The Basics of Plumbing and Drainage Fixtures

Most people take their plumbing fixtures for granted. While most fixtures are very reliable, it is important to familiarize yourself with the basics to avoid unnecessary call outs of plumbing professionals. Most plumbing experts agree that a great number of call outs for problems with toilets, faucets and tubs can actually be resolved easily with basic knowledge of DIY skills.

Common Issues with Plumbing Fixtures:

Sinks, showers, tubs, toilets and bidets are fairly simple fixtures. They all contain traps which do require some special consideration. There are a number of issues which are common to plumbing fixtures such as drips, leaks, damage and cross connections.


Tubs, bidets and sinks have temperature controls on the faucets. The water in the basin or actual fixture drains out through a special trap. The trap in a shower unit is generally hidden underneath the floor drain and is usually virtually inaccessible. The plumbing and traps for tubs or showers is usually fairly difficult to access, fitted behind a layer of sheet rock. The trap is designed to prevent sewage fumes from reentering the house through a series of water seals. They are designed to self scour during each use and ensure the correct velocity of flow. When the flow is too fast, this can cause siphoning of the water seal, but a slower flow can allow debris to accumulate in the trap.

Faucet Issues:

The component parts of faucets can wear out over time which causes drips, cracks or leaks. This can usually be resolved with a part replacement. This may seem a little overwhelming simply because of the number of components contained within a faucet but by taking a systematic approach to the task, it can be fairly straight forward. Choosing a replacement faucet need not be stressful. You will need to ensure that the mounting characteristics of the new faucet match the old configuration and you choose an appropriate material, style or color to complement the fixture.

Cross Connections:

This sometimes refers to the inadvertent reversal of cold and hot water supplies. The intake lines will usually need to be switched back but some fixtures do have the facility to reverse the water supplies without needing to reconnect the intake lines.

Another definition of cross connection is a plumbing error which allows the gray water mixing with the water supply. This taints the supply in situations when negative pressure occurs. This can be a more complex situation than simply changing a washer. You may need to perform a little more plumbing investigation to detect the source of the problem.


Toilets are generally self contained and will usually require very little attention. You should check for accumulation of moisture around the unit to ensure that there is no leak. The main problem which occurs with toilets is usually caused by inappropriate items being flushed. Toilets are designed to carry waste material and toilet paper. Flushing diapers, cotton pads and other garbage can result in the items becoming water logged and lodged in the pipe. This will usually mean that the water level in toilet bowl rises higher than the normal level and floods into the bathroom. To avoid blockage problems, you should not flush any items of garbage and not allow any children in the household to flush toys or any other inappropriate materials down the toilet.

If you are having difficulties with any of your drain or plumbing fixtures, contact Scott English Plumbing. We have a great deal of expertise in all aspects of plumbing including drain fixtures and would be happy to answer any of your questions or queries.