What are the Common Types of Plumbing Pipes?

Types of Piping (image credit: OrbCom.co

I’m pretty sure you’re one of those millions of homeowners who are clueless as to what type of plumbing pipes you have at home. But the thing is it actually makes a lot of sense if you know because it’ll help you fix plumbing issues later on. Having to know the kind of pipes at home also means that it’ll be easier and more convenient when it comes to asking a plumber’s advice in doing repairs.

Generally, plumbing pipes are classified into two, metal and plastic. But there are actually so many varieties of metal and plastic pipes.

EnlightenMe is a website that gives all sorts of information you need and I did find a very information post about the types of plumbing pipes traditionally used at home. I’m specifically interested on the article’s description of the different types of metal pipes.

Copper: This type of pipe has been used since the early 1960s and is very reliable but expensive. Copper pipes are highly resistant to corrosion, tolerant of heat, and not prone to leaks, since the connections are soldered and fittings stay tight. Copper pipe comes in three sizes: M (very thin walls), L (medium thickness), and K (thickest walls). Types M and L are usually used for interior hot and cold supply lines, while Type K serves for underground service lines. Copper pipe’s biggest drawback is high price, which is why copper is gradually being replaced by more economical plastic pipe types.
Galvanized Steel: These gray metal pipes are what most of us think of when we think of plumbing. They were used extensively in home plumbing in the 1960s, particularly outdoors. They were often buried and used as supply lines. Galvanized steel is only slightly resistant to corrosion and rust, and has a life expectancy of about forty years. They are usually replaced with copper or, more often, PEX and HDPE pipe in home plumbing. See also: What Is Galvanized Pipe?
Stainless Steel: Not seen as often in household use, stainless steel pipes are strong and highly resistant to corrosion but even more expensive than copper pipes. They’re most often used in marine environments where saltwater would erode other metal pipes.
Cast Iron: This type of pipe was frequently used in the past for drainage. It’s very durable but difficult to work with because of its weight. If you need to replace broken cast iron pipe, PVC is a good choice because it joins well with cast iron.

Read more: http://enlightenme.com/types-of-plumbing-pipes/

I think that copper is the most ideal choice of the four if you’re considering longevity. It is a top choice even in commercial and industrial settings because it has a long and proven track record. In fact, copper piping has been used for more than 80 years and it hasn’t been surpassed in performance by any other metal pipe variety.

Now how about plastic pipes for plumbing? I found this great video that explains three basic and widely used plastic pipes for plumbing. Figure out if any of these are found in your home.

You might be wondering – why do many homes prefer the plastic pipe instead of the more durable and long lasting metal variety? That’s because the use of modern technology in making these pipes actually has been very sophisticated nowadays that plastic is no longer seen the same way it was before. To give you a much better explanation of the “pros” of plastic pipes, I’m going to share this content I read from this website. The title of the post is “Your Plumbing System: A Guide to Plastic Pipe and Fittings,” but I’m actually more interested in a particular section of the article that reads:

Pros: How plastic pipes outperform metal pipes

Corrosion resistant — A plastic plumbing system pipe isn’t easily corroded by exposure to water and common household chemicals. Plastic formulas can be adjusted to allow them to stand up to the demands of various residential plumbing needs, including water supply and drainage.
Low heat conductivity — Unlike metal, plastic doesn’t conduct heat well so it’s better able to maintain the temperature of the water it carries. While copper pipes require insulation to prevent sweating and dripping, PVC pipes stay dry even with no insulation. That’s especially helpful with condensate drains for air conditioners, boilers and other appliances.
Non-reactive — Connecting dissimilar metals, such as copper and iron, can cause corrosion. Plastic pipes can be connected with each other or with metal pipes without the risk of damaging chemical reactions.
Easier installation — Because plastic pipes are light and easy to handle, plumbing jobs done with these pipes nearly always cost less than those that involve metal pipes.
Fewer blockages — Some plumbers find plastic drainpipes are less likely to clog than metal ones and are easier to unclog when they do.

