Could You Be a Plumber?

Pierre Roustan

Image: Jacobs Stock Photography / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you've never panicked much about that leaky faucet but still had to call a professional to manage the issue, you might be missing out on the potential you have. After all, you know how pipes work! It's pretty easy. Simple physics. The question is can you apply those physics to real-life situations that would involve something like a "snake" or sewage systems? If so, you might have the makings of a plumber. Who knows. Maybe you played a lot of "Super Mario Brothers" back in the day, and it instilled in you a way around pipes (and Goombas).

We jest. The fact is a lot of the skills plumbers possess involve mathematics and common sense. If you have that, you're golden. It won't mean anything, though, if you haven't to some degree applied the math and common sense that would relate to some of the issues a plumber would have to resolve. Ask yourself the simplest questions and think real hard on whether or not you could actually handle the job. It's all about problem-solving, and then utilizing the right tools to accomplish the tasks. That's it. You can take this quiz and definitely be sure of the fact that you're the next one to be called when water breaks out in the basement!

What is a copper pipe not used for?

Copper pipes are definitely not for locating hollow walls. There's a variety of uses for them, not limited to water carriage, tubings for fridges, and multiple underground installations.

What does "PVC" stand for?

PVC is the common term for a type of piping with the particular chemical makeup made to handle all sorts of hazardous waste. You'd often find the term "PVC pipe" thrown around in the industry.

What's one benefit a galvanized pipe has over other pipes?

Galvanized pipes have what's called a "zinc coating." That zinc coating actually makes it very easy for the pipe to resist rust.

What's the difference between a PVC and CPVC pipe?

CPVC pipes are the same as PVC pipes. However, there is one difference: CPVC pipes are treated with chlorine, hence the term "chlorinated polyvinyl chloride."

How do you join copper pipes without threads?

Since copper pipes don't have any threads, it presents a problem in trying to connect them to each other. Soldered fittings solve that issue as connectors between two pipes. Simply fit two pipes on both ends, and you have a connection.

How do you join galvanized pipe with a copper pipe?

It might as well be a marriage made in Heaven as a dielectric union prevents electrolysis from occurring between the two different pipes. Electrolysis is what will strip away the copper tubing, hence why the union is there to protect it.

Is there a way to actually fit a 1/2-inch copper pipe into a 3/4-inch copper pipe tightly?

Couplings are a great way to transition to different sizes. Get the right kind of coupling, and you can fit just about any size copper pipe to another one regardless of size matching.

What's the common nickname for the insert fitting?

Because of an adjustable clamp used with the fitting designed to hold the pipes or hoses in place, the fitting has earned the nickname. It's a "barb" designed to hold the "hose" in place.

What do you need to successfully cut pipe for modifications?

Piping's durable, so you need something just as durable. Hacksaws do the trick. You can also get a pair of pipe cutters, which are obviously stronger than any pair of "scissors."

What do you need to successfully solder copper piping to fittings?

It's actually pretty easy fitting copper pipes without the threading as all you need is that torch and a solder to merge both together. You then use the cloth to smooth the connection up.

How do you join PVC piping to fittings?

The beautiful thing about solvent welding glue is that it's a substance designed to melt the fitting to the pipe. Once they're joined, nothing can break them apart.

What's a compression fitting used for?

Compression fittings are designed to be completely airtight, which is why they're generally used for water supply.

What is a "plug" for?

A "plug" is typically a type of cap. This cap is what's used to block off one end of a male thread for a solvent weld connection.

Is it possible to join a threaded pipe and a solvent weld?

Adapter couplings are handy to have around. The reason why is due to their customization—hence why they're perfect for solvent welds fitted to threaded pipes.

What do you call a fitting that has a female end and a male end?

Common lingo shows that the name for that particular type of fitting is none other than the "street elbow," a fitting that has one side fitting the male end, and the other side fitting the female end.

What kind of tee is used for waste lines?

A "tee" is named as such because of the shape of the fitting, which looks like the capital letter "T." A sanitary tee has a curve designed for a cleanout plug to keep things sanitary when dealing with waste lines.

Do plumbers use "nipples"?

"Nipples" are common. They're small versions of pipes used to increase length, getting to connections easier.

Why do the pipes bang around when you turn on the water?

High water pressure tends to cause a lot banging. If you hear it, you need to do something about it. A water hammer arrestor does the trick.

You have two sizes of supply lines for water. Which one would you use for the toilet?

For under-floor supply lines, you're going to want to connect the larger one to the toilet. The piping connected to the toilet, outside of washers, represents the largest due to waste management.

What do you use a "trap" for?

Traps are a type of piping with a curve designed to trap wastewater. As the pipe continues to fill, it pushes wastewater down into the drain.

What are the two types of drains used for tubs and sinks in the bathroom?

Tub drains are only used for tubs given the depth of water. Pop-up drains are pretty standard in bathroom sinks.

I need a certain size trap for my kitchen sink. What should I go for?

1 and 1/4-inch traps are commonly for bathroom sinks. If you're looking for the ideal trap for your kitchen sink, you'll want to go with a 1 and 1/2 inch.

What might you need when installing a pop-up drain?

Who knew there was such a thing? That hardening material that's very much like silly putty only so much more durable is often used to minimize all sorts of leaking.

What isn't a valid reason why you should use plastic supply lines for all your water needs?

There's no standard lengths for plastic lines. Generally speaking, the rest of the answers are all common benefits for going plastic for your water supply.

Which one of these wouldn't be a way of using a "floor flange"?

Floor flanges typically stabilize piping and tubes on any flat surface. This includes pipes in walls, floors or just about anywhere.

What do you absolutely need when crawling underneath a house to install or repair plumbing?

We don't doubt that a lot of these would be worthwhile to have at some point. But ultimately you won't go far without a good hands-free flashlight to light the way.

When do you use flared fittings?

Because fridges require certain freezing measures, flared fittings tend to provide the best possible compression. The flares manage to maintain compression through those extreme temperatures.

Is it possible to repair a leaky valve?

The hex nut is the crux of the entire configuration. Tighten it or remove it and then add packaging to seal it more, and that should do the trick.

How do you prevent hard water in your pipes?

ACETAL valves resist mineral buildup. They are, therefore, quite exceptional when optimizing the quality of your water supply.

When is it a good idea to install ball valves?

Typically ball valves are used for your natural gas or LP. They tend to be a lot safer in terms of operation.

What is a gasket?

Gaskets are used to improve the tightening of fittings to pipes, pressed against threadings. They're usually made of rubber, plastic or paper.

What is a "bushing"?

Bushings are smaller fittings designed to match the size of pipes that are too small for established fittings currently placed. Placing a bushing inside a pipe will then make the hole of the pipe smaller.

What is a drop ear elbow also known as?

Drop ear elbows, also known as "wing elbows," typically are used as rigid installation pieces. You use them for holding elbows to a wall, often when installing shower arms and washer hose valves.

What might you need when installing a PVC valve?

The only thing you might need would be pipe cement. Everything else would pretty much not do the job at all given the environment. Pipe cement is designed to bind with the piping and ensure proper hold.

What is a sillcock?

Most houses have these outdoor faucets with the valve. They give a homeowner direct access to the water supply for garden hoses.

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