Some simple DIY plumbing skills can help make life easier around the home, especially for dealing with those unforseen plumbing emergencies. Even though most plumbing jobs in the home do need to be undertaken by a licensed and registered plumber – knowing, for example, where to shut off the mains water supply could prevent serious damage to your property. There are also other more basic tasks such as changing a tap washer or relieving a stuck ball valve in your toilet, which are simple tasks well within the scope of the home DIY-er. Local hardware stores or DIY outlets will often stock a comprehensive range of plumbing related spares and supplies. For basic repairs, simply remove the old part and take it along to ensure you purchase the correct replacement.
Home Plumbing System Knowing what the various elements of a domestic plumbing system are, can help you to troubleshoot any potential problems and literally DIY. The various components include:
Mains supply – this is the local or municipal pipe that brings water to your home, and services every other home in your street, often with a water meter attached
Hot water system – this includes the water heater system and all the piping that leaves it
Cold water system – this passes through a filter before distribution to the rest of the home
Waste system – the piping that removes all the wastewater from your bath, toilet and sinks
Essential DIY Tools Having a few essential tools at home will make handling simple DIY plumbing jobs that much easier. This includes the following items:
Plumbers thread tape
Plumbing DIY Basics If you master a few basic plumbing basics, you can avoid calling out a plumber unnecessarily. This includes the following tasks:
Stopcock or mains control valve – locating this switch enables you to shut off the main water supply to your property – an essential emergency measure and also necessary before commencing any work on your plumbing system.
Leaking taps or faucets – replace a tap washer with a screwdriver, pliers, wrench and a replacement washer in under half an hour.
Blocked drains – a rubber plunger is a low cost purchase which is very effective at clearing clogged drains, sinks and toilets.
Running toilets – toilets tanks or cisterns that seem to be continually filling can usually be stopped by releasing the ball cock or float arm, which can become stuck.
Common Plumbing Terms It pays to know about some common plumbing terms, some of which are:
Access panel – opening that provides access to elements of the plumbing system
Elbow – a join that enables piping to be sited at a number of angles
Fixtures – all permanent fixed elements including baths, sinks and toilets
Mains – the main water supply pipe, typically sited underground adjacent to your property
Piping – typically copper or PVC plastic piping which carries all water and waste
Tee – a T-shaped connector for joining three lengths of piping together
Trap – a U-shaped bend in a waste water pipe that prevents sewer odors entering the home
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