Back to School With Plumbing 101: Learning the Basics of Your Home's Plumbing

Important Plumbing Basics for Homeowners to Know

By understanding how plumbing works and knowing some essential information about it, like how to recognize issues, individuals can make more informed decisions and better care for their plumbing systems. Whether someone is a new homeowner or simply seeking to expand their knowledge, this article aims to equip readers with essential plumbing insights. Let's dive in and explore important things to know about a home’s plumbing that can help prevent plumbing emergencies and save money.

Energy and Water-Saving Plumbing Fixtures

tubPlumbing fixtures serve as the unsung heroes of homes, working tirelessly to deliver the water necessary for daily tasks and moments of relaxation. From the refreshing shower head that greets you in the morning to the comforting warmth of a water heater on cold nights, these fixtures play a vital role in everyday life. The plumbing fixtures in homes have evolved into more water-saving and energy-efficient models, enabling homeowners to conserve resources and save on utility bills. Some examples of plumbing fixture upgrades that can help homeowners save on water and energy costs include the following: 

Symptoms of Plumbing Problems

billThough mostly tucked away behind walls and under floors, the home's plumbing system can sometimes provide subtle hints of trouble. Spotting these warning signs early on can save homeowners from more significant issues in the future. Common red flags that indicate potential plumbing problems include poor water pressure, slow draining, high water bills, foul smells, and changes in the appearance of the water. When encountering these signs, seeking the expertise of a skilled plumber becomes essential to address the underlying issues effectively.

  • Poor Water Pressure: When the once-strong shower stream or water pressure from the tap transforms into a feeble trickle, it could indicate underlying plumbing issues such as leaks or pipe blockages.
  • Slow Draining: If sinks or bathtubs take an eternity to empty, it's often a symptom of clogged pipes, necessitating professional intervention to keep the plumbing flowing smoothly.
  • High Water Bills: Unexplained spikes in water bills can be puzzling. Plumbing leaks, even minor ones, might be the hidden culprits causing water wastage and inflating costs.
  • Foul Smells: A musty or foul odor from drains can signal potential sewer line issues. Ignoring this unsettling signal may lead to worsening sewer line blockages or other problems.
  • Changes in the Water’s Appearance: Sudden changes in the color or taste of tap water may be a warning of pipe corrosion or contamination. Prompt investigation is essential to maintain the safety and quality of the water supply.

Plumbing Maintenance

Regular plumbing maintenance is vital in ensuring the optimal functioning of a home's plumbing system. By investing in routine check-ups and expert care, homeowners can proactively prevent plumbing issues before they escalate into costly problems and extend the plumbing’s lifespan. 

Skilled plumbers can conduct thorough inspections of pipes, faucets, and fixtures, identifying and addressing potential issues and leaks to prevent water damage and high water bills from becoming a significant concern. Moreover, cleaning drains and testing water pressure are essential maintenance tasks that promote efficient water flow and help prevent disruptive clogs and damage to the piping.

About Quahog Plumbing

Quahog Plumbing has over 15 years of experience serving Somerset and the surrounding areas. They offer straightforward pricing, rapid service, and the latest technology. Call them today for plumbing services in Somerset, MA.

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Plumbing Tools of the Trade: What Do Plumbers Use on the Job?

What Tools Are in Plumbing Contractors' Fully Stocked Trucks?

Plumbing problems can be a hassle, but luckily, professional plumbers are equipped with various tools to help them tackle any issue. From hand tools to specialized equipment, plumbing contractors keep a variety of equipment in their fully stocked trucks to help them get the job done efficiently and effectively when they get there. This article will discuss the different types of tools that plumbers use on the job and how they help address plumbing issues. 

Essential Hand Tools

toolsPlumbers rely on a range of hand tools to get the job done. These tools allow them to work with pipes, fittings, and valves to complete repairs, installations, and maintenance tasks. Here are some of the essential hand tools used by plumbers:

  • Wrenches: There are several types of wrenches that plumbers use, including pipe wrenches, adjustable wrenches, basin wrenches, and torque wrenches. These tools loosen or tighten nuts, bolts, and fittings.
  • Pliers: Pliers come in various shapes and sizes and are used for different purposes. Slip-joint pliers are versatile and can be used for gripping, twisting, and cutting. Tongue-and-groove pliers are ideal for turning and holding pipes, and needle-nose pliers help reach tight spaces.
  • Pipe cutters: Pipe cutters come in different styles, including snap cutters, ratcheting cutters, and rotary cutters. These tools allow plumbers to cut through pipes quickly and accurately, ensuring a clean and precise cut.
  • Hacksaws: Plumbers use hacksaws to cut through metal pipes and other materials. They can also cut through screws and bolts that cannot be loosened with a wrench.
  • Teflon tape: Teflon tape, also known as thread seal tape, is used to seal pipe threads and prevent leaks. This tape is wrapped around the threads of a pipe fitting before it is screwed in, providing a watertight seal.

