Plumbing Knowledge 101

Plumbing Knowledge 101
When it comes to your plumbing, some basic elements are helpful to know about in case of an emergency. We put together this crash course on plumbing knowledge to help you understand your home's plumbing system better. We'll cover what to look for if you detect a problem and how to respond quickly during a plumbing emergency. Keep reading to learn more!

The Importance of Your Water Heater

A malfunctioning water heater means no hot water — which means cold showers and an unhappy you. It also means not being able to do your laundry or wash your dishes. If you notice you have no hot water, there may be a problem with your water heater. You may need to flush your tank, check that the power is on or have a licensed professional come to the rescue.

Checking Your Water Pressure

If your water pressure seems to have dropped, you can self-check it by hooking up a gauge to a water spigot outside. Simply turn on your water to get a pressure reading. If the pressure is low, there may be a clogged pipe or water supply problem.

How to Shut Off Your Water

Most water-using appliances and fixtures in your home have shut-off valves. These valves allow you to stop the water supply going to a particular appliance rather than shutting off the water to your whole house. For emergencies, it's a good idea to know where each plumbing fixture's shut off valve is.

  • Sink: Look for a chrome or plastic turn knob toward the back of the sink. Typically, there will be two knobs — one for cold and one for hot. To stop the water from going to your sink, turn both clockwise until they stop turning.
  • Toilet: The back of your toilet will have a stop valve toward the bottom of the wall it's up against. To shut it off, turn the knob clockwise.
  • Water Heater: To shut off a water heater, turn the cold water valve at the top of the unit. This may be a lever or a turn-knob.
  • Washing Machines: Turn the valves or lever behind your machine clockwise. This will stop water from flowing.
  • Your Entire Home Water Supply: To shut off the water from your entire property including hoses and sprinklers, search for the main water valve located on your water meter — it's usually located by the street beneath a concrete box below street level.

How to Read Your Water Meter

Reading your water meter can help you identify leaks in your home. All you have to do is locate your water meter and look at the dial. So, for example, if you shut off the water supply to your house and the dial is still moving, you have a leak that needs to be fixed.

Know the Location of Your Sewage System's Clean-Out Plugs

This plumbing knowledge can help your family in a big way during an emergency. In colder climates, the cleanout plug will be inside, typically in the basement. Look for a three- to four-inch pipe coming out of the floor. In warmer climates, these can be found outside the house. These pipes will have a screw-in plug for their main drain access point. If a clog occurs, this is where you'll be able to access and clear the line.

How Mr. Rooter Can Help

We offer a 24-hour emergency response line. If you find yourself in the middle of a plumbing crisis, contact us right away.