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The A-Z of Your Plumbing System

Understanding how the systems in your home work is a great idea for those interested in home maintenance. The plumbing system in your home may seem complicated, but it’s easier to understand than you may imagine. Knowing some of these terms and concepts may help you to discover any potential problems early and communicate with your plumber more effectively. Here we will look at the A-Z of your plumbing system in more detail. A is for the automatic emergency water shut off valve which every homeowner should be familiar with. This is the valve that you need to turn during a plumbing emergency to save yourself from water damage, mold and a lot of cleaning up. B is for a backflow preventer; this device prevents unsanitary water from mixing with and contaminating your potable water. C is for checking for leaks in your home plumbing to avoid potential damage and wasting money on higher water bills. D is for drains, using strainers in all your drains can help to prevent clogs and avoid drain cleaning. E is for the emergency sump pump; this is a battery powered unit that will act as a back up if the power goes out. F is for a flush valve, broken or worn out flush valve can waste a lot of water. G is for garbage disposal; these units can be easily clogged up with inappropriate materials, such as coffee ground, cooked rice, and hot oil. If the garbage disposal becomes blocked turn it off before attempting a clearance and press the red reset button if it stops working. H is for a hot water heater, choosing the right energy efficient model for your home will have a big impact on your energy bills. I is for insulating pipes, use thermoelectric tape and foam pipe insulation to prevent your pipes freezing in winter. J is for J-Hook water pipe hanger, these are the little hooks that prevent your pipes from sagging, and they also help to dampen pipe related noises. K is for kitchen sink drainage chemicals; these products can cause significant damage to plastic pipes located in your home. Even metal pipes can be degraded with chemical drain cleaners, and they should be avoided. If you have a stubborn blockage call a plumber and they will remove it safely using mechanical removal methods. L is for lift station; this device pumps wastewater from lower to higher elevations. M is for magnesium anode rods, these are located in the top of the water heater, and they prevent the corrosion. These rods need to be replaced from time to time to remain effective, and a plumber should check this periodically. N is for needle valve, these are used to control water flow and if they stop working there could be a blockage or leak. O is for older appliances; these trusted older units will begin to fail eventually resulting in wasted water and higher energy bills. When they eventually fail they may cause damage and replacing them should be a priority. P is for a plunger; these are handy for small to moderate clog removal. Q is for quick connect ball valve, these are easily installed without special tools and can replace worn out older valves. R is for relief valve, this water heater safety measure prevent pressure buildup that could result in a rupture or explosion. S is for septic tank; this needs to be pumped out every two years and treated with care. T is for a toilet; a low flow toilet will save you four gallons on every flush. U is for under sink shut off valve, this is essential to turn off the water at the sink without interrupting the flow in other parts of the home. V is for vents; these are essential to stop the bathroom from becoming moldy. W is for washing machine shut off valve, this will shut off the water to just your washing machine. X is for the Xtra care that is provided by a local professional plumber. Y is for yard irrigation faucets; these exterior plumbing fixtures need to be protected in colder weather. Z is for your plumbing zones, check the different zones, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, and others periodically for the early detection of plumbing issues. By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.