Plumbing problems can span from leaky faucets to decrepit pipes. Minor problems often become major problems, so, it may be best to tackle those small DIY plumbing projects as soon as they arise. Before you begin your project, take a look at the following guide for beginners.

The basics

Every home is composed of two separate plumbing systems. One system brings in the clean water, the other takes out the wastewater. The water that comes into your home is measured by a meter and pressurized so that it can travel through the pipes. The main shut off valve for your water system is located beside this meter. This is especially important to know during a plumbing emergency. The water system in your home comes equipped with valves that shut off the water in a localized area.

Hot and cold water

Cold water is ready for use from the moment you turned on your water. Hot water, on the other hand, requires a heat source. The heat source for your hot water is a tank, usually cylindrical in shape. Depending on what kind of hot water tank or plumbing system you may have, you might need to depressurize your tank before the hot water will heat up. Hot water tanks can be set to different temperatures. The economic choice for the hot water temperature is 120 degrees fahrenheit. Automatic dishwashers may need a higher water temperature in order to function correctly. Always check the manufacturer’s requirements of your appliance before adjusting your hot water tank to a high temperature.

Drainage systems

Homes have two types of drainage systems—sewer and septic systems. Both systems employ downward travelling pipes that rely on gravity. Drainage systems have vent traps and clean outs that help the wastewater flow through the pipes. Vents allow air to enter the drain pipes. If there is no air going to the drain pipes, the water in the traps needs to be siphoned out. Traps are S-shaped pipes that allow the water to flow through the drain pipe and seal it to prevent sewer gas back into the home. Toilets are self trapped, bathtubs have drum traps, and some kitchen sinks have grease traps.

Where to start

Before beginning your repair, always turn off the water supply to the fixture or the main water supply. If you are planning to change a pipe in your home, always check with your local plumbing code official before you make the change to ensure that the replacement is up to city code. The plumbing code official will also tell you what plumbing work is allowable for you to perform. Some jobs may need to be completed by experienced professionals such as those at Absolute Plumbing in order for the work to pass a city inspection.

Before tackling any plumbing job, know where the water shut off valves are located. Not every job requires the water for the house to be shut off, but it is safer to shut off the entire water supply to prevent water damage. Ensure that you are building by code before you begin removing pipes in your home. This is crucial, especially if you are planning on selling your home. DIY projects are always a great way to save money, and plumbing projects are no different. Most minor plumbing repair tools and necessities can be found at your local hardware store. Larger projects could require special tools and they may be costly. In fact, the cost of equipment for bigger plumbing jobs could outweigh the cost of a professional plumber, which is why it’s important to always research the task and expense before embarking on a plumbing escapade.

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