Advice on plumbing basics for newbies

November 16, 2013

Do you dread anything to do with plumbing? No need to panic. A few savvy tips will help you get by, and when you can’t, the experts are a phone call away.

Advice on plumbing basics for newbies

Once upon a time, irrigation systems were powered by manual pumps using counterweights, and water was distributed through aqueducts. Even today, archeological remains testify to the ingenuity of our ancestors. But now the universe of plumbing and mechanics has been totally revolutionized by evolving technologies, new scientific knowledge, and greater know-how.

More advanced systems

Over time, notions of hygiene and the plumbing systems that go with them have been greatly improved, including the advent of the toilet and the separate bathroom. Home water and sewage systems serve North American families well, with fresh, clean water and waste water drains, as well as modern day essentials like hot water for the kitchen and bathroom.


These days, plumbing systems use rigid, durable pipes made with ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride), in addition to cast iron, galvanized steel, and copper. Plastic piping is used mainly for waste water and sewage, while steel and copper are used principally for hot and cold water pipes. Chrome-plated copper and brass are highly valued, not only for their durability but also for their shine. Consequently, they are used as the visible piping leading to various built-in appliances.


A home’s plumbing is not infallible, and fortunately good plumbers are easy to find. But a few guidelines can help you maintain the system in between the plumber’s visits.

  • Installing a strainer in the drain of your bath or shower prevents the accumulation of hair in the drainpipe The kitchen sink strainer plug should always be left in place to keep the drain from becoming clogged with small pieces of food.
  • If you detect problem odours emanating from the sink, shower, toilet, or basement plumbing, it’s possible that the water in the U-bend (designed to prevent noxious fumes from drains and pipes escaping into little used rooms) of their drainpipes has evaporated. All that’s necessary is to run lots of water down the drain. Cleaning out U-bends on a regular basis helps to prevent bad smells.
  • Another cause of plumbing odours might be a malfunction in the evacuation system. Check to ensure that the vent on the roof of the house is not blocked. Have it inspected by a professional who can quickly evaluate any problems and remedy the situation. Baking soda, a product that helps dissolve grease, can also be used to get rid of problem odours.

Professional plumbers for all your plumbing needs

As soon as you detect anything other than a minor leak, blocked pipe, or unpleasant smell, call a plumber to help you detect the problem. This will let you avoid having to pay for major repairs further down the line.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu