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Plumbing refers to the pipes installed in commercial and residential buildings. It also refers to the act of fixing, maintaining or replacing these pipes. Plumbers are those brave folk who will get down and dirty with your pipes in order to make sure your gas and water systems are fully functional.

Plumbing in homes covers sinks, baths, showers, toilets and drains. Appliances such as dishwashers are also connected to the plumbing system in your home. Thus, as you can see, plumbing is an important aspect of any home. Sometimes we forget how big a role water plays in our day to day lives. Without a properly operating water system, we would not be able to perform many of the basic functions that we tend to take for granted. We would not be able to clean ourselves, pour water or flush the toilet.

The problem with plumbing is that does not last forever in pristine condition. Pipes can get clogged. Faucets can start to leak. Water heaters can break down. In winter, the last thing you want is a broken water heater. Having a cold shower on a cold day is not exactly a pleasant experience. This is why the plumbing industry is a very healthy one. We will always need plumbers to help us with our plumbing woes.

How to Prevent Future Plumbing Problems

According to Dallas plumbers, who are among the most experienced in the field of plumbing due to the nature of the plumbing in the Metro area, very tricky soil that moves during the year, expands when it rains and shrinks when in the dry season, stressing the whole house and the plumbing pipes. Also the chemical composition of the water does not help the north Texas plumbing, very loaded with minerals that eventually clog the pipes.

There are simple and easy ways to extend the life of your pipes and other plumbing fixtures. Some of these prevention methods are performed by a qualified plumber, but many of them are steps that you can implement yourself. Taking preventative steps now will lessen plumbing emergencies and help to maintain the healthy water flow in your pipes. But first, you need to understand how your pipes function, know the cause of your plumbing problems and become aware of any plumbing peculiarities unique to your location.

1. Slab leak repair - Slab leaks are commonly caused by holes or cracks in the pipe, loose pipe connections and ruptured pipes. It is discovered only when the damage results in enough water leaking and rising up the cracks to create puddles of water on the ground.

One common cause of leaks and cracks in pipes can be due to the chemical composition of water and its effects on copper. When water flows incessantly through a copper pipe, chemicals in the water react with the copper and weaken the pipe over time. If the water pressure is too high, such as when the diameter of the pipe is too small, this shortens the time period it would normally take for water to corrode the copper pipe.

Another cause for ruptured pipes can be due to foundation shifting. This usually happens as a result of ground moisture. The moisture causes the soil to expand and contract, moving the foundation and the pipes contained within it. This pulls the pipes apart over time and results in leaks. Loose pipe connections due to poor craftsmanship of the pipe or improper installation can also be the culprit.

To prevent all these problems, experienced Dallas Plumbers recommend an application of epoxy inside the pipe. Epoxy is like water proof glue. When hardened, the epoxy turns into a compact solid state. Two objects that are bound by epoxy are bound permanently. Epoxy is so strong that even while underwater the substance can harden and bind objects or seal up holes. Due to the properties of this strong adhesive, it is most often applied to holes and cracks to stop water leaks. Using it on pipes for protection and additional strength is even better. With an epoxy lined copper pipe, the epoxy serves as a protective covering that prevents water from direct contact with the copper thus preventing corrosion. It adds to the durability of the pipe by reinforcing the inner base.

2. Toilet clogs and leaks - The toilet bowl itself is a strong bathroom fixture and is difficult to break under normal conditions of use. So toilet problems would rarely require entire toilet replacement. Internal parts within the tank that get worn out can be bought separately. Though toilet clogs can be easily managed by plumbers, it is sometimes embarrassing to have it done. You also are at the mercy of waiting until the plumber is available to come and fix your problem. Even if you live in an apartment, you still have the same embarrassment to contend with and you still have to wait for the maintenance man to arrive. Meanwhile, it can be very inconvenient to have an inoperative bathroom. So prevention is always the best choice. You can start by keeping the toilet clean. Do not flush hard, solid objects down the toilet. Also, do not flush sanitary napkins, paper towels, Kleenex tissues, cat litter, or anything else other than toilet paper.

3. Kitchen sink clogs - Food, grease, and soap can accumulate and clog the pipes of your sink. This will grow eventually into a bigger problem if not addressed immediately. To prevent gunk from accumulating in the pipes, use strainers over the drain to catch food particles and prevent them from going down with the water. Also, it is important never to pour grease down your drain. Use an empty coffee can to pour your grease into, and then dispose of the can when it becomes full. Grease that is poured down the drain turns into a thick solid of fat that will line your pipes. Over time this will become a clog. From time to time, pour boiling hot water mixed with vinegar down your sink drain to flush it out, wash away grease build up and loosen stuck particles and clumps.

4. Burst Pipes - It can be difficult to identify ahead of time when your pipes are having problems because they're completely hidden. Often times you are unaware of a problem until the pipe has burst and water is leaking. To get ahead of this dilemma, it helps to pay attention to any unusual sounds your pipes may be producing such as growling, whistling, rattling, and screeching. Any of these would indicate that your pipes need to be examined by a plumber ASAP. Also, any changes in the water flow or water pressure from your faucets can be due to a damaged pipe. Do not wait to call a professional. Any delays can result in much greater problems and costly repairs.

How Slab Leaks Occur Under Concrete Foundations

Q: Since we have been on higher water pressure from a new source, we are getting more noise in the pipes. Not banging or clunking, just more water moving through the system faster, kind of a "rushing" noise. The pipe into the house is plastic, then hooks into copper pipe. The noise reverberates down the whole line, and since the pipe is strapped to the floor joists, it makes the noise under the kitchen, bathroom and one bedroom. I know about having a foot or so of capped pipe going up from a line to trap air and cushion the noise of "on" and "off" clunking, but this has me stumped. I am at the point now where I am about ready to rip the strapping off and putting foam around the pipes before I strap them back up. Before I spend the money on this, I thought I would check with you to see if that is what I need to do, or can you suggest something else? Thanks very much.

A: A reduction of 1.5:1 (typically 3/4" to 1/2" is commonly used to increase or maintain water pressure throughout a house. The theory is that, given constant supply pressure, restricting volume will increase velocity. Released pressure at a fixture will be compensated for by this increased velocity.

I expect your hot and cold supply pipes are 1/2 inch diameter. What diameter is the plastic feed? If the reduction is greater than 1.5:1 it's quite likely that the velocity is great enough to cause noise in the pipe.

Check that all the shut-off valves (below the sinks etc.) are completely open. They too, can cause turbulence/noise by restricting water flow. Also, check all the pipes to see if there are any crushed or dented sections.

Foam wrap is a great for insulating purposes, but perhaps a little too soft for noise damping (it would crush flat). By all means, wrap the pipes, but use denser rubber for vibration pads. Extra bracing (for clamping to) might also help.

Alternative: Before you start pulling out nails, check the water velocity at your fixtures, and if it is extremely high, a pressure reducing valve can be installed on the supply line.