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Plumbing 101

Plumbing 101

When residents need the service of plumbers Jacksonville homeowners are often calling about clogged drains, blocked sewage lines or toilet backups. These are some of the most common reasons that people have to call on plumbing contractors and they can often be averted ahead of time with some basic knowledge and proper habits.

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With a little investigation and knowing these tips from professional plumbers Jacksonville residents may be able to develop a better understanding of their plumbing lines, drains and sewer systems, and how to maintain them for best performance.

Toilet Drain

There are many reasons plumbing lines may become clogged, and some of these more common issues can be avoided simply by addressing what you are putting down your drains and toilets. A common cause of blockage in toilet lines is simply what we are flushing. Many people assume that our toilets can handle much more than they are actually designed to. Basically, our toilets and sewage pipe systems are not designed to handle anything more than toilet paper, and only a limited amount of it at a time.

Paper towels, napkins and feminine hygiene products are made of thicker materials than toilet paper and while it may not seem like a big difference, flushing these items will eventually lead to blockage and stoppages along the sewer line. Even facial tissues and moist wipes labeled as “flushable” can cause problems for sewer and drainage systems.

Foreign objects like cigarette butts or cotton balls may seem like they flush down with no problem, but in fact they are often collecting somewhere along your sewage line and eventually will cause a serious blockage or backup. Not only can foreign objects build up and eventually keep the toilet from flushing at all, but if the vents get blocked up, you may be facing some unpleasant smells as a consequence.

Vents – Made in drain pipes by using a sloped or vertical section of pipe to let the sewer gas release out of the house to the outside air, and they also allow air into the drain system to keep the air pressure correctly balanced and the water in the traps at the proper levels.
Wet Vents – Connect 2 or more fixtures and serve to drain wastewater from the system while also supplying properly pressurized air to the drains.
Traps – Curved portions of the drainage system which serve to “trap” a small amount of water and prevents sewage gas from releasing back into the bathroom. ‘S’ traps and ‘P’ traps are typically used in bathroom plumbing for this purpose.
Angle StopsStraight Stops and Supply Stops – Types of Shut-Off valves and will be found under toilets and sinks. It may be necessary to shut off water to and from the clogged drains and lines to correctly diagnose and then fix the problem.

We have outlined some good habits for the toilet but how about sinks and tubs? The same principle applies to anything you are putting down any of the drains in your home. In the bathroom you are fine to rinse down most shaving creams and cleaners, soaps and hair or face products that are liquid.

Other Drains

In the tub the same rules apply. Be aware that some thicker body scrubs and mask products or treatments with solid materials in them may harden along the lines and eventually decrease the flow down the tub drain.

In the kitchen you should take care not to overwork your garbage disposal and throw away any leftovers that may be too hard, tough or otherwise difficult for your disposal to process and cleanly travel through the drainage lines. Be careful if you are dumping extremely hot water, you should mix it with cold water before sending it into the drain. Never pour hot grease down the drains as it will eventually solidify somewhere in the lines and water will not be able to break through it. (If you’ve ever seen leftover bacon grease harden in the pan, just imagine a bunch of that stuff lining the pipes of your drainage system.)

If you were to ask plumbers, they will verify that taking these precautions will help keep your sewage and drain lines clean and clear. If you want to avoid needing the help of professional plumbers Jacksonville residents can apply these basic routines to what they put down their sinks and toilets. When in doubt throw it out! Err on the side of caution and do not over encumber your drains and sewage lines with material they are not made to handle.