The plumbing profession has been around for a long time. Before there was indoor plumbing, people used to wash themselves in nearby bodies of water and throw their waste out on the streets. Your plumbing makes it possible for you to live comfortably inside your house without having to go to an outhouse to use the restroom or walk several miles to the nearest lake to take a bath.
Still, often people don’t understand the impact plumbing had on civilization, nor do they understand how seemingly minor amounts of water leaks can result in significant loss over time. That’s why we’ve gathered a list of interesting plumbing facts, designed to give you a new appreciation for your plumber and for advances in plumbing technology throughout the years.
1. The word “plumber” comes form the word “plumbum,” which is the Latin word for “lead.” People living the Roman Empire used lead to build their pipes. People who worked with these lead systems were called “plumbarius,” which was shortened over time to the word we use today.
2. Indoor plumbing dates back at least as far as 2500 B.C. in Egypt. There, archaeologists have found a portion of an ancient water plumbing system in the Pyramid of Cheops.
3. In 1596, a man named John Harrington developed the modern flushing toilet… hence the name, “the John.”
4. However, toilet paper wasn’t actually invented and sold until 1857. Prior to that, people would clean themselves with whatever was handy.
5. Manhole covers are circular so that if they turn, they won’t fall through their own opening.
6. 0.5% of U.S. homes lack indoor plumbing. While it seems like a small number, that actually amounts to 625,000 homes across the nation.
7. As much as 15% of your water bill can go toward waiting for your water to get warm, as this can waste up to 9,000 gallons of water annually.
8. A low flush toilet may save you up to 18,000 gallons of water a year, cutting your water bill significantly.
9. Home water systems should be set to no hotter than 125 degrees, as water at 140 degrees will burn someone in 5 seconds, and water at 160 degrees takes only half a second.
10. A leaky faucet that drips twice a week will mean a gallon of wasted water throughout the course of the week.
11. Insulating your pipes reduces the amount of heat lost as water flows through your pipes. This change can cause significant savings in your utility bills.
12. The most famous plumbers worldwide are Nintendo’s Mario and Luigi; however, many people don’t know that rock star Ozzy Osborne was a plumber’s apprentice before his career took off.