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3 Things Everyone Should Know About Plumbing

March 23, 2022


It's easy to take plumbing for granted. When it’s working well, we hardly think about it! But when plumbing's not working well, it can mean anything from a minor annoyance to a property nightmare.  Plumbers are our best friend when we need them, but they can be costly, time consuming, and even difficult to find last minute. 

At Mavyn, we have plumbers available to help you diagnose or fix a plumbing issues on demand. Speak with a live, certified plumber by submitting a ticket.

You can prevent  an annoyance from becoming a nightmare, just by knowing a few basic skills. The more we know about our homes, the better able we are to care for them in a way that saves us time and money.  This way we’re prepared to stop a problem before it gets out of hand. 

3 Things Everyone Should Know About Plumbing


1. Water Supply vs Drain System Pipes

Water supply pipes are typically made from copper or PEX ((plumbing-grade flexible plastic).  Copper or PEX pipes typically take the water from the water main to the faucets throughout the house. Think of it as the supply line. Copper pipes can handle high pressure and cold or hot water. They are typically smaller in diameter than the drains, often ¾ of an inch (1.9 cm) in diameter.  While leaking water from any pipe is not good, a leak from a copper or PEX supply line should be addressed immediately in most situations. Drain systems are typically white or black hard plastic, and range in size from 1 ½ to 3 inches (3.8-7.6 cm), or sometimes larger. 

2. Main Water Shut Off Location

This is very important, because if all else fails, knowing where to turn off the house water supply is vital to minimizing damage and other issues. The catch is that every house is different! The main water shut off is where the water supply comes in from the main supply owned by the city. Typically, the main water shut off is in the basement or a crawlspace. It can be on a basement wall or floor, and is often poorly marked or, in some cases, not marked at all. It will typically be a round handle, or a lever-type of handle. Unfortunately, they also often location behind access panels throughout the house (especially if there is no basement), in garages, and other areas. In older homes, it may be in the yard, or near the street, so the hunt can be challenging. The best place to look is on the ‘street-side’ of the house (the front typically), and work from there to identify where the main shut off might be. Once you’ve located the shut off, make a sign or label  MAIN WATER SHUTOFF, and inform everyone in the home of its location. 

Main shut off valve

3. How to Exercise Shut Off Valves

While each home has a main shut off valve, so does every  sink, toilet and some shower/baths have small shut off valves allowing you to turn water off or on in a specific location. This way, if a toilet or sink needs to be serviced, you don’t have to shut off water to the entire house. These small valves are usually attached directly to the toilet water connection, or under the sink. It’s advised to exercise these small valves once every 6-12 months. This reduces their tendency to freeze up, get sticky, or work incorrectly, saving you time and money in the long run. 

Hopefully with these handy tips, you can prepare your home for any plumbing issues. Feel free to download the Mavyn app, or connect virtually with a plumber today!