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Jul 13 2019

Identifying The Random Plumbing Parts Around Your Home

Your plumbing is made up of an intricate network of pipes, valves, and fixtures. Some of which you can easily identify, other components of your plumbing system may leave you scratching your head. In an effort to inform you of the random plumbing parts around your home, we are going to define some of the not so obvious plumbing parts. This way in the event of a plumbing emergency, you will be more prepared to handle the situation.   

The Clean Out Plug

The first random plumbing part around your home that you may not be familiar with is the clean out plug. The clean out plug is a circular cap, about 4 inches in diameter that leads to your sewer drain. It is often located in the ground, floor, or on the main soil stack in the home. Larger homes, may have more than one. The clean out plug provides direct access to the sewer line and comes in handy when you are dealing with a serious clog that plunging and snaking will not clear. When dealing with a large clog, it is always best to hire a professional. There are several reasons why your drains might be clogged including buildup, broken pipes, or tree root damage. The only way to know for certain is with a video pipe inspection.  

The Air Gap

The air gap is another random plumbing part around your home that you may be wondering what it's purpose is. It is the round metal nub sticking out on your kitchen sink next to the faucet. The air gaps function is to allow ventilation for the plumbing connected to your dishwasher. It plays an important function in preventing backflow into your dishwasher. The dishwasher is connected to the garbage disposal, where it drains out. Without an air gap, contaminated water could travel back into your dishwasher. Sometimes the air gap gets clogged, in which case you will notice a lot of water spilling out of it when the dishwasher is draining. In this case the air gap needs to be cleaned. You can clean it by removing the cover and unscrewing the cap, then clean it out. Additionally, the hose underneath may also need to be cleaned.  

Water Shut Off

Knowing what your water shut off valve looks like is important in the event of a plumbing emergency. Every plumbing fixture and water using appliance in your home will have a water supply line with a valve to turn on and turn off the water. These are usually located behind the fixture. If you look behind your toilet or under the sink, you will see a handle, that is the water shut off. If you have an isolated issue, say with your toilet, you can turn off the supply to the toilet. However, if the problem isn’t isolated you will need to locate the main water shut off. This is usually located outside. You may have noticed a concrete box in your yard, this is usually where the water shut off is located. It could be in the yard or in the sidewalk.  


Another random plumbing part in your home that is really important is the p-trap located under your sink. It is a curved pipe attached to your sink’s drain that is in the shape of the letter p. It could also be referred to as the s-trap depending on the horizontal length of the pipe on the outflow side. What a p-trap does is it prevents sewer gas from creeping back up through your drain from the sewer, by allowing a barrier of water to rest in the trap. Sewer gas has a very unpleasant smell. Sometimes the trap can get dried out, which can cause sewer gas to enter your home. This happens if the sink isn’t used that often, simply run the faucet for a bit to alleviate this problem. 

Vent Stack

Vent stacks are also important for ventilating sewer gas. They are located on your roof, and allow sewer gas that builds up inside of your plumbing to escape. This helps keep your drains functioning properly. Vent stacks can sometimes get clogged with debris and even snow or ice. In which case you may notice slow drainage, gurgling drains, and the stench of sewer gas. It is best to have a professional clear your vent stack of any clogs and install a screen to prevent clogs from happening in the future. Are there any other random plumbing parts around your home that you are wondering about? We’ve got answers! Contact Rooter Hero Plumbing to learn more!   

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