Understanding the Basics of Plumbing


Plumbing is the trade of installing, repairing and maintaining water supply and waste removal systems. It requires a keen understanding of mathematics in order to calculate fixture unit sizes, and to read blueprints and other design drawings. It also relies heavily on gravity and the laws of physics, such as water seeking its own level and the fact that hot water rises. Proper functioning plumbing systems provide clean water and remove waste, promoting health and safety in our homes and workplaces.

A plumbing system is complex, yet essential for a home or commercial building. It has many intricacies that aren’t readily apparent, but understanding the basics can help make your home’s plumbing more efficient and less prone to problems. Plumbing work involves a wide range of tasks, from installing and repairing pipes to designing and building new systems. Plumbers at https://www.platinumplumbingsbc.com/ use a variety of tools and materials to perform their job, but most importantly they must be knowledgeable about the basic laws of plumbing. These include gravity, pressure and water seeking its own level. When you understand these principles, the mysteries of plumbing begin to unravel and a lot of common household problems can be avoided.

The main function of a plumbing system is to deliver clean, fresh water to every fixture in your home. This water may come from a municipal supply (like in a city) or from a private well on your property. Regardless of the source, the water must be properly stored and conditioned before it enters your home’s pipes.

A typical residential plumbing system consists of two separate subsystems: the water supply and the drainage system. The supply system brings water into your home through a series of pipes that can be either hot or cold, depending on the fixture. This pipe network usually includes a water heater. The drainage system takes wastewater and sewage out of your home through a series of drains and vent pipes. This network is usually connected to the sewer line or a septic tank. Vents are also present to ensure proper air flow through the plumbing system.

These pipes are inclined to assist with gravity flow and connect to fixtures such as sinks, bathtubs and toilets via valves. Most homes have a trap for each drain, which is a curved section of pipe that retains a small amount of water to prevent foul odors and slow drainage.

It’s important to be familiar with the location of your home’s main water shutoff valve, which is typically located in the basement or near appliances that use a lot of water (like kitchen and laundry faucets). This valve is used to stop the flow of water in the event of an emergency or flood.


The drains in your plumbing system help get rid of the wastewater that comes from your toilets, showers, sinks and appliances. The waste water is piped away to your septic tank or public sewer system. Without a properly functioning drain system, your house could flood or you might experience sewage back-ups.

Most drainage pipes are angled downward, making use of gravity to keep wastewater flowing away from your house. All drains in your plumbing system, from bathtub and shower faucets to kitchen sink drains, are protected by a “P-trap” that creates a seal to prevent wastewater and foul odors from entering the house. Drain pipes also have vents to let air in, which helps prevent pressure build-up and clogged drains.

If your home’s drainage system becomes clogged with soap residue, food scraps or other debris, you might need to clean the drain traps. You might also need to check the plumbing vents to make sure they are open and unobstructed. If you are experiencing sewage back-ups or other draining problems, you may need to have the entire drainage system cleaned out and repaired.

Your sanitary plumbing system includes all of the pipes in your house that transport waste water to the sewer or septic tank. This system is a crucial part of your house’s safety and hygiene, as it takes care of the odorous wastewater that results from activities such as washing dishes or doing laundry.

Sanitary plumbing pipes are generally made from PVC, CPVC or ABS plastic. These types of pipes are durable and able to handle high water pressure, but they must be installed correctly and regularly maintained to avoid clogs and other drainage issues.

Occasionally, you might hear banging noises coming from your drains. This is caused by water hammer, which can damage your pipes if not addressed promptly. A plumber can install drain air chambers or mechanical water hammer arresters to prevent this issue. To maintain your plumbing, you should regularly flush the drains in your kitchen, bathrooms and laundry rooms by opening the sink faucets at the highest and lowest points of your house.


Toilets, or water closets as they were formerly called, revolutionized sanitation in the 1800s. Nowadays, it’s rare for businesses or homes without one. They are located in bathrooms and dispense of human waste and urine.

Most toilets have a tank that stores between 6 and 17 liters (1.3 to 3.7 imp gal; 1.6 to 4.5 US gal). A fill valve on the side of the tank controls the level. When the tank is empty, a float arm descends on the end of a lever to open the valve and let in more water. When the float reaches a predetermined height, it lifts the lever again to shut off the flow of water. The tank refills automatically.

