Mystery Plumbing Parts – Identifying Parts of Your Plumbing

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

Ever catch yourself wondering “what’s that for?” Your home’s plumbing system is made up of an intricate network of pipes, vents, and drains. There may be some parts of your plumbing system that you are familiar with, then there are those parts you have no clue what purpose they serve. Today we are going to shed some light on the mystery plumbing parts that have been eluding you.


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You may have noticed that funny looking knob next to your faucet on your kitchen sink, this is called a vacuum breaker. A vacuum breaker is designed to prevent backflow issues. They can also be found in toilets and hot water heaters. In the mystery case of the knob next to your faucet on your kitchen sink, it is hooked up to your dishwasher. The Vacuum breaker or air gap as it is sometimes referred to is designed to help relieve pressure to help the wastewater drain properly. Without a vacuum breaker, wastewater could travel back into the dishwasher.


A plumbing cleanout is a necessary part of your plumbing. You may have noticed a funny looking cap with a square in the middle, that is your cleanout. You may have more than one depending on the size of your home. Cleanouts are often located right on the main sewer line. They are designed to provide easy access, for cleaning, snaking, or video pipe inspection.


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The water supply is one of the most important parts of your plumbing to know. In the event of a plumbing emergency, knowing where your water supply is and how to turn it off could make a huge difference. First, there is the main water supply. If you have major plumbing, like a burst pipe, you will want to turn off the main water supply. Most main water supplies will be located around the foundation of a home or in the ground out front of the home. In addition, each water-using appliance and plumbing fixture will have its own water supply, you may have noticed that knob on the back of your toilet, that is the water supply. If your toilet overflows, or if you are replacing your toilet, this is where you will turn off the water supply.


Another common mystery plumbing part and an important part of your plumbing is the overflow drain. Each bathroom sink and bathtub will have an overflow. This prevents the sink or bathtub from overflowing, which could lead to flooding. Overflows are usually placed at the front of the sink or under the faucet.

Do you have other mystery plumbing parts that need identification? Contact John Owens Services today! We can help you with all your plumbing repair needs and help identify the important parts of your plumbing.

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Serving Marin & Sonoma Counties

Good plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems are vital in every North California home. John Owens Services, Inc. is proud to be the expert plumbing company you can count on

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Our philosophy is simple, we always want to maintain equipment to give it the longest life possible. Next, we want to focus on repairing when something goes wrong. Then only as the last choice, we replace equipment when needed. That’s the John Owens Way.

San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464