Plumbing 101: All the Plumbing Basics You Need to Know

The avatar of Scott Kirschner

Scott Kirschner

Aug 3

Learning plumbing basics is essential for homeowners who want to solve plumbing issues on their own. In this article, we will teach you the plumbing basics for the three most common repairs you will face.

Plumbing Basics #1: Turn the Water Off

The very first thing you must learn regarding plumbing basics is to find the water main.

The water main is the supply line of water to your house and you should be able to turn it on and off with a valve located in the basement or on an outside wall.

Turning the water main off will completely cut the water supply to your home, which may come in handy in an emergency. However, most kitchens and bathrooms have their own water supply valves to turn off the supply of a specific spot.

Use these valves for small repairs of toilets, leaky taps or washing machines.

Plumbing Basics #2: Unclogging a Drain

Clogged drains are one of the most common issues for homeowners, which is why it’s a must-know when it comes to plumbing basics.

Most people are familiar with toilet plungers. However, did you know there are different models of plungers for the kitchen sink and other types of drains?

An important plumbing-basics tip in regards to plungers is to try to keep a steady level of water.

Using a bucket to pour water every other minute while using a plunger is the best solution. If you’re having a hard time with the plunger alone, try using baking soda, vinegar, and hot water to disintegrate whatever is clogging the drain.

Preventing a problem is better than solving it, so if your family is struggling with clogged drains regularly, avoid flushing products that don’t disintegrate with water (such as baby wipes).

Plumbing Basics #3: Fixing a Leak

When thinking of plumbing basics, many people immediately picture fixing a leaky tap. But how many homeowners are actually able to do it?

Leaks are usually due to a worn-out piece inside the tap.

To fix it, you’ll need to turn off the water supply. As explained in our first plumbing basics tip, this can either be the water main or a local supply valve. It’s useful to open the tap to let any residual water run out.

Next, you have to unscrew the different parts of the tap: the handle, the flange, the bonnet and the spindle.

Once everything is unscrewed, you’ll see three parts, one of which (at least) will need to be replaced: the O-ring, the washer or the jumper valve.

If you’re not certain about which one you need to change, just take all three to your local hardware store and ask for advice—and for a new part! All that’s left to do is reassembling the tap, making sure everything is closed tightly.

Plumbing Basics #4: Contacting a Professional

We’ve given you the essentials of plumbing basics. But there are some tasks that should be left to the professionals.

If you’re having a plumbing issue and you don’t know how to solve it, contact a local professional in your area using service.com.

With service.com, you can find a reputable plumber, manage your project from your smartphone, pay the plumber online and get a 90-day work guarantee.

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The avatar of Scott Kirschner

Scott Kirschner

Aug 3

Being the Marketing Director at service.com Scott works on automation for e-commerce as well as creative design. In his free time Scott plays in several bands around Detroit, MI. He enjoys backpacking through the outdoors and traveling across the world.