Plumbing Basics Every Homeowner Should Know

While a plumbing professional should always be called for major issues, many homeowners can learn some basics to keep their homes and pipes in good working order. For example, knowing where to find the main water shut-off valve can save a lot of stress should a plumbing emergency occur. 

It’s also helpful to understand what is and isn’t flushable to avoid clogs and know how to use plumber’s tape. 

Water Supply 

The water supply line is the main pipe that brings clean drinking water into your property. It connects to the public water distribution line, has a meter that indicates how much you consume (usually on a monthly basis), and then branches out to each plumbing fixture, faucet, shower or appliance in your home or business. Knowing about the water supply line is important because it helps you detect and deal with any problems. It also allows you to turn off your water supply quickly if an emergency occurs. 


Drainage is responsible for getting rid of surplus water that accumulates on the ground’s surface or inside pipes. It’s crucial to have a proper drainage system as it will prevent water-related issues such as flooding, filthy smells and even structural damage. 

There are different types of drains that can be used, based on the type of water that needs to be drained. For instance, open drains are deep ditches that allow for water to flow while buried pipe drains convey water into the drains. 


Wastewater includes everything you flush down toilets, rinse down drains or send through your washing machine. It is collected by lateral sewers that connect homes, offices and businesses to branch sewers and then to main sewers that carry wastewater to sewage treatment plants. This water contains disease-spreading bacteria, as well as heavy metals and harmful chemicals. It can also deplete oxygen in rivers, lakes and seas to the point that fish and other organisms die. This has the flow-on effect of bypassing natural nutrient cycles, which can harm ecosystems. 


Faucets are responsible for delivering water to sinks and other spigots. Improvements in engineering and manufacturing make faucets more drip-free and longer-lasting, while new designs offer a range of options. 

The finish on a faucet determines how it looks. Typical finishes include nickel, bronze, brass and stainless steel. Brass is the most durable. It resists rusting better

than other metals, but it dents easily. Abrasives like caustic soda or harsh cleansers can dull it. Some manufacturers apply a clear coat to protect the finish. 


Toilets are a necessity for most homeowners, but they can still cause problems such as clogs and leaks. Knowing how these fixtures work is important for preventing problems and doing quick DIY fixes. 

Clogged toilets can be caused by flushing inappropriate items, such as wipes or paper towels. Other common issues include leaking tanks and bowls. 

Originally, the word toilet was used to describe chamber pots, but it has since evolved into what we use today. 'Going to the loo' is a phrase that originated in the North East of England and has now spread to other countries. 


Showers are important to the home as they allow you to wash yourself in a convenient way. They can also help reduce stress and increase relaxation. In fact, studies show that a long shower or bath can help alleviate muscle pain and promote sleep. Increasingly, homeowners are choosing to remove tubs and install showers in their homes as they are easier to access for people with limited mobility. A shower can be decorative as well, with many people using tile to create a unique design. 


Sinks are bowl-shaped plumbing fixtures that supply hot and cold water for hand washing or dishwashing. They typically include faucets that supply the water and a drain that removes the used water. 

Stainless steel sinks can be found in various sizes and styles, depending on the budget and preference of the homeowner. When buying this type of sink, it is important to check the ratio of chromium and nickel, usually written as 18/8. 

Keep in mind that the rim of the sink takes up counter space. Also, the sink should be wiped down regularly to avoid mineral deposits and scratches. 


With a few exceptions, plumbing is all about water: bringing it into the home, using it for things like washing and heating, and getting rid of wastewater. By knowing some of the plumbing basics, homeowners can save themselves money and stress when dealing with a repair. For instance, knowing that pre-moistened wipes, cotton swabs, dental floss, and other items should never be flushed down a toilet can help prevent costly clogs. Also, knowing where the main shut off valve is located can save a homeowner the hassle of searching for it in an emergency. Sometimes the only way to fix plumbing problems is to call a plumber in Melbourne for assistance. With as much knowledge as possible, a homeowner can do many fix your own plumbing issues.