All those reasons really count when someone is still in the process of building a home. But if you already have an existing plumbing at home that uses metal pipes, it’s just too impractical to replace them with plastic if you are not experiencing any major issues or problems with them. In the end, both metal and plastic have their pros and cons, but what really matters most is how you take care of your pipes so that they’ll be able to perform what they’re designed to do.

Plumbing Mistakes You Should Avoid

Plumbing is a unique system in your home. It is one of the few wherein you can easily handle problems on your own without the need of calling a pro. However, there are those fixes and repairs you thought you knew how to handle but eventually realize you’ve done more damage in the process. Sometimes, these mistakes you make can lead to additional costs that you wanted to avoid in the first place. So when you’re planning on DIY plumbing fixes, be sure to avoid the mistakes we’ll be talking about right now.

The first thing we need to tackle is the use of a drain cleaner. For most homeowners, and probably including you, whenever something is clogged, the answer is and will always be the drain cleaner. But then again, that’s not always the case. It is called a drain cleaner for good reason.

I searched through various websites to find out how people are improperly using those commercial drain cleaners and luckily I found this article titled “How to Avoid 6 Common Plumbing Mistakes” from Angie’s List. The mistakes listed in the post are kind of very informative. However, I’m particularly interested about those drain cleaners. Here’s what the writer had to say about using these products:

Using too much drain cleaner

While commercial drain cleaners are great at clearing away clogs and getting rid of built-up residue, using too much or using these products too often can damage your drains. Drain cleaners typically include harsh chemicals to break up solid waste and scour pipes clean; overuse can start to eat away the walls of both metal and PVC pipes.

Instead of using a heavy-duty product, consider an eco-friendly alternative such as 1/2 a cup of vinegar followed by 1/2 a cup of baking soda (be ready for foam), and then follow that up with a pot of boiling water after an hour. You can also try using a pipe snake to clear out clogs and reduce the wear and tear on your pipes.

Using drain cleaner in the wrong places

Homeowners also need to be careful where they use drain cleaners, even if they rarely try commercial solutions. While most commercial drain cleaning products are safe to use on bathroom and kitchen sinks as well as tubs and showers, toilets can be damaged if you use the wrong type of cleaner.

You also need to be careful when cleaning a washing machine drain pipe; if you damage the pipe and cause a leak, it can result in serious water damage to your home.

To avoid these problems with drain cleaners, make sure to carefully read all labels before use.

Be aware of the other common plumbing mistakes from the same article by clicking here.

My principle is that whenever possible, I only use stuff that is found at home like vinegar, baking soda, and even lemon juice for drain cleaning. I suggest that you only use commercial drain cleaners if all other remedies have been exhausted.

Next up, let’s talk about those mistakes many of us commit that will eventually lead to calling a professional plumber to make a rescue or emergency repair.

Take a look at the image below and tell me what you see…

Image credit: The Fun Times Guide

A lot of us have this bad habit of making the sink/garbage disposal function like a trash compactor. I even read one article wherein this guy put nails and bolts in there. That’s crazy!

The thing is not all kinds of garbage can be put into the disposals. You never want to reach a point when the blades of your disposal will no longer turn because it is overworked. Do not put those potato peels, pineapple skin, and pumpkin carvings in there because more often than not, you’re going to call a plumber to have them removed.

Finally, here are more plumbing mistakes you need to know for you to avoid them, courtesy of BestPlumbers.com:

Flushing garbage down the toilet. Quite often, homeowners treat their toilets like garbage cans. They flush products like cotton balls, facial scrubs, cotton swabs, paper towels and hygiene products. Toilets are only designed to flush human waste, if you flush other foreign objects it can quickly lead to a clog.

Leaving hair in shower drain traps. Most showers have drain traps that are used to catch soap scum and hair that would otherwise build up in the drains and lead to clogs. Neglecting to clean the traps is a huge mistake. You will get standing water in the shower, the water will not drain properly, and this will ultimately lead to a future clog in your drain.