The waste and standing water flow downward through the toilet drain pipe to the sewer line or septic tank. A curved pipe behind the toilet bend, shaped like an extended “S,” creates a trap that prevents sewer gases from entering the bathroom. The curved pipe also helps to keep debris from flushing down the drain and causing a clog.

Some toilets use a separate vent pipe to release fumes from the bathroom to the outside air. Most toilets, however, have a vent that connects to the drainage system and exits through the roof. This vent allows foul-smelling sewer gases to escape the plumbing system and prevents them from building up inside the house. A vent pipe also gives sewer companies a way to inspect the toilets and sewage pipes in houses they are connecting to.


Sinks are one of the most common plumbing fixtures in a home. They supply faucets for water, typically hot and cold, as well as a drain to remove wastewater. Sinks also have a variety of accessories that help them function, including drain traps and cleanout vents. Understanding how these pieces work is essential when tackling DIY plumbing repairs and upgrades.

A sink’s main body is called the sink bowl, which is usually made of stainless steel or porcelain. It has a hole for the drain, which is normally lined with a strainer to keep large objects out of the drain. It’s connected to the sink faucet through a pipe known as the drain tailpiece. The drain tailpiece connects to the trap arm, which leads into the main plumbing waste line.

The sink trap is a U-shaped piece of pipe beneath the sink that’s filled with water. The water forms a seal to prevent noxious sewer gas from entering the house through the sink drain. The trap is easily removed (be sure to put a bucket underneath!) for cleaning and maintenance. It’s the first place you should look when a sink is clogged; it’s also the best way to make sure you didn’t drop an object down the drain.

Sink faucets come in a range of styles and finishes. Most have a single handle that controls both temperature and flow, with some having additional features such as a sprayer or a pull-out/pull-down feature. Most kitchen and bathroom sinks have a separate faucet for drinking water, while utility sinks typically combine these functions into a single fixture.

Many homes use plastic or fiberglass sinks, which are less expensive than traditional cast iron and are easier to clean and maintain. They sit in holes roughly cut into a countertop or other surface. Some plastic and fiberglass sinks are molded into the countertop, which creates a seamless joint and prevents dirt and germs from gathering under the sink. Solid-surface countertops, which are molded from acrylic, marble or quartz, are another option for modern homes that want a durable, stain-resistant countertop that doesn’t require polishing or refinishing.


Useful Drain Cleaning Repair Tips

Keeping your drains clean is essential for a healthy plumbing system. It also helps you avoid costly service calls from a plumber.

Preventative measures like installing screens and stoppers prevent larger items from clogging your drains. Also, a straightened wire hanger with a bent hook can be a great DIY clog-removal tool for shower clogs.

1. Use a Plunger

A plunger is one of the most useful tools in your toolbox. It can quickly remove minor clogs from toilets, sinks and tubs. To use it, first cover the drain opening with a sink stopper or a piece of paper. Then, put the plunger over the drain and push in and out, forcing water up and down. The resulting back and forth pressure can dislodge hair, soap scum, food waste, and other blockages.

If the clog persists, you can try using a plumber’s snake. A plumbing snake is a metal cable that feeds into a pipe until it encounters resistance, then it twists and turns, cutting through or pulling out the clog. These are usually cheaper than professional augers, but they may not be able to clear very deep clogs.

Another useful tool is a drain cleaner. Chemical drain cleaners are heavy liquid or foam formulations that sit on top of the water in a blocked drain and dissolve grease, fats, paper, hair, soap scum, roots and other organic material. Some of these chemicals are very toxic and can harm your pipes. They also leave behind a foul smell and can be dangerous to children and pets.

You can make your own drain cleaner with baking soda and vinegar. Pour about a half cup of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar into the drain, followed by hot water. The mixture will create a foam that removes debris, kills bacteria, and eliminates bad odors. You can do this once a month or as needed to keep your drains clean.

The best way to avoid a serious drain clog is to perform regular maintenance and check your pipes for leaks. Leaking pipes can be a huge problem because they can cause water damage to your home and create a mold hazard for your family.

Clogged or slow-running drains are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria and fungus, which can cause illness and even death in very severe cases. Keeping your drains well-maintained with routine cleaning and using the right tools can help you prevent these problems and save you money on costly repair bills.

2. Run Hot Water

If you have bad odors or slow-draining drains, it’s a good idea to call a professional plumber to check out your drainage system. They’ll be able to spot and repair issues before they turn into major problems. But if you’re a DIYer, there are a few things you can try to clean out your drains.

