10 Fun Facts About Plumbing

10 Fun Facts About Plumbing

Leaking Faucets and Pipes Pay Off

Leaking faucets may add up to a lot of wasted water in many areas, where the price per gallon is higher than in other places.

It’s a Dirty Job, But Someone Has to do it.

There are an estimated 240,000 residential plumbing repair or renovation companies in the United States. One of the most common calls to plumbers is clogged drains and toilets. However, no one area causes more problems than anywhere else in the house, with issues being roughly evenly distributed throughout.

10 Fun Facts about Plumbing

The first known use of drainage pipes was from the Minoan civilization over 3,000 years ago. They created a closed system of water channels under their palaces to carry wastewater and snowmelt far away from the buildings. They were designed and built by hand from ceramic (clay) pipes and consisted of a central “street” and smaller intersecting private drains that fed into it. The first plumber known by name was likely to design this system: Exekias, an Athenian potter by trade.

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

In a single day, a typical toilet is flushed about 30 times. The average American uses approximately 80 to 100 gallons of water every day. If you’re average, those 100 gallons are used by taking a shower (~20 gallons per minute), doing the dishes (up to 2.5 gallons per load), flushing the toilet (1.6-gallon flush), and running the faucet (~2.5 gallons per minute). That means that a leaky toilet, which can waste up to 200 gallons per day, or a dripping faucet, which wastes about 2.5 gallons per day, would be responsible for 3% of your daily water usage. If you replaced just those appliances with high-efficiency models, you might save more than 450,000 gallons of water in one year alone or image enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

It’s the Water Silly

The water used for each flush in a modern low-volume toilet is 1.5 gallons or less. This means that you could flush about 50 times in one day and use only 7 gallons of water to accomplish it. A traditional toilet can use anywhere from 3 to 5 gallons per flush. If you were to replace just the low-volume toilets in your house with older models, you could save more than 20,000 gallons of water in a year.

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

On average, Americans use nearly 70 gallons of water per day at home for all purposes. Outdoors, we use about 50% more. However, most people are unaware that they’re using over twice as much water outside the home than inside! The two biggest culprits are lawn and garden watering, accounting for roughly one-third of all outdoor water use. If you replaced just one-quarter of your grass with native vegetation, you might reduce your outdoor water usage by up to 30%.

It’s Not Just the Big Guys

For all you DIYers, your toilet is probably not one of the biggest water wasters in your home. The showerhead typically accounts for about 2/3 of a household’s entire hot water usage! If everyone installed low-flow showerheads, we could save more than 1.2 trillion gallons of water each year.

Water: It Does a Body Good

Of all the water used in the home, the most significant percentage (about 40%) goes towards outdoor irrigation.

So, outdoor irrigation can account for as much as half of all residential water use, which is particularly alarming given that nearly 70% of outdoor water use comes from evaporation. Not only does watering lawns with potable drinking water waste a valuable resource, but the amount of electricity required to pump and treat that water releases about 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere every year.

It’s Not Your Imagination: The Water Pressure is Low

Low water pressure isn’t just annoying, and it’s also incredibly wasteful. The average faucet flows at about 2 gallons per minute, which means that if your shower head has low water pressure and you take a 10-minute shower, you’ve wasted almost 20 gallons of water!

“It’s a Dry Heat” is a Lie

While many people assume that its hot weather leads to increased water consumption, studies have shown that it is the opposite. Hot climates lead to increased air conditioning usage, accounting for 50% of all households’ indoor water consumption! The good news is that you could save about 2,000 gallons of water per year by installing a programmable thermostat. The even better information is that by simply turning down your air conditioning a few degrees, you could reduce your usage by 10-20%!



Common winter plumbing issues in north Carolina

Common Winter Plumbing Issues in North Carolina

Do pipes clog more in winter?

We’ll cover some of the more common winter plumbing issues in North Carolina. When it comes time to do some winterizing around the house, many people focus on their yard and outdoor activities. But what many homeowners don’t realize is that the winter months can cause severe damage to the inside of your home as well.

In particular, those who live in areas that experience freezing temperatures will need to be careful about how they approach their plumbing.

So, one of the most common issues in the winter months is damage to sewer lines, mainly due to the ice build-up around them. As it turns out, when water is exposed to freezing temperatures for an extended period, it forms crystals that expand over time. However, this usually doesn’t cause too much trouble when they’re too small to see.

But if they’re large enough and form near a sewage line, these crystals can grow big enough to cause serious damage. They eventually puncture the sides of sewer lines, creating cracks that allow water – and all the icky stuff it carries with it – to flow back into your home, causing significant problems in the process.