Putting excess weight on fixtures. If you choose to put shower caddies or other hanging objects on your showerheads or handles, be careful how much weight you put on them. Putting excess weight on your plumbing fixtures will damage them. It’s best to avoid putting any weight on them altogether.

Pouring grease down drains. Grease will solidify in your pipes and traps. This will quickly lead to severe clogs. You can easily avoid this mistake by disposing of your grease and fats in a jar, and throw it out in the garbage. In colder climates, people put this out for the birds to feast on.

But there really is no costlier mistake in plumbing than ignoring small and minor leaks. Many homeowners and even you have experienced ignoring a small leak in the bathroom or the kitchen and suddenly realize you no longer can contain it. By addressing even the smallest leaks you’ll be able to avoid bigger expenses later on.

How Do You Fix a Broken Water Pipe at Home?

There exists different kinds of plumbing leaks that you as a homeowner will have to deal with without warning. Some of those leaks are serious enough to flood your home and destroy your property while others are just too minor for you to give them attention. But the problem is that the smallest leaks will eventually result to bigger ones.

Your response usually depends on what type of leak you’re dealing with. So if it’s found in the joint, you simply tighten it. If it comes from a pipe, you just have to get rid of that section where the leak is and replace it. But the problem is that it’s not as easy as it seems. In this post, let’s talk about how you should fix a broken water pipe at home.

Let’s start by looking at these temporary steps courtesy of Homeowner Net:

  1. Turn off the water supply to the pipe.
  2. You can purchase a patch kit for fixing leaking water pipes from most hardware stores. It consists of a rubber pad that you place over the damaged part of the pipe and fix in place by metal plates that you screw tightly around the rubber.
  3. You can also use a piece of garden hose or other thick rubber material, fastened tightly with C-clamps or hose clamps in a similar way.
  4. Waterproof tape wrapped around the damaged area can make an effective temporary fix. If there is a large enough hole in the pipe, plug it with something such as a pencil then wrap it around with tape.
  5. You can use epoxy putty to seal up a hole or crack in a water pipe. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix and apply the putty. Make sure you dry the surface well before applying the putty, and leave it long enough to dry before allowing water to flow through the pipe again.
  6. You can also use a compound stick, available at most hardware stores, to repair very small leaks.

Source: http://www.homeownernet.com/plumbing-how-to/leaking-water-pipe.html

What you see above is a bunch of tips you can use for temporary repair of a broken or leaking water pipe. But in majority of instances, you will have to address the problem with a long term or permanent solution. This is where you need to either do it yourself (provided you know how to) or call a professional plumber to do it for you.

I found another great article about doing permanent fixes on your own. The article,  titled “Quick Fixes for Leaky Pipes” from DoItYourself.com, suggests two easy, DIY style repairs.

Install a pipe clamp specifically designed to fix leaking pipes. These clamps have a rubber gasket attached permanently inside the clamp, which itself is designed to fit around the leaky pipe. Simply place the clamp over the hole and tighten the integral screws, holding it in place and making a permanent seal. Pipe clamps are available at home stores.

Another alternative is to use flexible/braided metal tube with compression couples on each end to provide a permanent fix. A significant advantage of this repair is it will allow you to not only fix a small pinhole leak, but it can be used to fix a longer split pipe. Because the repair tubes are flexible and will bend, they can even be used to repair a leak in a pipe elbow. The metal tubes are available in number of lengths so you should be able to fix your pipe wherever it’s holed.

To install the braided metal tube, you’re going to have to cut out the damaged section of pipe, so be sure to drain all the water out of your pipes. Next, center the repair coupling against the damaged section of pipe and mark the water pipe one-inch in from each end of the coupling. Cut out the damaged pipe at the marks, slide the compression couplings onto each end of the water pipe, and attach the repair coupling. Tighten the compression fittings and turn the water back on to check for leaks.

