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Questions on plumbing system

Burning Questions About Plumbing Systems

Valentine’s day is coming up, and while no one really wants to date their plumbing system, it’s always good for homeowners to know about it. After all, people often take their plumbing for granted until something happens to draw their attention to it. Whether it’s an emergency or a trivia question about plumbing, this article can help homeowners get to know their plumbing system— speed dating style. 

Why Is the Toilet Sometimes Called “the John”?


People have many different names for toilets, but chief among them seems to be “the John.” There are two possible explanations for this. There seems to be no consensus among historians as to which is correct. It’s likely a combination of the two.

In medieval England, the bathroom (which wasn’t anything like the toilets of today) was known as jake or jack. These terms were used for toilets both inside and outside the house. At the time, only the most important and wealthy people had indoor toilets— and they weren’t too great back then. So, “john” isn’t a far cry from jake or jack. 

Enter John Harrington, one of many godsons to Queen Elizabeth I. He was the poet and inventor credited with pioneering the first flushing toilet (and writing a pamphlet on its use). Unfortunately for him, the pamphlet also had poems in which he equated some of the queen’s council to feces. This got him exiled. He died before the flushing toilet caught on, but the term “John” may be his doing as much as the slang at the time, which survives in his memory today.   

Does Water Drain the Other Way South of the Equator?

The question of which way water drains on either side of the equator has led to many misconceptions. To this day, many people insist that it is a result of the Coriolis force, which is created by the rotation of the earth. However, most scientists think that the way water drains, whether in a sink, a toilet, or a cup, depends more on other factors. 

In other words, most people believe that the location on earth doesn’t affect the draining of water. Instead, it’s the toilet design, the imperfections in the basin, or how the water entered the cup or sink initially. The Coriolis effect is generally only visible on a large scale, like that of hurricanes and tradewinds. While it surely does have some effect on draining water, it’s not enough to cause it to drain one way or the other on a small scale, such as in the bathroom. 

How Much Water Waste Can a Leaking Faucet Cause?

Another piece of plumbing trivia regards the dreaded leaky faucet. Lots of numbers are thrown around by people, so it’s hard to know what is true and what isn’t. There are many factors at play, such as how many drips per minute and how long the faucet is allowed to leak. However, there are some estimates put forth by the EPA that can answer the question in general terms. 


A faucet that leaks at a rate of one drip per second can waste an estimated 3,000 gallons per year! That’s the equivalent of about six months of daily showers. This is why it’s so important to fix leaky faucets. They don’t look like much, but they can add up on a water bill over time. 

About Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing

The friendly folks at Ira Hansen and Sons Plumbing have been helping those in Sparks, NV, with plumbing issues since 1986. They are a family-owned and operated business that provides tailored solutions for their customers’ needs. They provide up-front pricing and a peace-of-mind guarantee on every job. Get expert plumbing services in Sparks, NV, with Ira Hansen an Sons Plumbing.

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