How to Make Your Plumbing More Efficient

plumber fixing central heating system

To the layperson, plumbing seems simple. Turn the knob left, and you get hot water. Turn the knob right, and you get cold water. But in reality, plumbing is complicated; that’s why when we have plumbing problems, we need to call certified plumbing companies like Calgary Plumber and Drains for help.

In addition to the complex nature of plumbing, no two buildings have identical systems, which means some plumbing systems are for efficient than others. The more complicated your system, the more likely you’ll run into issues, and they will also be harder to fix. Here are some of the basic tips that may make your plumbing more efficient the next time you call need plumbing companies to fix an issue.

Plumber doing some work under the sink. Tightening siphon.

Know Your Pipes

Plumbing companies know pipes, and you should too. There are two kinds of pipe fittings: “sweat” and compression. Compression fittings use the same gasket material used in windows and doors and don’t require a lot of pressure to seal properly. If you’re using copper pipes, they will have a crimp-on ring for compression fittings. If you’re using galvanized steel, they will likely have threaded ends and require a thread seal tape to make the joint watertight-or use a small amount of yellow Teflon plumber’s tape (don’t overuse: once around is enough).

Know Your Flow

Flexible supply lines are made of 5/8″ or 3/4″ PEX, flexible plastic tubing that’s easy to work with. It doesn’t corrode, flake, rust or pit, making it more durable than traditional metal supplies. The trade-off is the coating used to resist corrosion can be sensitive to certain chemicals found in city water. The benefit of PEX is that it’s easier to run the supply line-no soldering, clamps or glue are required. It can be easily cut to size with a tubing cutter and connected using heat, which means you don’t have to turn off the water supply.

Know Your Drain

Toilet waste typically originates from your home’s sewer drain line. The drainpipe size is determined by how far it needs to travel and the total number of fixtures, called “dwelling units.” One fixture is one toilet or sink. A half-bath counts as a one-half dwelling unit because only half of the room is devoted to a lavatory basin. One sink on the end of a 3-ft section of counter counts as one-third of a unit.

Know Your Waste

The volume of the waste pipe coming from the kitchen sink is based on the size of your garbage disposal. If you don’t have a disposal, use this formula to determine how big your drain line should be: Multiply the length by the width by 2/3 Depth x number of units + 1/3 Width of Trench.

Know Your Trap

A trap is essentially a bend in the pipe that creates a downward slope, preventing sewer gasses from being released into the room by creating an airtight seal. Drain traps are made of either metal or plastic, and most have a cleanout plug so you can remove blockages. The best place to put a surprise is directly below the floor drain or fixture it serves. You can also place a trap on the main stack (the horizontal pipe coming from the home’s sewer line), which may require you to notch out part of your foundation to fit the large fitting.

Know Your Vent

Each fixture, sink and shower need at least one vent that allows air to flow into the drain line. Without it, wastewater won’t wash out of your home properly. The venting procedure is different for every type of plumbing; learn the specifics according to the fixtures in your house at a hardware store or online.

Know Your Water

There are two parts to water supply-the incoming water supply and the water distribution system. Your local municipality regulates the incoming water supply if you’re hooked up to city services. If you have a private well, know how far it is from your house and whether that distance requires pressure-reducing valves on the line. Without them, liquid can build up in pipes with nowhere to go, which can cause your water pressure to surge. In some cases, you may require a backflow preventer on the good line to keep contaminants from entering.

Know Your Heating

Water heating consumes more energy than any other appliance in the home and accounts for about 20 percent of a household’s utility bill. The single best thing you can do to improve the efficiency of your water heater is to use an insulating blanket, which will reduce heat loss by 50 percent. Keep it in good working order-a dirty filter or buildup on the bottom can reduce its efficiency by as much as 40 percent. It would help if you also kept the temperature at 50 degrees Celsius.