So those are the two ways to deal with a broken pipe at home. With temporary fixes, most homeowners choose them with the objective of calling in an expert plumber later on to finally have it permanently fixed. With permanent fixes, you can avoid calling the plumber and instead solve the problem on your own. But then again, you need to be perfectly sure you know what you’re doing.

image credit: TuftAide.com

Plumbing Services Tips : Fix a Leaking Shower

Can I Fix a Leaking Shower?

If you are tired of walking into the bathroom and seeing that dreadful puddle of water beneath the shower then this is the article for you. At some point it just gets too irritating, because it runs up your water bill and it’s always slippery. Do you want to know if you can fix leaking shower yourself? The answer is yes and this article will tell you how to do it. If the answer is no, then it is time to get professional plumbing services from a qualified plumber near you.

Finding The Problem

The leaking shower can have two distinct problem areas, namely the faucet or the cartridge inside the handle. The first one you should attempt to replace is the cartridge and if that doesn’t work then you should try the faucet. If none of this works then take your spouse’s advice and call a guy.

Replacing The Cartridge

professional plumbing services changing out a shower valve First things first, before you ever start working with any of your water pipes turn off the water at the main water valve. If you forget this step then you are going to have a much bigger problem than just a few drops of constantly dripping water.

Make sure the handle of the shower is turned all the way to the “shut” side, then remove the cap of the handle with a pocket knife. Behind the cap you should see a singular screw, which you have to unscrew in order to remove the handle. If you are having problems then visit your hardware store and buy a handle puller.

Now you need to remove the cartridge, which looks like a large ring. You are going to need a cartridge puller for this. After you have removed the cartridge try to find one that looks exactly the same. Your best option is to speak to people that work at a hardware store.

All that remains is to place the new cartridge into the space where you removed the old one, replace the handle and secure it. If the shower is still leaking then try the following step.

Replacing The Faucet

In order to get to the faucet you are going to need to remove the handle again, but instead of just pulling out the cartridge, you are going to have to unscrew the flat ring against the wall that holds everything in place. You can do this with pliers or a wrench.

When you remove the faucet you will notice a rubber gasket at the back. Take that rubber gasket and find one that looks exactly the same. Replace the old one and put every back to the way it was. Remember to keep the handle of the shower “shut” throughout the whole process.


Not everyone is a handyman and there might be one or two people out there who simply can’t manage to replace a faucet or cartridge by themselves. If this is the case then simply call a professional to come and take a look. These types of repairs are quick and shouldn’t cost too much if you are using a good company. But if you want to fix leaking shower then these tips should help you achieve that goal.

Shower Installation Advice

Easy To Follow Shower Installation Advice

While home renovations such as installing a new shower are often seen as a daunting task, it does not have to be a stressful or even bank account destroying process. With some planning and research, it can actually be done without even consulting expensive contractors or home designers. With all of the DIY spirit you can possibly muster, start imagining your dream shower right now and know that you can absolutely achieve it with a little bit of elbow grease. If you would like to know how, continue on and we’ll get into some easy to follow shower installation advice.

The first step in installing a shower is to get all of the important measurements out of the way. This is the hair pulling boring stuff, but it is a necessity if you are ever to get this thing off of the ground and accomplished the right way. You need to go to the area you hope to install the shower with some tape measure and make sure you know the height from the ceiling to the floor, the depth you want, and how much room you have to work with from wall to wall.

Typical building codes state that shower floors need to be at least 30 by 30 inches, so keep that in mind. The ceiling height should be at least 80 inches, and have some room for anyone that might be tall. You also want to make sure that you have around 18 inches or more between the side of the shower and the toilet in the room if there is one. You would be shocked at how many injuries there are of people that fall out of the shower and get wedged beside the toilet! If you are working with a shower door, make sure to account for the distance it has to swing open in the room to avoid any obstructions.

The next step is to think of what you want. There are easy to install kits that are low cost that are perfect for the beginner, DIY homeowner. They won’t be as personalized, but they will be functional. If you do have more time and money on your hands, then you can get more creative. Choices range from curbless shower stalls to tiled glass enclosures and several varieties in between. Don’t be afraid to grab some pamphlets from your local tile shop and dream away.

