Plumbing fixtures are often considered the unsung heroes of interior design. They can elevate a room in ways that many homeowners don’t even realize.
Want to learn more about the world of plumbing? We spoke to plumbers and students about the costs of training, what life is like on the job and whether going into the trade lives up to the hype.
The plumbing industry is a vital part of modern society. It brings clean, fresh water into buildings and homes, and it removes wastewater and sewage safely and efficiently. Without it, we would be stuck with contaminated drinking water and improper waste disposal, both of which pose serious health risks. Fortunately, professional plumbers are available to install, repair and maintain plumbing systems.
A plumbing system is composed of two distinct subsystems: the water supply and the drainage system. Water comes into a home through pipes, which may be made from materials like copper, PVC, or PEX. These pipes carry water under pressure to outlets in rooms and bathrooms, where it is used for bathing, washing clothes, cooking, and cleaning. In turn, these outlets connect to fixtures such as water closets (also known as toilets), sinks, and tubs.
While these systems work together to deliver water, they also work independently. For example, a broken pipe can leave a room with no water, and a water heater may need to be replaced if it is not working properly.
In order to maintain plumbing, it is important to have regular inspections done by professional plumbers. These can reveal a wide range of issues, from hidden water leaks to clogged drains and appliances.
During an inspection, a plumber can make recommendations for improving the efficiency of your plumbing system. For instance, if you have old, inefficient water heaters, replacing them with newer, energy-efficient models can save you money on your power bills. It is also a good idea to consider implementing a smart, grid-interactive water heater. These devices can be connected to your home’s energy management system and utility meter, allowing you to take advantage of demand response programs and automated efficiency optimization.
The plumbing industry is a great career choice for those who want to work with their hands and mind, enjoy solving problems, and are interested in a highly visible, customer-facing trade. In addition to receiving on-the-job training, a career as a plumber can also be enhanced by earning a vocational degree from a local community college or trade school.
Although you might not think of faucets as a design element in your home, the right ones can bring a modern look to a room. They can also make tasks like washing dishes and self-care more convenient. The newest types of faucets can even help you save money on water bills.
A faucet has several components, including the spout, handle(s), lift rod, cartridge and aerator. It can be mounted on the wall, on the sink or on the deck (apron) of a vanity. Some are touch-activated or can be turned on with a button, making them easy to operate.
Faucets are typically crafted from hardened metals, such as brass or stainless steel. But other materials are used as well, including ceramics or glass. The shape of the body and the finish are also important factors. Ergonomic designs may feature longer spout lengths or easier-to-operate handles.
The newest kitchen and bathroom innovations include thermostatic shower and tub valves that control the temperature so household members of all ages can safely enjoy a comfortable bath or shower. Faucets with integrated touch-activated controls are a popular choice in kitchens and bathrooms as well. They turn on with a single press of a button or are activated by the wave of your hand, making them much less likely to harbor germs than standard taps.
Many people choose faucets with advanced features to boost their home’s energy efficiency. They can help you lower your water bill by reducing the amount of water consumed each time you turn on the faucet. They can also help you conserve water by cutting down on the number of rinse cycles needed to wash dishes or take a shower.
Depending on where you live, you might want to consider choosing a faucet with a low-flow design to meet local environmental regulations. For example, the National Sanitation Foundation 61 regulation limits contaminants that can extract from faucets and into drinking water and California’s Proposition 65 requires antiscald devices in bathtubs and showers.
You can find faucets in a wide variety of styles, prices and finishes at hardware stores, lumberyards, home centers and bath-remodeling showrooms. Plumbing wholesalers, which sell to contractors and homeowners, often know the manufacturers and can give you details about the product that aren’t on the packaging.
Garbage disposals make it possible to toss food waste directly into the sink drain without having to keep a large trash can. But these appliances can be problematic if they aren’t used properly. The shredded food scraps are then flushed through pipes to a local sewage treatment plant, where they can cause clogs and other issues that necessitate professional repairs.
To avoid these problems, a garbage disposal should never be fed meat bones, fats, egg shells or coffee grounds. It should also be run only with cold water; hot water can cause greasy substances to liquefy and clog the drain. In addition, it is recommended that large, stringy foods, such as celery and asparagus, be cut into small pieces before putting them in the disposal to prevent them from wrapping around the blade and jamming the mechanism.
In addition to preventing drain clogs, regular maintenance can extend the life of your garbage disposal and help it remain odor-free. One easy and effective way to do this is to periodically pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of a household sanitizer, such as borax (the kind you’ll find in the laundry aisle), down the drain while running the disposal with cold water. This cleans and sanitizes the disposal, sharpens the blade and kills odor-causing bacteria.
Other tips for keeping your disposal in good working order include not putting large amounts of food waste in at once; instead, add a bit of food waste at a time with the cold water turned on. Also, use ice cubes made of vinegar to clean the disposal once or twice a month; this will help eliminate foul odors, remove grease build-up and sharpen the blade.
Aside from being super convenient, garbage disposals help the environment by cutting down on the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills and incinerators. As garbage decomposes in a landfill it produces methane gas, which can be a major greenhouse gas. However, most of the solid food waste in a garbage disposal will be transformed into fertilizer when it goes through a local wastewater treatment plant.
Plumbing systems made by a trusted plumbing contractor are vital to our daily lives. They provide us with clean water and remove waste. Without them, we would be faced with serious health and environmental issues. Luckily, professional plumbers are available to help ensure that our plumbing systems are always working properly. Keep reading to learn more about plumbing and how it can transform your home.
After freshwater enters your home through the main water supply line, it travels along piping that delivers water to your faucets and fixtures. This includes hot water supply pipes, which transport heated water to your showers, sinks and toilets. Cold water supply pipes also run throughout your home to supply taps and other fixtures with chilled water.
Then there are the drainpipes and venting systems, which allow water to flow in and out of your home’s drainage system. Leaking or damaged drainpipes can lead to flooding, mold and bacteria growth, and other costly damages. Keeping an eye on your drains and regularly inspecting and cleaning them will prevent this from happening.
Similarly, the toilets in your home are far more advanced than the basic hole in the ground and bucket types that were used centuries ago. You can now choose between a bog-standard close coupled toilet, a wall hung toilet or even a 2-in-1 toilet and sink. Moreover, modern toilets are designed to be eco-friendly by using less water and providing you with more hygienic flushing options.
In addition to these features, some of today’s toilets have innovative technology that can make your morning routine more comfortable and enjoyable. Some are equipped with sound systems that play your favorite tunes or podcasts while you’re getting ready in the bathroom. Others have adjustable water pressure and flow to give you a customized experience.
Whether you’re building your dream home or simply upgrading your current one, modern plumbing offers an endless array of ways to enhance your lifestyle and add value to your property. From energy-efficient innovations that cut down on your electricity bills to luxurious comforts like a rainfall showerhead, you can use the power of plumbing to turn any room into your personal oasis.