garage, basement, closet), and another shut-off near the street or well (manhole).

Suppose water is spilling everywhere due to a leak, time matters in terms of damage and cost. A quick shut-off of the water can save time and money.

The main valve handle resembles a wheel with spokes or a lever, generally black or red, labeled "main." A wheel should be turned to the right, and a lever should be moved to the left. If in doubt, try running water.

Every water-using appliance and utility in your home has its shut-off valve. The toilet has a lever-like handle near the wall. Sinks feature a shut-off near the wall or inside the cabinet or vanity. You can also switch off the washer's water. It's essential to know how the valves work so you can react quickly if needed.

Preventing ruptured hoses and other water leaks is one of the most common preventative measures recommended by professionals.


Water pressure impacts our comfort and can cause daily discomfort if not appropriately regulated. Most individuals are frustrated by low pressure, which prevents a refreshing shower or the speedy filling of containers. Too much water pressure can harm household utilities and equipment.

A $10 water-pressure gauge that fits an outside spigot can test the pressure provided to your entire house. A pressure test determines whether a problem affects the whole family or just one device or part of it. If the gauge shows good pressure, but the faucet still drips, and the toilet fills slowly, the issue may be with the aerator or the fill valve.

Water pressure is regulated to enter the house and go to appliances, whether it is public or private water supply. The household guideline is 40-45 psi and should not exceed 60 psi. However, it is best done by a professional or at least two persons with great care.

For example, city water rushes through the main pipe at such high pressure that it blows out our sink, washer, toilet, and other utilities. Typically, someone inside or near the house checks the pressure while adjusting the regulator. Private wells usually include an adjustable pump to improve domestic pressure.


Leaks annoy us and cost money and damage. Fixing leaks like a dripping faucet or a running toilet can save a household up to 10% yearly on water bills. Leaks at the bathroom, faucet, underground sprinkler, and elsewhere build up.

When a faucet drips, we crank the handle harder. When the handle breaks, we repair the tap, but the leak was caused by a bit of rubber washer. To stop drippy leaks, replace faucet washers, springs, and O-rings. It's important to note the faucet type so you can purchase the exact replacement, but washers and O-rings can be generic.

Hard-water deposits can clog aerators. An aerator is a tiny tip that screws onto a faucet to shape the incoming water. Many people mistake the tip for a small circular window screen. Inspect the aerator for calcium carbonate or other minerals if a faucet's flow has slowed to a trickle. Remove the aerator, clean it, and replace it to enhance flow. If it can't be cleaned or repaired, a replacement is easy to find.

Toilet parts wear and break, causing the wasted annoyance of a running toilet. The float valve, chain or plastic arm, rubber seal, and other elements can be replaced.


Hair in the bathroom and grease in the kitchen is the most common clogging factors; however, soap, detergents, and other materials can produce clogs and slow drainage. Hair drain screens are available at home improvement stores. A plastic drain cleaner tool with ragged edges can be purchased if the hair is already in the drain.

Residential awareness campaigns about the risks of dumping fat, oil, or grease down the drain have been running for years. It adheres to the inside of drainpipes, obstructing water flow and causing havoc in both private and municipal systems. Commercial enterprises must be trained in proper grease disposal, and now residents must also be taught.

It is far better for your plumbing to throw fat, oil, and grease in the trash than the garbage disposal or drain. Animal fat is particularly toxic and can be discarded after cooling. It helps get rid of fatty scraps and greasy foods like butter, chocolate, cream, etc. Pour multiple pans of boiling water down the drains to break down the fats, oils, and greases.

Plunging drains require a sink plunger. Using a drain cleaner regularly will degrade plumbing components. Frequent clogs signal a need for plumbing repair or maintenance. Clogs in sinks commonly occur in the U-shaped pipe just beneath them and are easily removed:

  • Close the faucet's water supply valve.
  • Put a bucket under the U-shaped pipe.
  • Extend the U-shaped pipe junction.
  • Remove it and let water flow into the bucket.
  • Remove the obstruction and replace the pipe

Other drain cleaners include baking soda and vinegar or citrus juices. Fill and drain the sinks and/or tub to flush the pipes


Nobody loves to worry about the toilet, but it is vital to our comfort and health. After one lousy backup or costly plumbing repair, many become passionate toilet protectors, teaching young children and reminding adults.

Only water, waste, biodegradable toilet paper, and the occasional cleaner belong in a toilet. Keep a trashcan near the toilet to avoid flushing foreign materials such as wipes, baby diapers, feminine hygiene products, and other items that can damage the plumbing.

Keep a plunger by each toilet in the house. Plungers can prevent overflow and are the first step when a toilet doesn't flush. If a plunger doesn't work, a toilet auger can reach and break up the clog and grab and retrieve foreign things like clothing or a child's plush animal.

Call a plumber if you've tried everything and still have a weak flush or clogged system. A video examination might identify if, for example, roots are obstructing the flow or drainage of your plumbing system.


Using garbage disposal as a trash can lead to extensive, stinky, and costly problems. Even the sharpest blades cannot digest certain foods:

  • Peeled banana
  • Celery
  • Corn husks
  • Meat skin
  • Melon rinds
  • Eggshells
  • Potato peels
  • Stringy foods

Flush the disposal with hot water to remove debris and dissolve grease. Generally, start running cold water in the disposal a few seconds before use, and keep it running after processing.


A home's water heater affects everyone's comfort, especially when it comes to hot showers. The average temperature range for a home water heater is 140-160°F, but 120°F is okay. Some people heat it up to save water consumption, but hot water can scorch and burn people.

Regular visual examinations of the plumbing system should include the water heater. Check for leaks and rust. A strong flashlight will help you check the pipes, undercarriage, and other items that are often in a dark spot.


Others prefer to use computer solutions to help control home utilities. Some systems have a monitoring screen that displays detailed system data such as water and air quantity and quality and electrical data.

Programmable thermostats are a fantastic addition to any home. They are reasonably priced and can be paid for in a season by household savings. A programmed thermostat automatically lowers the temperature during sleep and away hours and raises it when people awaken or return home.


Regular inspection and maintenance help avoid costly damages. Attention to the overall system and its components increases the likelihood of detecting changes or deviations before they become a problem.

The homeowner should inspect the home's utility systems at least once a season, especially before converting from air cooling to heat. Many people schedule a professional check once a year so the plumber can discover problems early and test them.

The most important maintenance for homes is changing the HVAC system's filter. It's crucial and straightforward for system efficiency and longevity.


A decent plumbing beginner's guide will recommend contacting a local licensed plumber. While having a phone number ready can aid in an emergency, it can also help prevent issues.

Order a Plumber Inc. has a team of plumbers ready to service you in New York. We can help with plumbing emergencies, routine maintenance, and proactive prevention and upgrades.

We check, test, and repair everything from toilets to sinks. Order a Plumber Inc. can install tankless water heaters, clear drains, and maintain your boiler to keep you comfortable all year. Tell us how we can help.