Visit Sarkinen Plumbing now if you are in need of plumbing services or if you are curious about the basics of plumbing. Plumbing is a crucial part of any modern building or household. It is responsible for providing clean water and removing waste efficiently. Plumbing systems are complex and can involve a network of pipes, valves, and fixtures. Understanding the basics of plumbing can help you identify problems early and prevent expensive repairs. In this article, we will discuss the basics of plumbing, including the types of pipes, fixtures, and tools used in plumbing.

Types of Pipes

Pipes are an essential part of any plumbing system. There are various types of pipes used in plumbing, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common types of pipes used in plumbing are:

  • PVC Pipes

These pipes are manufactured from a plastic material called polyvinyl chloride. They are easy to install, lightweight, and durable. PVC pipes are commonly used in residential plumbing for drainage, venting, and cold-water supply lines.

  • Copper Pipes

Copper pipes are used for hot and cold-water supply lines. They are durable, corrosion-resistant, and have a long lifespan. However, copper pipes can be expensive and require specialized tools and expertise for installation.

  • Galvanized Steel Pipes

Galvanized steel pipes are typically steel pipes coated with a layer of zinc to protect against corrosion. They are commonly used for water supply lines but can also be used for drainage and venting.


Plumbing fixtures are devices connected to the plumbing system to provide water and waste disposal. Some of the most common plumbing fixtures include:

  • Faucets – used to control the flow of water in the sink, bathtub, or shower. They come in various styles, sizes, and finishes.
  • Toilets – are used for waste disposal and are available in different types such as gravity flush, pressure-assisted, and dual-flush.
  • Sinks – used for handwashing, dishwashing, and other activities. They are available in various sizes and styles, such as under-mount, drop-in, and wall-mounted.

Plumbing Tools

Plumbing requires the use of specialized tools to install, repair, and maintain the system. Some of the most commonly used plumbing tools include:

  • Pipe Wrench – to tighten or loosen threaded pipes and fittings. They come in different sizes and have serrated jaws that grip the pipe securely.
  • Plungers – to clear clogs in toilets, sinks, and tubs. They work by creating suction to dislodge the blockage.
  • Pipe Cutters – used to cut pipes to the desired length. They come in different sizes and are designed to cut specific types of pipes.
  • Auger – also known as a plumbing snake, is used to clear clogs in drains and pipes. It consists of a flexible cable that is fed into the drain and rotated to break up and remove blockages.
  • Teflon tape – is used to seal threaded pipes and fittings. It is wrapped around the threads of a pipe or fitting to create a tight seal that prevents leaks.
  • Propane Torch – is used to solder copper pipes. It heats the joint to melt the solder, which then flows into the joint and creates a strong, watertight seal.
  • Hacksaw – to cut through pipes, screws, and bolts. It has a thin, flexible blade that can be easily replaced when it becomes dull.
  • Pipe Threader – used to create threaded ends on pipes. It is commonly used to create custom-length pipes for plumbing systems.


Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity and efficiency of plumbing systems. Some plumbing maintenance practices include:

  • Keep Drains Clear

Clogs in drains can cause backups, slow draining, and potential damage to your pipes. To keep your drains clear, avoid pouring grease, oil, and food particles down the drain. Use a drain strainer to catch hair and other debris, and clean your drains regularly.

  • Maintain Your Water Heater

Your water heater is an essential component of your plumbing system. To ensure it operates efficiently, drain it annually to remove sediment buildup, and check the temperature and pressure relief valve.

  • Test Your Water Pressure

High water pressure can damage your plumbing system, leading to leaks and potential bursts. Test your water pressure regularly, and if it is too high, you may  need to install a pressure-reducing valve. Consulting with sewer line replacement experts or plumbing professionals can help you accurately measure and regulate your water pressure, ensuring the optimal performance and longevity of your plumbing system.

Your plumbing system will also benefit from the following;

  • Regular cleaning of fixtures such as sinks and showers to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits and soap scum.
  • Periodic inspection of the plumbing system to identify problems such as leaks, corrosion, and clogs before they become major issues.
  • Winterization – protecting the plumbing system from freezing temperatures by draining the water from the pipes and insulating exposed pipes.

You cannot live without plumbing. So, it goes without saying that understanding the basics of plumbing can help you identify problems early and prevent expensive repairs.