Plumbing Systems: Understanding The Pipes

Written by J & L Plumbing on . Posted in do it yourself plumbing, drains and pipes, plumbers virginia, plumbing, plumbing Alexandria, plumbing Arlington

What comes to mind when you hear the word “plumbing”? For most people, plumbing means their toilet, primarily, and maybe also their shower, sinks and dishwasher. In fact, however, there are many different types of plumbing systems, each responsible for a different kind of water and/or a gas inflow or outflow. If you are a homeowner, or even if you live in a rental and don’t want to have to deal with the landlord too often, it pays to educate yourself about the basics of plumbing systems. Having a base of knowledge allows you make simple fixes to plumbing problems that are easy to manage and to know when you need to call in a professional. Likewise, understanding plumbing systems means you won’t fall prey to a plumber who overcharges you or performs work that is not really necessary. Here is the info you need to know about plumbing systems so you can take charge of yours.

The first type of plumbing is your potable water supply plumbing. This is the plumbing that provides your tap water, the water in your toilet, the water that runs your dishwasher and washing machine – in fact, all of the running water in your home. The source of the water in this system of plumbing varies depending on where you live. Sometimes, potable water comes from wells and sometimes there is a regional water treatment facility that supplies homes with water. Either way, your potable water plumbing system is attached underground to the water source, and through this system of pipes, which go from underground to inside your walls, water is delivered to your home as needed. This is probably the most important type of plumbing in your home.

The second type of plumbing that you need to know about is the plumbing drainage venting system. Whereas the potable water supply plumbing brings water into your home, the plumbing drainage venting system takes waste away from your house. This system includes the outgoing pipes from your toilets, your drains in your sinks and shower and your garbage disposal. This plumbing feeds into the sewer system that is maintained by your city, or in some cases, into a septic system. Back ups of these pipes are common problems faced by homeowners, and they often require professional repair jobs.

The third type of plumbing a homeowner might have to deal with is plumbing that handles rainwater run-off and surface water drainage. Not all homeowners have these systems – it depends on the climate and the land the house is on. Clogs in these systems are relatively easy to fix and can usually be done without calling in help.

There are other types of plumbing, such as those systems associated with water fountains, but they don’t have much importance to homeowners. Knowing these three systems will help you make informed decisions about your home.

Call J&L Plumbing 4 U today to assist with all your plumbing needs. In Virginia: (571) 641-9653 In Maryland: (301) 204- 2555  In the DC area (301) 204-2555.

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Most Important Plumbing Regulations You May Not Know

Written by J & L Plumbing on . Posted in do it yourself plumbing, plumbing, plumbing Alexandria, plumbing Arlington, plumbing Fairfax, plumbing Montgomery, Plumbing VA

When most people think of plumbing, they think of the pipes underneath their sinks, the sink drains, and the toilet.  However, plumbing encompasses much more than just the things you see everyday – including waste drainage and water safety issues – and there are therefore some very strict government guidelines when it comes to the installation and repair of plumbing systems.  Here are some of the most important plumbing regulations you may not know:

Board of Health approval – Any plumbing plan that is installed to deliver or drain water – in any commercial or residential property – must be approved by the State Board of Health.  All plans and specification for the plumbing job must be submitted to the board for prior approval before the work begins, and these plans will stay on file with the Board of Health.  Additionally, no plumbing work may be covered or concealed until it has been signed off on by a Board of Health official as meeting necessary standards and falling in line with the submitted plans and specifications.

Registration and licensing –  No plumber can do plumbing work, or even advertise plumbing services or materials, without first being properly registered and licensed by the Board of Health.  Registration requires the submission of a verified and approved business name and place of business.  If a plumber changes business names or addresses, it is necessary to acquire new licensing and registration with the updated information before working or advertising plumbing services.

Sewer or drain connection – Any and all plumbing in both residential and commercial buildings absolutely must be separately connected, from the outside, to a public sewer or drainage system (if provided).  In the case that there is no public sewage system to connect to, the plumbing system must be separately and independently connected to a private drainage and sewage system that is laid fully outside of the building premises.  If a sewage system is not possible or accessible, then an appropriate purification system, irrigation system, or cesspool must be in place.  Additionally, several buildings may connect to the same sewage and drainage system, as long as the connections are separate.

Call J&L Plumbing 4 U today to assist with all your plumbing needs. In Virginia: (571) 641-9653 In Maryland: (301) 204- 2555  In the DC area (301) 204-2555.