So, we find that one of the best ways to prevent this is by heating your plumbing. If you’ve got a crawlspace, make sure the temperature of the ground in it stays above freezing during the winter months. If you’ve got any exposed pipes or outdoor faucets, make sure they are appropriately insulated against the cold weather as well.


If low temperatures have caused issues in the past, you might also consider using insulation designed to reduce this kind of damage.

Of course, if your plumbing is already damaged, you’re not out of luck. So, if the crack is smaller than an eighth of an inch, it can be fixed with epoxy resin. This fix has been around for more than a decade and is typically very successful.

However, if the crack is too large, the only real fix is to replace the entire sewer line – which can cost thousands of dollars – or have it repaired with a sleeve. This process involves removing the damaged portion of the pipe and inserting a new one in its place.

Frozen Pipes

Another common plumbing issue in the winter months is frozen pipes. This means the water is turned off throughout your home, but it can also lead to severe problems that your insurance probably won’t cover.

Burst Pipes

The most severe of these is burst pipes. If water freezes and expands inside a line beyond its capacity, it will crack and break. The problem is that water can continue to drip out of this crack for several hours before you notice the damage.

By then, the pipe has already split in half, and much of your home’s interior has likely been flooded with ice-cold water. You should call a trusted plumber right away to assess this situation’s situation.

In most situations, the plumber will be able to fix the pipe and restore your home’s plumbing to normal functionality in a short amount of time. But if it’s genuinely damaged beyond repair, you’ll need to call a restoration company and get ready for some significant work.


Depending on the extent of the damage, it can take 24 hours or more to dry out most flooded areas completely. And in some cases, you may need to replace floorboards, counters, and cabinets throughout your home before getting everything back in working order.

All told, this type of issue can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars in repairs, which is why it’s so important to look for signs of trouble before it gets out of hand.

Most often, this may come in the form of condensation on windows and walls near where your home’s plumbing system is located, so if you notice any of these signs, make sure to turn off water valves throughout your home (or known areas with exposed pipes) right away.

With everything turned off, go around and take a look at the ceilings and walls in your home for any signs of water damage. If you see any noticeable moisture on these surfaces, there’s likely something wrong with your plumbing system that needs to be fixed right away.

Of course, frozen pipes are only one of several problems winter brings. If you’ve got drain clogs in your kitchen or bathroom, for instance, chances are they’ll only get worse during colder months of the year.

The reason is simple: Drain cleaners lose their effectiveness when temperatures drop below freezing. Thus, if you want to keep them functional throughout winter, make sure you only use them on drains that are completely thawed and free of ice or snow.

Clogs, and clogged pipes

However, if you’ve got clogs in your sump pump, don’t wait until they get worse – fix them right away. Left unrepaired, these clogs can cause the water around the outside of your home to freeze and expand. If enough pressure builds up behind this “frost heave,” it can eventually cause the foundation to crack and leave your house needing significant repairs.

Many homeowners take this winter threat for granted, but it’s a genuine possibility that can easily be avoided by simply clearing any debris from your sump pump’s drainage system.

Another option for keeping clogs at bay is to connect a sump pump to a sewer line, which will give it a secondary way of getting rid of excess water. Of course, this is only necessary if you have an abnormally high level of moisture in your basement or crawlspace throughout the winter months.


For most homeowners, the best thing is to keep drains and sewers relatively straightforward. This will ensure the water has a clear path down and out of your home, which may help protect both you and your home from the financial consequences that excess moisture brings.

In most cases, this means having a reliable schedule for getting rid of standing water in places where basements or crawlspaces tend to collect it. In some cases, this may involve bringing in a professional to give things a thorough cleaning.

For instance, most home restoration companies recommend cleaning basements and crawlspaces once every three months over the winter months. By ensuring your foundation stays relatively free of excess moisture, you can significantly reduce the risk of any problems that come with excessive water damage in these areas. If you’re not sure where to begin when cleaning your crawlspace or basement, however, don’t hesitate to check with a professional restoration company in your area. They’ll be more than happy to inspect your space and give you advice on how best to keep things in good condition throughout the winter.

And remember: If you notice any signs of water damage, immediately shut off your plumbing system at the beginning of winter. This will prevent any problems from growing worse as you switch to using things like fireplaces and alternative heating systems during colder months of the year.

For far too many homeowners, winter means a lot more work – but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you take the proper precautions now, you can save yourself a lot of trouble down the road. For more information, call Poole’s Plumbing Services, the best plumbing service in Raleigh and the Triangle!

