5 Fun Plumbing Facts for First-Time Homeowners

Clean hot and cold running water - as long as it's running where it's supposed to - is something new homeowners take for granted. But with no landlord to call for that broken shower head or toilet that won't stop running, you need to be prepared to take care of your own plumbing system.


Along with the joys of owning a home, homeowners face occasional problems and repairs.

Fortunately, some problems can be fixed quickly and inexpensively. But it's good to know when you need a professional. Plumbing can be mystifying at times, but when everything's running properly, your entire household runs better. Here are 5 fun facts about plumbing for first-time homeowners.

1. You Shouldn't Even Flush "Flushable" Wipes

You probably know that regular baby wipes aren't flushable. But even the ones labeled "flushable" often don't break down quickly enough to avoid clogs. Other things you should never flush: condoms, paint, food, cotton swabs, and sanitary products. Keep a good sized, lined trash bin in every bathroom so household members and guests have an alternative at hand. If you have to call a plumber for a clogged toilet, don't worry: they've seen seriously bizarre things people have tried to flush, including a live Civil War-era cannon shell.

2. Simple Maintenance Tasks Can Help You Avoid Costly Repairs

Simple inspection and maintenance tasks can help you prevent problems and find problems early, before they become major. Regularly check washing machine hoses for wear, and check accessible pipes around your water heater for leaks. Put strainers over every shower drain to catch bits of soap and hair, and clean the strainers after each shower. This is far simpler than unblocking the drain later. And never put cooking oils, grease, or fats down a drain, because they will solidify in the pipes and cause clogs.

3. Some Common Repairs Are Simple Enough to Do Yourself

Clearly, some plumbing problems (like a burst pipe) require the help of a professional, but there are a number of simple plumbing issues most homeowners can successfully fix themselves. For example, simple fixes most people can learn with a quick YouTube tutorial include:

• Fixing a drippy faucet
• Repairing a toilet that runs constantly
• Replacing a stuck or broken shut-off valve
• Cleaning a clog from the P-trap under the sink
• Rescuing jewelry that falls down the drain


Some plumbing repairs are simple enough for typical homeowners to handle themselves.

4. Others Are Not, and You Should Call a Plumber

Water on your basement floor, or leaking through basement walls could be due to any number of issues, some of them simple, and some of them complex. In this situation, it's best to call a professional right away. If you're experiencing problems with your water heater other than, say, the need to re-light the pilot, call a plumber. Water heaters bring together plumbing with electricity or gas lines, and it's a good idea to have a professional deal with these things. Anything that involves copper pipes and the possible need for a blowtorch should also involve a call to a plumbing professional.

5. Plumbing Terminology May Make You Laugh

As harrowing as a major plumbing problem can be, and as much as you want to get the repairs done and behind you, you may find your inner 12-year-old giggling at some of the terminology you hear your plumbing team use. These are some actual plumbing terms, and you'll be glad you have a professional on hand who knows what they are and how they relate to your plumbing issue:

• Ball check valve
• Discharge tube
• Female fitting
• Male threads
• Pipe dope

Being a first time homeowner is great, but you have to be prepared to act when you encounter a household problem that's beyond your repair capability. While there are some plumbing issues that are simple enough for a DIY fix, others can quickly get out of hand. If you have any doubt about your ability to accomplish a repair, it's a good sign that you should call in a professional Santa Cruz plumber. Santa Cruz Plumbing has the experience, skills, and knowledge of local plumbing codes necessary to take care of your problem whenever you need a Santa Cruz plumber. We even offer a free 43-point plumbing inspection that's perfect for the new homeowner. If you have any questions at all, we encourage you to call us at 831-425-1131.

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