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Septic System Maintenance – Take Care of your System before There is a Problem

Written by J & L Plumbing on . Posted in do it yourself plumbing, plumbing Alexandria, plumbing Arlington, plumbing Fairfax, plumbing Montgomery, septic systems VA

People have septic systems for all kinds of different reasons. For some people, they are a matter of necessity. If you live too far away from the sewage treatment plant, then a septic system is the solution. Other people prefer septic systems because these systems add nutrients to the soil naturally. All of the waste that is funneled into a septic system is separated and the nutrients and organic matter is slowly released into the soil of the so called “release field.” These nutrients help create some of the best soil going. Whatever the reason a home has a septic system, however, one thing holds true. If you do not maintain your system properly, you could face a huge repair bill. Failed septic systems can cause an extraordinary amount of damage to property, and a system failure definitely is not going to win you any friends with the neighbors, either. Here is what you need to know about septic system maintenance so you can avoid the problems and keep your costs down.

The first stage of septic system maintenance happens every day. You have to use the system properly in the first place to prevent any major disasters. One of the biggest things homeowners do wrong for a septic system is pouring used cooking oil down the drain. Doing this even one time can clog your septic system. You should always dispose of cooking oil in a container and put it in your trash. Cleaning products are another septic system buster. Bleach, antibacterial kitchen spray, window cleaner and so on – all of these products can wreck havoc on your septic system. It is unavoidable that some of these products will find their way down your drains, but do not pour bottles of the stuff down there. If you need to dispose of old cleaning fluids, simply toss the bottle with the liquid in it in your trash.

Make sure the toilet paper you choose says that it is compatible with septic systems – the chemicals in your septic system must be able to break down the paper or it will clog. If your toilet or drains clog inside your home, make sure any drain clearing products you choose are compatible with septic systems. Many are not, and the wrong product will eat through your pipes.

Using your system properly day in and day out is not enough. Every septic system needs to be professionally maintained as well. A maintenance crew needs to come out, clear your sludge and scum out of your tank and make sure the pipes and pumps associated with the system are in working order and not leaking.

With normal use, your septic system will need a professional cleaning every two years.

Call J&L Plumbing 4 U today to assist with all your plumbing needs. In Virginia: (571) 641-9653 In Maryland: (301) 204- 2555  In the DC area (301) 204-2555.

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How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Written by J & L Plumbing on . Posted in frozen pipes VA, frozen pipes Virginia, plumbing Alexandria, plumbing Arlington

Every winter, temperatures get below freezing and so far you have been lucky enough to not have frozen pipes. However, what if you went on a trip? Many homeowners don’t think about the possibility of frozen pipes and will totally shut off the heat to the house during their absence. They will also not think about the fact that any remaining water in the pipes could possibly freeze.

  If you do happen to forget to take precautions such as leaving the water tricking in the faucets and leaving your heat on, you can expect your pipes to freeze and then burst once they thaw, leaving a big flooding mess. Can you imagine dealing with flooding water, ruined drywall and carpeting during the coldest time of the year? Not only is it a pain, it is quite expensive too!

  Prevention is the Best Policy

  Why leave water trickling out of your faucet during freezing weather? The reason is water freezes at a lower temperature when it is moving, unlike still water. Consider this theory when you see lakes frozen in the winter while nearby rivers are flowing freely. If you keep a trickle of water flowing from your faucets during freezing temperatures, you will prevent your plumbing pipes from freezing.

  A reason why pipes may burst in the winter time is because people who go out of town will forget to leave the heater on, even if it is just on low. Rather, they turn it completely off. During freezing temperatures, it is possible for the inside of your home, ergo your pipes, to reach freezing temperatures as well. Even insulated homes cannot prevent pipes from freezing if the heat is turned off. The best recourse if you are leaving town with possible frozen temperatures coming is to set your thermostat on low, about 55 degrees. While your home will still be cold, it will be above freezing.

  You can insulate your pipes for additional protection against freezing. Indoors, you can insulate pipes you can see in your attic or basement using a special foam or wrap. Outdoors, any pipes exposed or vulnerable to the elements should definitely be wrapped with insulating foam. You could potentially save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs with this bit of preventative maintenance.

  For the ultimate protection, you can turn your water complete off to the house if you are going out of town during a freeze spell. Be sure though to run the water completely out of the pipes after the main water valve to the home is shut down to make sure no remaining water freezes within the pipes.

  Sometimes, despite all the precautions possible, a pipe may still freeze. You will know if this happens when it starts to leak after thawing out. Some pipes will leak slowly while others may burst from the pressure. At this point, the only thing you can do is turn the water off to the house and call a plumber. A professional is the best recourse in a situation like this.

  Call J&L Plumbing 4 U today to assist with all your plumbing needs. In Virginia: (571) 641-9653 In Maryland: (301) 204- 2555  In the DC area (301) 204-2555.

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