Plumbers' Safety Gear

When it comes to plumbing, safety should always be a top priority. Plumbers work in potentially dangerous environments and come in contact with hazardous materials like sewage. Plumbing contractors must wear safety equipment to prevent accidents and injuries while working and protect themselves while on the job. 

Some safety equipment plumbers may use include gloves to protect their hands from chemicals and sharp objects, masks to avoid inhaling harmful dust and fumes, steel-toed boots to protect heavy objects, and safety goggles to shield their eyes from debris and particles. 

Advanced Plumbing Equipment

toolsPlumbers also use specialized tools and equipment to tackle more complex plumbing problems. Hydro jets, for example, can blast away clogs and buildup in pipes using high-pressure water. A drain snake, also known as an auger, also breaks up and removes clogs and blockages in drains and pipes.

Acoustic listening devices are used to diagnose the location and intensity of leaks in the plumbing system. Video inspection can be used to visually inspect the inside of pipelines to look for blockages or other damage. Pressure testing also allows plumbers to check for leaks and measure water pressure. These specialized tools allow plumbers to efficiently and effectively address even the most challenging plumbing issues.

About Quahog Plumbing

Quahog Plumbing has over 15 years of experience serving Somerset, MA, and the surrounding areas. They provide same-day services, flat rate pricing, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call them today for plumbing services in Somerset, MA.

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Make a New Year's Resolution to Stay on Top of Plumbing Maintenance This Year!

What’s Involved in Plumbing Maintenance?

When most people make a list of new year’s resolutions and things they’d like to do this year, they probably don’t put plumbing maintenance anywhere on it. The fact is, it’s easy to forget that the home’s plumbing system even needs maintenance at all. After all, if the faucets aren’t dripping and the toilets aren’t clogging, why mess with the plumbing?

But that’s just it - maintenance helps ensure that these issues (and many others) don’t come up in the first place. The pipes, fixtures, and water-using appliances in a home see a lot of use, so without maintenance, they can develop a host of problems as they succumb to wear and tear. So this article will explain what plumbing maintenance entails, why it’s so important, and how homeowners can keep up with it - both on their own and with the help of a pro.

Cleaning the Drains

drainOne of the most important aspects of plumbing maintenance is drain cleaning. Over time, hair, soap scum, oils, and other gunk can collect in the home’s drain pipes. This not only leads to the formation of clogs but can also cause unpleasant odors and encourage mold growth, so it’s necessary to clean the drains periodically to remove this nasty buildup.

Homeowners can do a little DIY drain cleaning every once in a while by pouring equal parts baking soda and vinegar (typically about ½ cup each) down the drain, letting the mixture sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then pouring hot water down the drain. In general, it’s best not to use chemical drain cleaners, as these can damage the plumbing, produce noxious fumes, and kill vital bacteria in septic systems.

DIY drain cleaning will go a long way in keeping drains clear, but it’s still best to hire a professional to perform preventative drain cleaning every year or two. This typically involves the use of a hydrojetting machine, which can wash away debris and grime as far down as the main sewer line using a special high-pressure water hose.

Scheduling Professional Plumbing Maintenance

It's a good idea for homeowners to schedule annual maintenance with a professional plumber. They will thoroughly inspect the system, often using special video equipment, to find any signs of leaks, clogs, or corrosion and determine the best solution. They will also typically check the water pressure and adjust it if need be, secure any loose pipes with brackets to prevent vibration, and even test the home’s fixtures and values to see if they are working correctly. 

Professional maintenance can help homeowners save money on leaks and costly plumbing emergencies, extend the life of the plumbing system, and increase the value of the home (plumbing systems typically account for around 10% of a home’s value) - so it’s a service that no homeowner can afford to do without!

Maintaining the Water Heater

maintenanceRoutine maintenance is also required for the water heater. This includes flushing the storage tank to remove any sediment buildup, testing the temperature and pressure relief valve, and checking/replacing the anode rod (an anti-corrosion device inside the tank). Professionals will also clean gas burners, check gas lines for leaks, test safety devices such as the thermocouple, and inspect and clean the exhaust flue. 

There are many benefits of professional water heater maintenance. Not only does it extend the life of the unit and ensure that it’s operating at peak efficiency (both of which help save money), but it also brings peace of mind from knowing that all work is being performed safely and according to code!

About Quahog Plumbing

Since opening its doors 15 years ago, Quahog Plumbing has quickly become one of Somerset’s most trusted and highly-rated plumbers. Their licensed and trustworthy technicians are available for 24-hour emergency service and always work efficiently to get homeowners back to their routines as quickly as possible. They offer same-day service, flat rate pricing, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every job. Call them today for plumbing maintenance, drain cleaning, or water heater maintenance in Somerset, MA.

Prevent a Plumbing Emergency From Ruining Halloween

Guard Against Plumbing Scares This Halloween

Even if someone likes the thrills and chills that come with this time of year, they likely don’t want to be startled by a sudden drain problem, clogged toilets, or cold showers.  Homeowners can help prevent all of these plumbing issues with some planning and preparation, so if a homeowner has plans for the holiday, they can be sure that everything will go off without a hitch.