These are just some of the basic shower installation advice tips, but they will be more than enough to get you started. Once you know how much space you have and what sort of shower you want, you can start talking to the people at tile, hardware, and plumbing suppliers to get a sense of what will work for you. You don’t have to spend any money to simply get advice, so feel free to ask around. In time, you will ultimately be able to relax in your very own dream shower, built from the ground up!

10 Important Plumbing Tips

10 Important Plumbing Tips For Anyone Who Loves Their Apartment

Millions of renters call an apartment home, yet even though they are not technically owners, still must do a lot to keep the plumbing in good working order. Here are 10 helpful plumbing tips to keep the pipes in your apartment healthy and functional.

1. Get to know your super and landlord. The superintendent may be able to help you avoid calling a plumber in the first place, either by advising you on what to do or taking care of the problem for you. If you’re going to have to hire a plumber, chances are good the landlord will be able to recommend a good professional for the job.

2. Be careful what you put down the disposal. Too many coffee grounds can create problems in the pipes, as will anything comprised of starch, such as potato peels or bread. Large chunks of anything, in fact, will likely cause a blockage somewhere down the line.

3. Don’t be too bargain-minded with fixtures. When renovating or upgrading your bathroom or kitchen, consider the investment wisely. If you purchase cheap fixtures, they’re probably going to corrode faster than something of higher quality, and that may open the door to leaks. No list of plumbing tips would be complete without a recommendation to put quality first, because ultimately, you get what you pay for.

4. Know the plumbing layout. It’s always a good idea to know where the sewage access areas are, just in case. Ask the owner of the building or maintenance specialist where the clean-out cap is. This is the pipe that directly connects to the sewer and is used for cleaning and draining. This information may be needed by any plumber you hire.

5. Think copper when replacing pipes. Although plastic is much cheaper, copper simply out performs, particularly if you plan on occupying the apartment for a long time. You will have much less to worry about for the long-term regarding rust and corrosion if you opt for copper.

6. Never remodel the bathroom from the outside in. When replacing anything attached to valves, you’ll need to work from the opposite side of the wall from which the fixtures are located. For example, don’t expect to be able to work on the tub faucet from inside the tub; begin on the other side.

7. Get into live enzymes. Plumbing products which feature live enzymes in them are going to do a lot of work to keep your pipes in peak condition. Your sewage lines won’t be as susceptible to the backups that can be caused by grease, hair and other things.

8. Take care of outside pipes before winter. If you have a garden hose or any faucet located on the outside of the building, remove attachments. Taking the hose in for the season will allow the faucet to drain, thus preventing a major freeze-up with draining water.

9. Pop a drain catcher in every sink you use regularly. These handy, easy to install and relatively inexpensive items will protect your plumbing from one of the most common problems, which is hair going down the drain. Spiff them up as needed by emptying the contents in the trash can and using a disinfectant, and you’re not going to have clogged pipes nearly as often as if you left the drain to fend for itself.

10. Know where all emergency shut-off valves are located. Don’t just know where to find them, but make sure they are all in good working order. If the valves haven’t been turned in a while, they may need a little oil and a lot of elbow grease. No matter what, you must have quick and easy access to them in a water emergency.

Keep these 10 plumbing tips in mind, because even though you rent, the plumbing is still yours to live with, no matter what.

