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Are You Familiar With Your Bathroom's Plumbing System?

bathroom sink and tub

Your bathroom is a space you’re probably very familiar with. So many necessary daily activities occur in that space: showering, using the toilet, washing your hands, facial grooming, brushing your teeth, etc.

Although the use of different fixtures in your shower can feel mundane, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your bathroom plumbing. There are so many common plumbing issues, so it’s beneficial to become acquainted with some basic features in your bathroom. If you do run into common plumbing problems that a DIY fix won’t solve, make sure to contact John C. Flood.

Why Is It Important To Familiarize Yourself With Bathroom Plumbing?

Bathroom plumbing doesn’t come to mind very often — unless there’s a problem and you need emergency plumbing service. Although in-depth knowledge about plumbing intricacies isn’t necessary, a basic understanding of plumbing systems can help homeowners avoid devastating plumbing emergencies, achieve better energy efficiency, save money, and fix small bathroom plumbing problems.

Any bathroom fixture has two separate sets of pipes. One set carries incoming, clean water and the other drainage system discards of used water. The bathroom plumbing system arguably gets the most use out of any other room in your home, so it needs to be constantly maintained to maximize the lifespan of your bathroom fixtures.

There are two main plumbing systems that make a bathroom functional: water supply and drain-waste-vent.

The water supply feeds water to each fixture in the bathroom. Whenever you turn on the shower or flush the toilet, this supply-side plumbing ensures that new water is brought to the fixture. Water supply plumbing brings water from the municipal supply or other freshwater source and delivers it to the house.

The drain-waste-vent takes used water that exits through a drain or gets flushed down the toilet and removes it from the home. The water is taken to the sewer or a septic tank.

Bathroom Plumbing Components

Bathrooms can be surprisingly complex, but that does not mean it is impossible for you to teach yourself a few useful tips and tricks when it comes to general maintenance and upkeep.

There are several elements that you have most likely never heard of, but they do important jobs to ensure that your toilet continues to flush, the shower provides you with warm water, and your sink has enough water pressure to flow easily and consistently. When one of these crucial pieces is out of whack, it can disrupt your entire day.

  • P-Trap: The P-Trap is the U-shaped section of the drain pipe that is located directly underneath the sink. In the event that you drop something valuable down the sink, you should check the P-Trap to see if you can retrieve it easily. This section of the bathroom plumbing can be removed simply by loosening the big slip nut at each end of it. Be sure to have a bucket underneath to catch the water that will drain out.
  • Pressure-balancing valve: If you have children or senior citizens living in your home, it is a good idea to have one of these valves installed if you do not have one already. This is an anti-scalding device that is found in most new showers and faucet sinks, as it helps to regulate the temperature of your water and prevent it from becoming too hot while you are washing up.
  • Shutoff valve: This is an especially important piece to be familiar with in the case of a burst or leaking pipe. The shutoff valve controls the water flow of the entire house, so you will need to access it to help prevent excess water from causing damage to your residence. The shutoff valve for your sink faucets is found underneath, attached to the pipes.
  • Thermostatic valve: The thermostatic valve serves essentially the same purpose of the pressure-balancing valve, although it gives you more individualized control over the different areas of your home. If you have one of these high-tech devices installed in your home, generally they are put on the outside of the hot water heater, you can use it for scald prevention for the entire home. The newer models even let you target individual faucets for the ultimate in home water temperature control.

 

What Are Common Plumbing Issues In Homes?

Bathroom fixtures such as sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets are all essential features to a functional bathroom. However, each feature is a potential pain point where problems can arise.

4 Common Plumbing Problems

 

Slow Draining Sink

A slow draining sink can leave unpleasant reside in your sink basin. Soap scum, hair, skin flakes, toothpaste, and grime can build up quickly in your pipes that reduce or completely stops the if you sink cannot keep up with the incoming water supply.

To make clogged bathroom sink troubles disappear, try to remove the pop-up stopper if you have one to remove the blockage. Liquid solutions, drain snakes, and removing the drain’s elbow joint to clean it are all DIY fixes to a slow draining sink. However, if the problem persists, it might be time to call a plumber.

Dripping Faucets

A leaky faucet isn’t just annoying. It can potentially waste hundreds of gallons of water, hurt your home’s efficiency, and raise your monthly water bill. Use John C. Flood’s drip calculator to see how your dripping faucet is adding up. Fixing leaky faucets can save homeowners about 10% on their annual water bill, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

You can try to fix a leaky pipe without a plumber, but there are risks if you don’t call a plumber.  

Leaky pipes can be a sneaky culprit behind a huge list of home issues, even causing significant damage to the concrete foundation of your home. It’s important to not delay in fixing this common plumbing issue. Schedule service to stop wasting water and increase your home’s efficiency.

Clogged Toilet

A clogged toilet is one of the most common bathroom plumbing problems. If the toilet is backing up, it can usually be attributed to human waste and paper products. Although a plunger can fix most low-level issues with a clogged toilet, frequent clogging can be a sign that it’s time to replace your toilet.

A licensed plumber can loosen the blockage with a sewer snake or drain auger, but toilets typically only last a maximum of 50 years. Check to see when your home was built and if the toilet has been replaced since that time. If the toilet cracks or is leaking, you’ll need to replace it sooner.

Low Water Pressure

A common problem in older homes in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. area is low water pressure. Whether you’re trying to shower or wash your hands, if the water comes out in a small trickle, it can be incredibly frustrating. However, there are a few ways to increase water pressure in your bathroom.

This common plumbing problem is often caused by a build-up of sediment on the fixtures aerator, which is the screen that water passes through as it comes out of the faucet. The aerator’s purpose is to control the distribution of water as it flows from the pipes. If the low water pressure is contained to just your bathroom plumbing, there’s a simple solution to low water pressure.

Join John C. Flood’s Service Partner Program For Regular Bathroom Plumbing Maintenance

Despite using bathroom plumbing every day, most people are not familiar with the mechanism behind how everything functions. John C. Flood’s guide to familiarizing yourself with your bathroom’s plumbing can help you avoid costly repairs that come from neglecting regular plumbing maintenance.

This helpful tool is meant to help homeowners identify issues that could turn into larger problems if unattended. Knowing the difference between easily bathroom plumbing problems that you can fix yourself and when you need a professional plumber is a valuable skill.

For over a century, our team has provided reliable service to customers in the DMV region. Join our Service Partner Program to keep your bathroom operating efficiently. Call John C. Flood at (703) 752-1266 or schedule service online.