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Plumbing Speed Dating: 3 Questions To Ask

Popular Questions To Ask the Plumbing 

Ever wondered where toilets got their nickname or perhaps thought about the water that goes into the toilet or runs from the sink? Plenty of curious people have wondered about modern plumbing's inner workings, and that curiosity deserves some answers. Here are some facts about modern plumbing and three burning plumbing questions that folks have on their minds these days!

Why Are Toilets Called "the John"?

It may come as a surprise that indoor plumbing existed in the ancient world. The Egyptian and Roman empires notably had running water, indoor sinks, and even toilets. However, the modern toilet's ancestor likely originated from the godson of Queen Elizabeth I.

Back in the time of castles and jousting, Medieval Europe had largely forgotten about the plumbing of the ancient Romans and Egyptians. Chamber pots and outhouses were the primary bathroom setup of Elizabethan England. But Queen Elizabeth's "Saucy" godson, Sir John Harrington, decided such accommodations were unfit for his godmother.

Sometime around 1596, Harrington bestowed a flushing toilet upon his royal godmother. Ironically, toilets were sometimes referred to as Jakes or Johns before Harrington's gift. Still, he immortalized the name in his satire, A New Discourse upon a Stale Subject: The Metamorphosis of Ajax. The royal status and colloquial connection to the toilet set its nickname in stone: the porcelain throne remains called "The John" to this day in England and the United States.

Does Water Spin the Direction South of the Equator?

Many children in the United States learn about how water inverts its spin south of the equator. It's a popular science project and a commonly googled question. However, it isn't a universal rule that all water streams will spin counterclockwise south of the equator.

a toilet 

The idea that toilets drain differently in the southern hemisphere comes about thanks to the Coriolus Effect. The Coriolus Effect describes a pattern of deflection of objects not firmly adhered to the ground across large distances. Essentially, it explains why hurricanes spin one way up north and another way down south, and impacts air currents, water currents, and cyclones, etc. 

It's easy to assume that the Coriolus Effect would also govern toilets' draining water, but that's not the case. The Coriolus Effect is only visible in large bodies of water, and toilets simply aren't big enough to be impacted by it. The direction toilets drain is largely caused by the toilet's actual design, and most drain clockwise, even in the southern hemisphere. 

How Much Water Do Leaking Faucets Waste?

a leaky faucet

Among the many common questions asked to plumbers throughout the year, wasted water questions are some of the most common. After all, wasted water is wasted money, and if there's a way to save money, everyone wants to know about it. 

It should come as no surprise that leaking faucets waste money, but the amount of waste may come as a shock. The average leaking faucet wastes 3,000 gallons a year! For reference, that's about 180 baths or showers. 

Leaking faucets are a common source of increased water bills. The hit to a homeowner's wallet averages out at $20 a month per leaking faucet, but considering that leaking faucets tend to come in pairs, that number can easily double. Old homes are more susceptible to the issue, as older faucets are more likely to leak. 

It's always a good idea to know the home's plumbing. These interesting facets of information are a good start to understand the history and fun facts surrounding the world of plumbing!

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