24 Hour Emergency Plumber

Choosing A 24 Hour Emergency Plumber

A plumbing emergency can be a nerve wracking event most of the time. Imagine a situation where you wake up in the middle of the night to find a foot of standing water in your basement. No matter how a plumbing emergency happens, it is always going to create some panic in the homeowner. In fact, it is very difficult to find a homeowner who had not faced a plumbing emergency during their entire lifetime. A plumbing emergency should always be handled by a 24 hour emergency plumber. This article highlights some of the most important tips in choosing a 24 hour emergency plumber.
Asking for recommendations from your friends and neighbors is the best way to find a 24-hour emergency plumber. This way you are able to find a reliable and trustworthy plumber in your town. Your colleagues or neighbors will not hesitate to help you out if they have experience in hiring a reputed plumber. The Yellow Pages classified ads will also provide important information about reputable plumbing services in town. The next best place to look for is the internet. The internet had hundreds of plumbers listed in particular towns in the U.S.
Whenever you locate a reliable 24-hour plumber in your town, make sure you save his contact details. This may be important when you face an actual plumbing emergency. One reason for this is when you have a burst pipe or a similar catastrophe at two in the morning, you will not be able to phone around for references. This means you take a big risk in allowing any plumbing company to come through your door at that time.
The plumber you choose should offer quality customer service from the time you phone them until the job is completed. Look for a professional plumber with enough experience in working on numerous emergency plumbing projects. Check whether the plumber is a member of the local or national professional association. This way you are able to use the services of the 24-hour plumber with complete confidence.
The plumber you choose should have a valid licence and insurance coverage to handle the project. Each state in the U.S. has its own requirements in plumbers acquiring licenses. The insurance coverage is also extremely important. It should be valid until the project is over. If not, you are liable to pay for damages to the property as well as the life of the technician if anything untoward happens during the project.
Check for customer reviews and testimonials when you decide to choose a particular plumbing technician for the project. It will help you clear any doubts about the services offered by the plumbing technician. Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website for unresolved complaints against the potential plumbing service you decide to choose. This way you are able to choose a reliable and trustworthy 24-hour plumbing technician in your town.
The aforementioned are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a 24-hour emergency plumber.

Choose A Good Plumber

How To Choose A Good Plumber Do you need plumbing installation? Do you need your plumbing maintained properly? Or are you looking for an emergency plumber to repair any plumbing emergency in your house? Whatever the reason, you definitely need the services of an exceptional plumber. If you do a simple targeted search on the internet or ask for referrals to a good plumber, you’re likely to get a list of many names. Without an idea on which plumber to hire, you will end up making a terrible hiring decision. On that note, here are a few things you should know on how to choose a good plumber. Licensing And Certification Plumbers have to go through trade school and apprenticeship before they can start their own plumbing service. Therefore, you should check whether a specific plumber is certified and properly licensed to handle any plumbing projects. Since most plumbers have websites, you can simply check for these accreditations online. If this doesn’t suffice, you could always contact the plumber and ask for proof of licensing and certification. Experience Although it might seem simple, plumbing is the type of job that requires experience. Plumbers who have been servicing a specific neighborhood for many years are more trustworthy than the newcomers in the industry. Even better, during the time they have been operational, they have acquired the technical expertise to handle any plumbing jobs regardless of how touch or complicated they might be. Therefore, before hiring a specific plumber, you should inquire about his/her level of experience. Reputation Over the years that a specific plumber has been in business, it’s likely that he/she has gathered a large client base which boosts his/her reputability scores in a specific neighborhood. Clients are more likely to lean toward a more reputable plumber because he/she handles all the jobs satisfactorily. It might not be easy to identify the reputability of a specific plumber on your own. However, through reading reviews and testimonials from former clients, you can assess whether a specific plumber is reputable or not. Cost Any plumbing job whether installation, maintenance or emergency can be costly depending on the type of services being provided. There are some set prices of plumbing jobs in specific neighborhoods and most plumbers will adhere to these. However, if you’re new to a specific place and are looking to hire a plumber, it’s important to create a budget first. Next, you can ask for price estimates from various plumbers. Make sure the price estimates are completely detailed with the types of services offered against the overall charge. This definitely eliminates the chances for any hidden costs or prices cropping up during and after the project. With the price estimate and your budget in hand, you should be able to compare and contrast and choose which services to pay for. Professionalism Remember that plumbers work in your residential or commercial property. Therefore, during the duration of the plumbing project, the plumber should hold himself/herself to the highest levels of professionalism. He/she should be very ethical and courteous to make sure the job goes smoothly. Hopefully, with these few tips on how to choose a good plumber, you will find the best one for your upcoming project.