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Plumbing Basics Guide for Homeowners

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This guide is designed to demystify the essentials of home plumbing for you. We’ll start by exploring the fundamental components of your home’s plumbing system, including pipes, drains, and fixtures. Before diving into the importance of regular maintenance.

Whether you’re a new homeowner or just looking to expand your DIY skills, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to tackle basic plumbing tasks and understand when it’s time to call in a professional. Let’s dive in and unravel the mysteries of home plumbing together!

If you need a water leak repair near me in Santa Rosa then reach out to the experts at Santa Rosa Plumbing.

Parts of a Plumbing System

Every homeowner should know plumbing basics. When you have a basic understanding of how your plumbing systems work and the role each plumbing component plays, you can better monitor your consumption patterns, identify habits that can cause plumbing components to deteriorate prematurely, and troubleshoot minor plumbing problems. Before trying to understand how your plumbing system works, familiarize yourself with its parts.

A traditional plumbing system comprises of pipes and fittings, valves, fixtures, traps, and drainage.

Pipes and Fittings

Your pipes are responsible for transporting clean water from the main city line or your water well throughout your home. While your water pipes bring fresh water into your building, your drain pipes transport household wastewater to the city sewers. Pipe fittings connect pipes. They allow lines to change angles, helping ensure the optimum utilization of space beneath walls, ceilings, and floors. Most plumbing systems comprise two sets of pipes and fittings-one for cold water and the other for hot water.

Types of Pipes

Here are some common pipe materials

  • Copper: Copper pipes can last several decades. Their reliability makes them the preferred choice of homeowners around the country. With copper pipes, you need not worry about an internal buildup of mineral deposits. Copper pipes come in a wide variety of lengths and widths. One of their major drawbacks is the cost. When choosing copper pipes, check pipe thickness. Size disruptions can lead to leaks.
  • PVC: PVC pipers are very easy to install (you can cut and connect PVC pipes without soldering them) and are recyclable. One disadvantage of PVC pipes is that they can sustain damage when exposed to high or low temperatures.
  • PEX: A type of flexing tubing, PEX is made of plastic with flexible mesh. It requires fewer connections, given that there is enough space for the tubing to curve naturally. PEX pipes come in a wide variety of colors and sizes.


Valves are mechanical devices used to regulate, direct, and control the flow of water. Using a valve, you can shut off the water supply, adjust water pressure within your plumbing system, and prevent backflow. They are generally made of plastic or brass. There are several types of valvese, each type has its own distinct design and function.

Types of Valves

Your plumbing system may be composed of the following types of valves.

  • Gate valve: This is the most common type of valve in plumbing systems. It has a wedge-shaped metal gate that can be lowered or raised using a twist-type handle (some models have a knob) to control the flow of water.
  • Butterfly valve: Butterfly valves have a rotating metal disk that can be used to control water flow. They are preferred for their low cost and simple design.
  • Ball valve: A ball valve has a rotating sphere with a hole attached to a lever that can be used to operate the valve. If you open a ball valve, water will flow through it. When closed, the hole in it prevents water from flowing.
  • Globe valve: Globe valves help regulate the water flow rate in pipelines. They have a distinct cylindrical shape that resembles a globe (thus the name). The two halves of the body of a globe valve are separated by a baffle.


Fixtures are designed to deliver and drain water. Some common examples include sinks, tubs, showers, faucets, and bidets. They provide convenient access to water. Some plumbing fixtures draw water on an as-needed basis, while others draw water from pipes at the push of a button or when someone turns their handle.


Traps are U-shaped bends in pipes designed to prevent unwanted liquid or sewer gas flow. Traps in your plumbing keep sewer gases out of your home, helping ensure that it is habitable.


Your drainage system removes household wastewater from your property. Your plumbing fixtures have individual drains that connect to the main drain line. Once wastewater flows into the main drain line, it is transported to your septic tank or municipal connection.

A faulty drainage system fails to serve its purpose and can lead to sewer backups in your home. Have a plumbing service in Santa Rosa inspect and clean your drains at regular intervals. Regular drain cleaning can help prevent clogs, keeping your drains in good working order all year round.

Plumbing Maintenance Tips

Your plumbing system needs regular maintenance. Regular plumbing maintenance helps identify and address plumbing problems in a timely manner. Well-maintained plumbing systems are more efficient and reliable than poorly maintained ones, perform better, and last longer.

Follow these tips to maintain your plumbing.

  • Inspect all exposed pipes in your home, especially under sinks and behind toilet tanks, for any warning signs of leaks such as moisture, rust, and drips. Schedule a professional water leak repair expert in Santa Rosa when necessary.
  • Make a cleaning solution by mixing baking soda and vinegar in a bottle. To keep your drains clear, periodically flush the solution down them and then rinse with hot water.
  • Have a plumbing service in Santa Rosa inspect and maintain your plumbing annually.
  • Regularly inspect toilet flappers and fill valves for wear and tear.
  • Do not flush food scraps, coffee grounds, and cigarette butts down your drains. Install shower drain covers over the drains in your bathroom to catch scum and hair.
  • Use sink strainers to catch solids and prevent them from clogging the drain lines.

Santa Rosa Plumbing is a trusted plumbing contractor in the Santa Rosa area. Whatever the nature of the plumbing problem you’re trying to deal with, we can help. To schedule a water leak repair near me in Santa Rosa, call (707) 544-FLOW