To contact the most trusted name in Raleigh plumbers, visit poolesplumbing.com.

frozen pipes

Protect your home from frozen pipes in winter

Winter is Coming Are Your Pipes Ready?

We know that the gorgeous months of October and November turn into the frosty cold months of winter, and even here in the moderate temperate of North Carolina, there is still a chance of a plumbing hazard.

Avoid Frozen Pipes Burst Guidelines:

Thawing and avoiding frozen pipes is easy when you remember these simple guidelines:

  1. If it is not windy outside, the best time to thaw frozen pipes (especially at outdoor faucets) is during the day while temperatures are warmer.
  2. Thaw any frozen pipes that may not be completely exposed to the elements (e.g., basement), and if you own a sump pump, turn it off before thawing or draining outdoor lines in case they burst or explode!
  3. Do not use a propane torch to thaw pipes! Use a hairdryer instead.
  4. Drain and open any outdoor faucets to allow water pressure to build up when the pipe is thawed to avoid refreezing. This will prevent further damage until you can contact an experienced Raleigh plumber.
  5. If there is any remaining water, do not use it for drinking or cooking purposes.
  6. Contact Poole’s Plumbing Services for 24-hour plumbing service in Raleigh to stop any leak quickly and adequately.

Why Frozen Pipes Burst Behind Walls

  • The easiest and safest method with these pipes is to turn your thermostat up and wait for them to thaw.
  • If immediate attention is required, carefully cut a hole in the wall near the pipe. Then utilize any of the above methods listed for thawing an exposed pipe.

*Call your plumber if you observe any of the following:

  1. Any puddling, pooling, or bubbling of water around the faucet.
  2. A drop in water pressure. This can indicate a frozen pipe is thawing and refreezing again, which could cause damage to your home’s piping system.
  3. The sound of running or dripping water from an outdoor faucet – this may indicate a frozen pipe thawed too quickly, which could lead to other plumbing problems.
  4. Ice in the bathtub or shower that is not from the faucet. This may be caused by a frozen pipe behind a wall or under a floor that will require professional attention to fix before refreezing occurs and causes even more damage to your plumbing system.

We recommend that Raleigh residents consider installing an anti-freeze backflow device in their homes to avoid future frozen pipes.

When you need more information on how to avoid frozen pipes in your Raleigh home or business, call Poole’s Plumbing Services, the best plumbing service in Raleigh and the Triangle!

frozen pipes

Frozen Pipe Prevention, Stop Frozen Pipe Damage Before It Happens

Winter is approaching, and temperatures begin to drop; homeowners in the cold\moderate climate of Raleigh, North Carolina, need to be vigilant about keeping their home’s plumbing system from freezing up. While this may sound simple enough, sometimes an unforeseen cold spell can cause even the warmest homes’ pipes. To avoid iced-over outdoor faucets and broken water mains due to frozen pipes, homeowners can take proactive steps towards preventing frozen pipes in Raleigh.

Suppose the interior temperature of your home drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In that case, you need to be aware that exterior faucets (especially at outdoor hose bibs) are especially vulnerable to freezing due to lower temperatures and moisture in the air. This can cause pressure build-up inside the pipe, leading to a complete pipe freeze, burst pipe, or other potentially serious plumbing problems.

If you have an anti-freeze backflow device in Raleigh, this is the best solution for frozen waterlines.

The anti-freeze backflow device will protect your home’s exterior faucets from freezing up during cold weather by diverting water from interior cold-water lines to exterior faucets through a small tube system. This will keep the outdoor faucet line from freezing and prevent any harm to your home’s pipes.

Another proactive measure that homeowners in Raleigh and surrounding areas can take is icing down their home’s exterior faucets each night before going to bed, especially if it has been raining or snowing, as this will allow water to drain from the exterior faucet’s cold-water lines, preventing temperature variations that could lead to a frozen pipe.

Running cold water out of your home’s interior hard water lines before bed every night is another effective method for avoiding freezing pipes in Raleigh homes.


If your home does experience a frozen pipe, it is vital to act quickly to minimize water damage. First, shut off the primary incoming water source into your home (typically an exterior faucet or valve at the base of a water meter). Then call your plumber for help!

For more information on how to avoid frozen pipes in your Raleigh home or business, call Poole’s Plumbing Services, the best plumbing service in Raleigh and the Triangle!

To contact the most trusted name in Raleigh plumbers, visit poolesplumbing.com.