Your plumbing is crucial to your home. Every day you turn on the hot water for a shower, you fill up the sink to wash dishes, you flush the toilet and you pour water for drinking. Without a healthy plumbing system you can't do any of these things, but too often homeowners don't know enough about the systems that bring water into and out of their houses. Make sure that you're comfortable with the basics of your home's plumbing to ensure that you can keep it running well and address any problems that may arise.
To begin at the beginning, your house's plumbing consists of two systems that work together. One system brings in fresh water to your home. This water is under pressure so that it can travel up pipes to faucets and shower heads on all floors of your home. The second system takes waste water out of your home and is not pressurized but follows the natural laws of gravity in order to drain out.
Hot water is a necessity in the cold months and is indispensable for tasks such as washing dishes or clothes. Every homeowner needs to know that water entering your home is ready for immediate use only as cold water. Your hot water comes from a water heater which fills itself up with cold water and gradually heats it up. When you're ready for a hot shower, this hot water heater provides you with the warmth you're looking for. If your shower runs cold, it may be because you've used up all the hot water and need to wait until the heater prepares more hot water.
Sometimes knowing how to shut off your water is one of the most important aspects of avoiding a full-on plumbing disaster. Your home has a main water shut-off valve somewhere close to where the water supply enters your house. This is often located in a basement or crawl space, and a water meter which registers your water usage is frequently near this valve. Be aware that shutting this valve off will turn off water throughout your entire system. If you are dealing with an isolated problem such as a broken faucet at just one sink, it's better to use the shut-off valve for that particular fixture. Nearly every appliance hooked up to your water system has its own valve.
Take a look at the pipes that run throughout your home. Familiarizing yourself with your system will help you to understand it so that you can keep it healthy longer, and efficiently deal with any problems that may arise.
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