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How Does the Plumbing Work in Your Home? The Plumbing Basics to Know

PLUMBING

Plumbing Basics to Know

Modern plumbing is something we often take for granted. All it takes is a short trip into the wild to remember the sanitary comforts we enjoy in homes across the world today.

Things like running water, hot showers, and flushing toilets are a luxury we’ve come to accept as normality. Three out of four people now have access to a bathroom of their own, and nine out of ten have clean water close to home.

As a result, most homeowners don’t know how the plumbing systems in their home work. But, having a working understanding of these systems and plumbing basics can be beneficial. It certainly makes it easier for homeowners to maintain them.

Curious? We’ve outlined a few plumbing basics below…

The Key Components of Home Plumbing

Plumbing is the intake of potable water from a source outside of the household to the inside. It also involves sending unwanted wastewater outside of the home.

A well-designed plumbing system delivers water into various faucets, fixtures, and appliances such as toilets and washing machines.

Every home plumbing system consists of these primary parts:

  • Plumbing fixtures
  • The plumbing supply component
  • The drain portion
  • The venting system

The performance of these four components is vital to the safety of the water supply. The waste-portion of the water needs to be kept separate from the water supply that feeds our tabs.

Here’s a closer look at how these parts function:

Plumbing Fixtures

Fixtures include anything from a tub, sink, shower, water heater and toilet to appliances like washing machines, dishwashers or icemakers. Various fixtures have both water inflow and drainage through the system.

Appliances also require either cold or hot-water supplies. Some require both. To trust that you can access clean running water through these fixtures, the remainder of the plumbing system in your home has to work flawlessly.

The Plumbing Supply

The supply system is what pumps water throughout the home and into various applications, such as appliances and toilets. It separates cold and hot water pipes as necessary.

It efficiently carries wastewater away without clogs. Freshwater is delivered through water supply pipes from the utility or well in the local area.

The equipment for this consists of pipes, fittings, service valves, and faucets. Commonly these are fashioned from plastic, copper, or galvanized iron. Water is passed through the meter and delivered into the house.

At the water heater, the supply splits into two lines. One carries hot; the other carries cold water.

Plumbing Drainage

The drainage components carry wastewater out of the home. They move it through drainage pipes into the sewer system or a septic tank. Natural-gas plumbing may also deliver this fuel to cooktops, furnaces, and water heaters.

Unlike supply systems, drainage systems don’t rely on pressure. Instead, the waste leaves your house due to all drainage pipes pitching or angling downwards. Gravity, therefore, pulls the debris along. The system includes vents, traps and cleanouts.

Traps can be found with nearly every sink. They are the s-shaped pipe section under the drain. Toilets are self-trapped and do not require an additional component at the drain.

Bathtubs, on the other hand, usually have drum traps. These form a seal against sewer gas and collect hair and dirt so as not to clog the drain.

The Vent System

One of the most unknown plumbing basics in any system is the vent system. Home plumbing systems wouldn’t work without the venting system. The plumbing supply and drainage systems must never mix. Otherwise, water supplies could become routinely contaminated.

To ensure they stay apart, the bridges that exist between the two systems need venting.

Venting pipes and the vent stack send air into the pipes to avoid mixing sewer gases into the supply. The air causes traps in the drains to remain shut. This prevents contamination.

A clogged vent can occur when animals nest or other damage incurs. This could cause severe problems and risk the opening of the traps. Vents that stick up from the roof of your home allow air into the drainpipes for this purpose.

Since the drainage relies on all these components, it’s usually referred to as the DWV (Drain-waste-vent system).

Kitchen Plumbing

Most kitchens have a reasonably simple plumbing system, including hot and cold water supply lines for the faucet. The sinks also require a waste line. Kitchens with a gas range also hook up to a gas supply line.

There may be additional connections for a dishwasher, disposer, ice maker, or instant hot water. These are generally tied into the sink’s plumbing.

When you design a kitchen from scratch, keep these connections in mind. Hooking up new appliances without the proper links later down the line can be difficult, and might require you to remove existing kitchen cabinets.

If you’re remodelling a kitchen, you can save money by sticking to the existing plumbing system and placing the connected appliances nearby.

Bathroom Plumbing

The bathroom is the most crucial area in the house where plumbing is concerned. Every fixture in the room relies on the system. The plumbing in the bathroom has to handle water delivery and drainage in an efficient and leak-free manner.

The water supply brings hot and cold water to the sinks, tub, toilet and shower.

Now You Know the Plumbing Basics…

Now you know the plumbing basics of your home, if you experience any issues, this might give you a better idea of where the issue lies.

Have you got any questions about your household plumbing? If so, feel free to contact us today, and one of our pros will be happy to help!

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