If you don’t know anything about plumbing, don’t let that stop you from learning some of the basics that every renter or homeowner should know. A little knowledge can go a long way in case of an emergency or if your plumbing starts doing something it shouldn’t. You don’t need to become an expert to familiarize yourself with the basics that could prevent an emergency before it happens. By learning a few basic facts you can determine which plumbing situations are dire and which ones are merely annoying. Additionally, by increasing your knowledge about plumbing, you’ll have a better understanding of which plumbing problems require a professional and which ones you can deal with yourself.
A Brief History of Plumbing
Plumbing originated in ancient civilizations around the world including Greece, Persia, China, India and Italy. In these ancient cultures, plumbing was very basic and was used mainly for public baths. People did not have plumbing to individual homes as people in modern cultures do today. Modern plumbing began development in the 1800s and eventually led to the evolved systems of plumbing that people in the Western world enjoy today. Modern plumbing materials like copper, brass, steel and cast iron replaced ancient lead pipes due to the high toxicity levels of lead.
How Do I Turn the Water Off?
There is a valve that turns off the entire water supply to your home or building. You can find this valve on a pipe where the water enters your house from outside plumbing. Often, in modern U.S. homes, this valve is located in the garage. Your shutoff valve will be on the largest pipe that you’ll see anywhere in the home and the shutoff valve looks like a lever that comes right off the pipe. To turn off the water, simply move the lever from the up position to the down position. On many older homes, the shutoff valve may be outside and rather than a lever, you’ll find a round handle that turns clockwise and counterclockwise.
Major Plumbing Issues
If you hear rattling pipes there are various reasons for why it could be happening. A common cause for rattling pipes is when they begin to pull away from the wall, pipes should always be strongly secured. In this case, a plumber should re-secure them. If your toilet tank has a leak, this signifies a faulty or worn out part inside the tank and you should have a professional examine it to find out what needs replacing. If you lose hot water when another tap is turned on then your valves need re-balancing, which is a job for the professionals.
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