Even if you aren’t a plumber, there are still several critical things that are very helpful to know about your kitchen plumbing. Basic knowledge can help you troubleshoot a small repair. And knowing more about your kitchen pipes and equipment can help in an emergency, if anything breaks down unexpectedly or a pipe burst.
We’ve put together some tips about the basics of kitchen plumbing to help you out. However, if you’re unsure about a repair or if something is wrong and you don’t have the time or experience, don’t hesitate to call a professional like bluefrog Plumbing + Drain.
Where Does the Water Come From?
In most communities, water comes into your house from the city water main. Rural areas may have private or shared wells to draw, but for the most part, you’ll get your water through main pipes form a municipal water source. Two main pipes bring water into your home, the intake pipes, for freshwater, and the wastewater pipes, which take dirty water and sewage to a water treatment plant. When a plumbing service comes to your home, they’ll be working on your private pipes, not the cities.
Once the water enters your home, a pipe delivers it to your water heater. If you heat your home with a boiler, a separate pipe will go there, too. When determining leaks, a plumbing service will begin checking the pipes where the water enters the home, and then examine all the diverging pipes that lead to most rooms in your home.
How Do I Shut Off My Home’s Water?
Your water meter, where the city measures your water usage, is near the main water pipe into your home. When you move into a new house, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the location of your water main right away, as well as how to shut it off properly. If there’s an emergency, like a leaking appliance or a burst pipe, you don’t have time to look up the instructions!
You’ll generally find the main shut off the valve on the ground floor, or in the basement or closet.
Your shut off valve will either look like a spoked wheel or a lever. For levers, simply pull or push the lever in the opposite direction until it stops. With a wheel, turn it to the right until it doesn’t move. You may wish to practice this a few times, and test your efforts by trying to run the water afterward.
Each appliance and bathroom fixture will have its own water shut-off valve. They usually look like smaller versions of the main water shutoff, either a wheel or a lever. A plumbing service may recommend that you shut off the appliance or fixture in question immediately, to prevent any more leaks before you get it repaired.
Understand Water Pressure
Being able to measure your water pressure, and doing so on a regular basis, can provide clues to small leaks before they get worse. Most homes have water pressure between 40 and 45 pounds per square inch (psi) and should exceed no more than 60 psi. If your water pressure is significantly lower than average, it’s best to call a plumbing service, as low water pressure often indicates a leaky pipe.
You can purchase a home pressure testing kit at most hardware stores, and use it to determine whether the water pressure issue affects the entire house, one room, or just one appliance.
Warning Signs of a Faulty Water Heater
Your water heater has a lifetime of about 20 years if you have a plumbing service perform routine preventative maintenance and you live in an area that doesn’t have hard water or calcium deposits.
There are a few indications that your water heater is wearing out, and it’s best to have a plumbing service correct a small problem before the water heater bursts, which can damage your home, start a fire, and even injure people nearby.
Some things to look for are a lack of hot water; hot water that doesn’t last as long as usual; or cloudy, smelly, or rust-colored water. The lack of hot water may indicate a problem with the coils or the heating element, while cloudy or stinky water may indicate corrosion either in the pipes or in the water heater’s tank itself. If you have a tankless water heater, obviously it’s the pipes.
Other indications that you’ll need a plumbing service to examine your water heater are a noisy machine or a leaking tank. You may notice water beading up on the outside of the tank – however, you may not if the leaks are small. The heat of the tank can cause the water on the outside to evaporate before you notice it.
Troubleshooting Clogs and Slow Drains
Some clogs and slow drains can be fixed with some chemical solvents and a little elbow grease. Chemical solvents can help dislodge clogs in a sink from excess food in the drain or solidified grease. It’s best to keep as much solid matter as possible out of your kitchen sink, even if you have a garbage disposal. If you cook meat often, avoid draining the grease into the sink. Once the grease cools, it hardens and can block the pipes. Repeated grease clogs can also begin to corrode some types of pipes.
If your water is draining slowly, it may mean you have a clogged drain. If solvents and hot water don’t work, you should call a plumbing service – don’t attempt to take the pipes under the sink apart yourself.
When to Call a Plumbing Service
DIY projects may be a fun way to spend a weekend, but fixing your kitchen plumbing isn’t one of them. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can risk flooding your home or damaging your appliances. Call a certified plumbing service the minute you run into a problem, to save yourself a costly emergency repair.
You can call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain day or night for a burst pipe, emergency repair or preventative service!