One of the most useful drain cleaning repair tips is to run hot water down the drains. The steam and pressure created by running hot water down the drain can break up organic buildup and clogs. It can also help clear hair and soap scum. It’s a simple life hack that can be used regularly to keep your drains working well.

A good rule of thumb is to pour boiling water down the drains once a week. This will help wash away any accumulated debris and prevent future blockages.

Another way to keep the drains in your home clean is to use a strainer to catch food scraps and other items that go down the sink. This will keep a lot of the larger materials from getting caught in the pipes and will help with the odors and slow-draining drains that can occur over time.

A simple mixture of baking soda and vinegar can be used to tackle many clogs in kitchen and bathroom drains. First, make sure that the drain stopper is removed. Then, pour a 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar down the drain. Cover the drain and let the mixture work for 15 minutes. Then, pour a pot of hot (to boiling) water down the drain to flush out the pipe and remove the baking soda and vinegar mixture.

If this doesn’t work, it may be necessary to use a small drain snake or a bent wire coat hanger to dislodge the clog. It’s important not to try to use an acid-based liquid drain cleaner, as this can eat away at the pipes and cause damage. If you don’t feel comfortable using a snake, it’s always best to call a plumber to help with a serious drain clog or pipe repair.

3. Flush with Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is one of the most basic and effective ways to clean your drain. Baking soda and vinegar form a natural combination that breaks up gunk to clear your drains. This natural solution is also easy on your pipes and the best way to prevent clogs, especially if you use it as a regular maintenance routine.

The mixture of baking soda and vinegar forms a fizzing reaction that disintegrates and flushes away grease and other debris. It may take two or more flushes to fully clear a drain clog, but it is safe and effective. For a stubborn clog, you can also combine this solution with a plunger or a snake to help push the blockage through.

Typically, the ratio of baking soda to vinegar used to unclog a drain is one part baking soda to two parts white vinegar. However, you can adjust the ratio depending on the severity of your clog.

Pouring a cup of baking soda down your drain followed by a cup of white vinegar will create a chemical reaction that causes the liquids to bubble and break up any gunk in the drain. This mixture is particularly good at unclogging toilets and shower drains.

After waiting several minutes for the mixture to work, slowly pour a second cup of white vinegar down your drain. This will cause a second reaction that further breaks up and dissolves any unwanted buildup. The second reaction will also help remove any lingering odors from the drain.

For stubborn clogs, you can combine the baking soda and vinegar method with hot water to remove any remaining gunk. First, make sure that no solid objects are blocking your drain by using a wire coat hanger to fish out any hair clumps or other debris. Then, boil a pot of water and pour it down the drain. This will create a lot of steam, so it is important to stay close by.

Once the drain has drained, flush it again with a third cup of hot water. This will help to wash away any remaining baking soda or vinegar and prevent a clog from building up again.

4. Get a Drain Catch

Keeping your drains clean is the best way to prevent future problems with them. This is much like keeping the hallways of your house clear of toys, books, and trash; if you leave them dirty, it’s only a matter of time before someone trips over something and gets hurt. A professional drain cleaner can help you keep your home’s plumbing in tip-top shape.

One of the first signs your drains need cleaning is when they start to smell. This is because bacteria-rich environments such as clogged drains provide the perfect climate for mold and mildew to grow. This odor is not only unpleasant to live with, but it can also be dangerous for your family’s health. Fortunately, drain cleaning can get rid of this problem for good and restore freshness to your home’s pipes.

Another sign that your drains are in need of a thorough cleaning is when you hear strange noises coming from them. Gurgling, rumpling, or banging sounds can indicate that there is an obstruction blocking the flow of water in your plumbing system. If left unattended, this can cause a lot of stress on your pipes and lead to a big repair bill in the long run.

A professional drain cleaner can use a variety of tools to clean your drains and pipes thoroughly. In addition, they can also conduct a speedy inspection to see if there are any clogs in your pipes themselves. This can save you money on a plumber’s visit and ensure that your clog is taken care of correctly the first time.

Getting your drains cleaned on a regular basis is the best way to avoid clogs and expensive repairs. Clogged drains can lead to a lot of damage in your home, including cracked and leaking pipes. This is why it is important to know the warning signs and take action. By doing so, you can keep your drains in great condition and reduce the need for costly repairs in the future. The professionals at Red Cap can help you with your drain cleaning needs and give you more tips on how to keep your drains healthy and clog-free!