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3 Questions To Help You Better Understand Your Plumbing System

When it comes to caring for a home plumbing system, gaining a little knowledge is the best place to start. However, with such a deep and complex subject, it can be hard to know what questions to ask. Over time, homeowners can work their way up to the more intimate details, but it’s often best to begin with the basics and uncover a little history. Below are three of the most common plumbing questions people ask.

Where Did Toilets Get the Nickname, “The John”?


While some hold that the name is simply a derivation of 16th-century British slang terms for a privy – “jack” or “jakes” – it is more commonly considered to come from a man named Sir John Harrington. Harrington was a godson of Queen Elizabeth I who achieved notoriety (and numerous exiles) for his cheeky writings and behavior. He also invented a type of flush toilet in the 1590s which was a precursor to modern toilets.

While flush toilets existed centuries before Harington’s birth, Sir John became widely associated with the flushable toilet for a couple of reasons: the first is that he installed one for the Queen herself, and the second is that his invention was accompanied by a humorous, politically-charged, and well-distributed pamphlet disguised as a toilet manual.

Does Water Spin the Opposite Direction South of the Equator?

The idea that water behaves differently in different hemispheres is essentially a myth – at least when it comes to sink, toilet, and tub drains. The force of the Earth’s rotation causes storm systems and wind currents to tend toward a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, depending on the hemisphere they’re in. This is because each hemisphere is an inverted version of the other, and the effect is most pronounced closer to the poles. This phenomenon is known as the Coriolis effect.

While this phenomenon theoretically applies to draining water, the effect is overpowered by variables local to any given fixture at any given time. No body of water (regardless of size) is completely without motion, and the prevailing direction of that motion will determine which way the water swirls when it drains. The same sink may drain clockwise once and counterclockwise 5 minutes later. When it comes to toilets, the direction of the flush is typically due to the toilet’s design and the configuration of its jets.

How Much Water Is Wasted By a Leaky Faucet?

A slow drip from a faucet or fixture may seem like a pretty insignificant annoyance, but the truth is, even one leaky tap can waste hundreds of gallons of water every year. Not every faucet will produce uniform drops, so the volume may vary slightly, but the drops can add up even on the smaller side. At a rate of just 5 drips per minute, a leaky tap can nearly fill a 2-liter bottle in one day – that’s a loss of about 15 gallons per month. That’s the low end of the spectrum – a more typical rate for a household faucet leak is 10 drips per minute or higher, which can waste 350 gallons per year.


Showerheads and tub faucets tend to produce larger drops in the event of a leaky valve and, therefore, waste double or triple the amount of a typical sink leak. The needless waste and increased utility cost caused by a dripping faucet can be substantial, so it’s always best to have it repaired immediately. 

About Daniels Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC

Daniels Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning has been providing comprehensive and expert home services to Albuquerque, NM since 2010. They provide financing, 24/7 emergency service, and competitive up-front pricing. As a locally-owned small business, they back every job with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Call now for plumbing service!