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Basic Plumbing - An Overview

Skill Level: Beginner


Plumbing as we now know it and the part it plays in our everyday lives, often without giving it a second thought, has been with us since the mid nineteenth century. No longer did we need to walk to the nearest pump for water, including that used for cooking, and washing and cleaning purposes. Sewage removal by association was also greatly improved. These new technologies and systems were developed around the same time that public health authorities of the day were beginning to press for radical improvements in sewerage disposal. Reductions in the number of contaminated water related illness and deaths followed the introduction of modern plumbing systems, and from those early days, since its introduction, plumbing and piping systems have continued to move forward. Improvements in materials, tools and equipment have, along with the easy access to information and instruction now available, made plumbing a subject that need not be viewed as something to be avoided at all costs

Developments in Plumbing

Plumbing pipe work in particular has seen great improvements since the earliest days of pipes made from hollowed out logs. Lead, a toxic material, and the main cause of water contamination and subsequent illness, was a material used extensively in early pipe work, and was finally phased out around 1929, after which copper was introduced. Copper as a raw material was non toxic and found to be safer, not containing or requiring any lead constituents within its makeup or it’s jointing process. Copper as a raw material continues to serve the plumbing industry.

Materials - Plastic

Plastic is the material of preference in many applications and is a key plumbing material, with lightness, ease of handling and installation, lower cost than that of mined metal materials, as the main considerations. Plumbing is one such industry that has benefited from the use of this versatile synthetic material.
One of the benefits associated with the use of plastic pipe work and fittings is the ease by which they may be joined. Joining is achieved by either a simple push fit, a special fitting requiring tightening by hand wrench, or joints sealed by means of a solvent. Many plumbing systems contain a mixture of both materials, and should therefore be considered accordingly.

The Right Tool For The Job

Regardless of the pipe and fitting material used, plumbing is not some form of mystical art. There are many plumbing projects we can tackle ourselves, with a little thought, readily available materials, instruction, the right tools for the job, and a little confidence. 

The developments in design and functionality with regard to hand tools including specific tools used in plumbing have enabled enthusiasts with limited experience to perform tasks with greater ease

The Little Plumbing Jobs


Basic plumbing can mean anything from changing a tap washer, to replacing a set of taps, routine maintenance checks, as a means of preventative maintenance, to installing a run of new pipe. Regardless of the level of competency we may achieve in our basic plumbing activities and projects, cost savings can be made and waiting time and disruption may be reduced. 
Fortunately, when considering tackling basic plumbing projects, all the elements required to perform the task in hand can generally be sourced in one location. That is to say, the raw materials and fixtures required for the job, the tools and equipment, and advice specific to your particular project, needs, or problem. Good quality ironmongers will usually fit this bill, stocking most standard fittings and materials and will provide a fast and reliable service.


Tools you will need:
Rolson 200mm Adjustable Wrench
Rolson 200mm Adjustable Wrench
- Blue Spot 15mm Pipe Cutter
Blue Spot 15mm Pipe Cutter
- P.T.F.E. Tape 12mm x 12m - Twin Pack
P.T.F.E. Tape 12mm x 12m - Twin Pack

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