Just How Does That Plumbing In Your Home Work?

Gravity, pressure, and water’s level are basic laws set by nature, and those are what makes plumbing work. These laws can answer any questions you may have about the plumbing system in your home.

There are two subsystems within the plumbing system, one is the fresh water coming in, and one is the wastewater going out.  The freshwater coming in is pressurized so that it can travel to the destination needed. Such as, around corners and upstairs.

Once the faucet is turned on and opens the valve for the water to come in, it passes through the water meter which is measuring how much comes in. In the same area of the water, the meter is where you’ll find an emergency shut off valve. The water coming into your house is cold. If hot water is needed, there is a pipe that runs from the main supply to the water heater, which heats it.

The Outgoing Wastewater

Every home is either city sewer system or a private septic system. Either way, for the wastewater to drain, the pressure is not needed. And drain pipes are angled or pitched, and gravity takes over from there as the wastewater empties from the receptacle inside your home.

This sounds like a simple process, but there is more to it than it sounds. There are clean outs, traps, and vents that are needed to make that wastewater draining happen. The vents are located on the rooftop and allow air into the drainpipes. Without that air supply, the wastewater couldn’t flow out.

The traps are components which are vital to the drainage system, and there should be one under any sink. This is the S-shape pipe, and as the water flows, it gives it the force needed to go past the trap and to the drainpipe. Some water will stay in the trap, forming a seal which prevents sewer gas from coming up, leaking an unpleasant in your home.

A trap is needed for every fixture. Toilets have their trap, the curved part at the base, therefore do not need any additional trap. Tubs will frequently have a drum trap which forms a seal to hold in sewer gas and collect debris, dirt, and hair to prevent clogging drains. There are grease traps in some kitchen sinks that, as the name says, collects grease that could clog the drain.

Separate But Connected

While the incoming water supply and the outgoing water drainage subsystems are their distinct operation and no overlapping of the two. However, some bridges connect the two, making it possible to work together.

What Defines A Fixture?

Sinks, showers, toilets, and tubs are all fixtures as well as a dishwasher, outside spigots, and the washing machine. Each of these devices draws in freshwater and discharge the wastewater and are designed to segregate the incoming supply and outgoing drainage systems.

Some of these fixtures may have their shutoff valve for the incoming fresh water. This eliminates having to shut the water off at the main source each time you need to replace or repair one of the fixtures.

Before embarking on any plumbing replacements or repairs in your home, the first step should be turning off the freshwater supply off at the fixture or the main shutoff. Always check the plumbing codes in your area before adding pipes. In some larger municipalities, all plumbing related work must be done by a licensed plumber, and final inspection by the city is required.

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