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4 Terms Associated with Plumbing That Every First-Time Homeowner Needs to Know

Buying a home can be an exciting experience, but it can also become overwhelming and stressful if you are not prepared for home ownership. Considering that the cost of repairing the damage of a water leak is one of the most common claims homeowners make, learning how to maintain your plumbing system is smart. If you are a new homeowner, make sure to educate yourself on these key plumbing terms to reduce your risk of expensive clogs, leaks, and severe water damage.


From baby wipes and cleansing wipes to wipes infused with bleach, there are many "flushable" wipes on the market. Unfortunately, most homeowners do not realize that these disposable, flushable wipes should not actually be flushed down the toilet.

The toilet and septic system are not capable of breaking down the material used to make these disposable wipes. Without their breaking down, the material can clog up your toilet. Over time, the constant flushing of these wipes can damage your septic system, backing up your entire sewage system.


If you live in a newer home, you may have heard the term "PEX pipes and fittings." PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene, may be less expensive than copper, but the material offers enormous benefits for you and your home.

The flexibility offered by PEX pipes requires fewer fittings when compared to rigid options, such as copper and PVC. The more fittings and elbows pipes require, the more risk they have of leakage. PVC is also resistant to breakage due to freezing temperatures. Lastly, PEX does not transfer heat like copper pipes, and that can help you and your home conserve energy.


While this is surprising for most first-time homeowners to learn, an estimated 10 percent of homes have leaks that can waste up to 90 gallons a day. If one or more of your sinks have a leaking faucet, the water waste can quickly add up. In most instances, a leaky faucet can be repaired by replacing or tightening the bonnet.

The bonnet may be an inexpensive and small part of your faucet, but it has a big job to do. This small nut connects the valve stem to the interior of your faucet handle and allows you to turn your faucet on and off in an effective manner.

If the bonnet nut becomes loose over time, and that is common, use a pair of pliers to tighten it. This will stop the leak almost immediately. However, if the leak continues, the threading on the bonnet nut may be worn down. Make sure to replace the worn nut with a new bonnet nut to prevent future leaks.


You should also become familiar with the ballcock, another common term associated with your home's plumbing.

A loose or damaged ballcock can cause your toilet water to run constantly and increase the amount of water your household wastes each day. In addition, most homeowners find the sound of a constantly running toilet annoying, so it is important to inspect and tighten the ballcock assembly.

Remove the lid of your tank and flush the toilet. Watch the ballcock, ensuring it covers the valve opening correctly after flushing. If the ballcock does not cover the valve opening, and water continues to run, you should tighten the ballcock assembly.

Locate the screw on the arm of the ballcock assembly and turn it counterclockwise until it stops. This will tighten the assembly. Flush the toilet to inspect the ballcock. If it does not cover the valve opening, you will most likely need to replace the assembly to stop the running water.

Moving into your first home does not have to be a frightening experience. With proper knowledge of your home's plumbing, you can avoid costly leaks and expensive repairs.