15 Plumbing Facts You Probably Never Knew

Plumbing problems... we all have them and they’re awful. They sometimes smell bad, flood our homes and destroy a lot of stuff. So when the worst happens, who do we call to fix it? The heroic plumber! Even the most ordinary industries can be fascinating. And yes, plumbing is no exception. While the job of a plumber may not be alluring, our line of work affects every single resident in one important way or another. Here are 15 interesting about plumbing that you probably didn’t know.


  1. Both the word “plumbing” and the periodic table element for lead, Pb, come from the Latin term for “lead,” plumbum.

  2. Standardized plumbing can be traced back to around 3,000 B.C. when the Indus River Valley civilization used earthen plumbing pipes to provide transportable water and drain wastes.

  3. Insulating your home’s pipes can reduce the amount of heat lost as your water travels from your heater to your faucet. You’ll run less water waiting for it to warm up and save money on your utility bills.

  4. Got a drippy faucet? Think it doesn’t mean much? Think again! If that leaky faucet could fill an eight-ounce glass in 15 minutes, it will waste 180 gallons of water a month (2,160 gallons a year)!

  5. Queen Elizabeth I also enjoyed the benefit of a flushing toilet: her godson, Sir John Harrington, built one for her in 1596 and it’s believed that the U.S. nickname for it, “the john,” comes from him.

  6. There are two different types of plungers – a toilet plunger and a sink/shower plunger. Toilet plungers narrow at the bottom to fit into the toilet while sink/shower plungers are flat.

  7. Albert Einstein is reported to have said that if he had to do it all over again, he’d become a plumber. As a result of this remark, the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union in Washington, DC, made him an honorary member and a New York plumbers’ local gave him a set of gold-plated plumbers tools.

  8. In 1939, Al Moen invented the single-handle faucet that can control hot and cold water in just one turn.

  9. The floating mechanism in your toilet’s water tank is called a ballcock and it controls the flow of water.

  10. The first fire sprinkler system was invented by a British man named Sir William Congreve. He perforated pipes along with the ceiling and installed a valve outside the building that could be opened to send water through them.

  11. Manhole covers are circular because if they’re turned sideways, they can’t fall through their own opening.

  12. A typical American home wastes more than 9,000 gallons of water running the faucet while waiting for the water to heat, which means that as much as 15 percent of your annual heating costs are wasted while you heat that extra 9,000 gallons.

  13. Over $100,000 were spent on a study to determine whether most people put their toilet paper on the holder with the flap in front or behind. The answer: Three out of four people have the flap in the front.

  14. More than 28 billion feet (about 5.3 million miles) of copper piping has been installed in buildings in the U.S. since 1963. To put it in perspective, imagine a single long copper tube going around the earth 200 times.

  15. In fact, copper piping – the primary material used today in plumbing – also was used by the Egyptians to lay their own pipes.

  16. Flushing the toilet consumes about 38 percent of the average U.S. household’s water usage.

  17. The toilet is flushed more times during the Super Bowl Halftime than at any time during the year.

  18. Who are the most famous plumbers ever? Mario and Luigi of course! They have been in over 200 games since Mario Bros was created in 1985.

  19. King George II of Great Britain died falling off a toilet on the 25th of October 1760.

  20. The average person spends three whole years of their life sitting on the toilet. We hope you brought a good book!

Pipe Masters plumbing experts have over 45 years of experience within the trade and are licensed master plumbers. We will advise you on the best plumbing solution for your home or commercial property. Call us today for expert services in the Long Beach area and throughout Los Angeles and Orange County and let us help you with your plumbing needs! (562) 533-2145, ask for Cory!

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