Cleaning Drains

Drain cleaning is important to maintain the proper function of a plumbing system and to prevent clogs. Neglecting to clean drains can lead to serious consequences, such as flooding, water damage, and sewage backup.

Liquid drain cleaners are not recommended as they can contain toxic chemicals that can cause damage to the pipes themselves, causing corrosion that can lead to cracks and leaks in the pipes. Professional drain cleaning services can be hired to unclog drains or prevent them. Regular drain cleaning will keep the plumbing system running smoothly and avoid costly repairs in the future.

Preventing Toilet Clogs

toiletA clogged toilet is perhaps the most common plumbing problem in any household. Most of these clogs are preventable if a few bits of advice are followed. Here are a few suggestions for preventing toilet clogs:

  • Don’t Flush Items Other Than Toilet Paper: Avoid putting things in the toilet that cannot be flushed. This includes a long list of items like tampons and wipes. Even if the wipes say they are flushable, they will not break down as quickly as toilet paper and may cause clogs in the sewer line if not the toilet.
  • Conserve Toilet Paper: Using too much toilet paper doesn’t just cause clogs; it can also strain a household budget. Using only a minimal amount of toilet paper helps keep the pipes open and the waste moving.
  • The Double Flush: This is a good method if using more toilet paper is essential. The technique is flushing to break up the amount of toilet paper flushed at once to prevent clogs.  

Stay on Top of Water Heater Maintenance

maintenanceA cold shower is only good if that’s what a person wants or expects. An unexpected cold shower due to a broken water heater can be startling and uncomfortable. This is a clear reason to get water heater maintenance. A broken or neglected water heater is not just about cold showers. Rusty-colored, smelly water can also be the result. It can affect water pressure due to scale buildup and go lukewarm before it completely fails. A failing pressure release valve can even cause an explosive hazard. 

These are some of the things a professional will do when maintaining a water heater:

  • Flush and descale water heater tank
  • Check the anode rod and replace it if needed
  • Check electrical connections
  • Check plumbing connections
  • Test the pressure release valve (PRV) and replace it if needed
  • Clean and test the heating element or burner

About Quahog Plumbing

Quahog Plumbing has over 15 years of experience serving Somerset, MA, and the surrounding areas. They offer same-day services, straightforward pricing, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call them today for drain cleaning or water heater maintenance in Somerset, MA.

Plumbing 101: Getting Back to the Basics

Plumbing Basics

It is easy to forget how complex a plumbing system can be. It’s easy for a homeowner to turn the tap on and off without thinking about how the water gets to the home and tap. This article will present the essentials of modern home plumbing and how it works. It will also cover the basics of plumbing maintenance to help homeowners extend the life of their plumbing.

The Main Supply and Drain Lines

water meterThe basic delivery method is essentially the same whether a home’s water comes from a municipal or rural water source. The clean water is pumped through a water meter and into the house through the main supply pipe. The water meter measures the amount of water that flows through it, which is how a house’s water bill is calculated.

From the main supply line, pipes branch to the house's various fixtures and water-using appliances. Wastewater goes down the various drain pipes and into the main drain pipe that leads either to a septic tank or a municipal sewer system.

Plumbing Fixtures: Everything and the Kitchen Sink

showerheadIt's amazing how many things in modern homes are connected through plumbing. Once a person starts listing the things in the house that are part of the plumbing, the list gets quite long quite quickly:

  • Kitchen Faucet, Drain, and Sink
  • Dishwasher
  • Refrigerator (if it has an ice maker and water dispenser)
  • Garbage disposal (connected to the drain side)
  • Bathroom Faucets, Drains, and Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Showerheads, Bathtub Faucets, and Drains
  • Washing Machine
  • Water Heater

Obviously, water is an extensively used resource in the home, not just for drinking. If homeowners want to reduce their water bills and conserve water, they should consider replacing old appliances and fixtures with newer water-saving models that use less water. This is a win-win for the environment and the pocketbook.

Maintenance and Problem Prevention

Everybody wants their home plumbing to run smoothly. The best way to prevent problems is to keep up with regular system maintenance. If a homeowner keeps up with professional maintenance visits, the pipes and appliances are less likely to develop serious problems, and it can extend the plumbing’s lifespan.

Here are a few of the maintenance tasks that a plumbing professional performs during a maintenance visit:

  • Drain cleaning
  • Drain and flush the water heater tank
  • Check anode rod and replace if necessary
  • Check the pressure release valve and replace it if necessary
  • Inspect plumbing for damage, leaks, and corrosion
  • Check the water pressure

About Quahog Plumbing

Quahog Plumbing has over 15 years of experience serving the community of Somerset, MA, and the surrounding areas. They provide straightforward pricing, rapid service, and the latest technology. Call them today for plumbing services in Somerset, MA.