Do you know how your bathroom plumbing works? It’s ok if you don’t — most people have no idea. In fact, most people don’t understand how their car works either, but they do know when something’s wrong. That’s because they know how their car is supposed to drive. It’s no different when it comes to bathroom plumbing; you know there’s an issue when bathroom appliances start behaving differently than they once did. Although homeowners can skate by on observation skills alone (at least for a while), a general understanding of how their bathroom plumbing works might help them prevent issues from arising in the first place. At Strittmatter Plumbing, Heating and AC, we want to give homeowners the tools they need to prevent plumbing issues from getting out of hand. As your trusted Flower Mound bathroom plumbers, we know that basic knowledge will go a long way in keeping your plumbing in working order. Keep reading to learn the basics of how your bathroom plumbing system works. Need bathroom or toilet plumbing services now? We’re here to help. Whether you have a clogged drain, a toilet that won’t flush or a different issue, our expert plumbers can assess the problem and make repairs or replacements. Visit us online to schedule service.
Basic Bathroom ComponentsBefore you can get a mental picture of how it all works, you have to know the basic components. Most full-size bathrooms have a toilet, a sink and shower, generally with a bathtub. Each of these appliances has the ability to supply clean water, as well as to drain used water. Clean water comes out of the sink faucet, bathtub spigot and showerhead, and it fills the toilet bowl back up after you flush it. But where does the clean water come from? That depends on whether your bathroom uses a direct or indirect system.
Bathroom Water SupplyClean water can reach your bathroom directly or indirectly. The difference between a direct and indirect system lies in how cold water is distributed throughout the home. If your bathroom plumbing system is indirect, its cold water is supplied by a storage cistern. In indirect systems, the storage cistern supplies cold water to the hot water heater, as well as to your bathroom’s sink, shower and toilet. In direct systems, your house’s main water line supplies your bathroom with cold water, and the storage cistern supplies only the hot water heater.
Bathroom Drain PipesAfter you know where your bathroom’s clean water comes from, inevitably the next question is where it goes. Most people probably don’t like thinking about where their sudzy bath water or toilet waste goes, but it’s an important question. When water drains from your bathtub, shower or sink, it flows into a special line that’s only for water disposal (not toilet waste). The smaller line eventually meets up with a larger line that carries waste away from your toilet. The slope of the smaller line prevents waste from the larger toilet line from backing up into it. Once the two drain pipes meet up, their contents continue their journey together until eventually reaching a septic tank or sewer system.
Common Bathroom Plumbing IssuesWith a general understanding of how water moves in and out of your bathroom, it may be more apparent to you when something’s off. Of course, you don’t need to know how the drain pipes work to know your toilet’s clogged, which is one of the most common bathroom plumbing issues. As the largest water exchange station in your house, your bathroom is bound to encounter plumbing issues from time to time. Look out for these warning signs:
- Sink that won’t drain
- Toilet that won’t flush
- Toilet bowl that won’t fill
- Running toilet
- Leaky faucets and pipes
- Low water pressure
- Gurgling drains
- Sewer smell
Tips to Avoid Plumbing IssuesWhen you’re a homeowner, it’s not enough to know about how your bathroom plumbing works; you also need to know how to prevent issues. An experienced plumber will tell you that they see certain issues arise time and time again, problems that could have been avoided. Here are some tips for avoiding bathroom plumbing issues:
- Only flush toilet paper. Lots of hygiene products claim to be flushable, but they are not. Wet wipes, “flushable” wipes, face swipes, cotton balls, floss — all of these things can accumulate and cause a massive drain clog.
- Use drain covers. Flushing things you shouldn’t isn’t the only way to clog your pipes. Allowing hair, debris and toothpaste to fall into your sink and shower drains can create clogs, too. After you apply drain covers, you’ll be shocked at what you were washing down the pipes before.
- Don’t use chemical drain cleaners. We get it; a clogged toilet or drain can cause panic. Although a chemical drain cleaner may seem like an easy solution, it’s only temporary. What’s worse is that it can permanently damage and corrode your drain pipes. If a plunger won’t move the clog, call a professional.
- Schedule routine maintenance. Things are going to slip down the drain; it’s unavoidable. However, you can schedule routine drain cleaning for your bathroom plumbing system to avoid large buildups.