If you are a homeowner, we are fairly certain that you have a plumbing system of sorts (and maybe have had a plumbing issue already). So, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to get a little intimate with your plumbing system. Why? It could be out of curiosity, to help resolve minor plumbing issues, or to do a little do-it-yourself project of your own.
So, how does a home plumbing system work? What is a trap? Why don’t I smell the sewer from the pipes?
All of these are great questions and ones that will be answered with this short and simple guide to some of the basic functions of your home plumbing system.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
In a home plumbing system, water travels throughout your house under pressure –– allowing it to move upstairs and downstairs with ease, around corners, and pretty much anywhere else it needs to go. As water enters your house, it comes through a meter which measures the amount of water you use (hence your water bill!).
The water that comes into your home is cold-water ready. For hot water, the water must first pass through a heater and then travels through a hot water line into your fixtures and appliances. Typical temperatures, which can be adjusted, are between 140°F and 160°F but 120°F is best for economical purposes.
Your home plumbing system has two different subsystems –– the water supply intake system which brings in fresh water and the wastewater system which takes out the wastewater.
Each plumbing system has a main water shutoff valve, typically located next to the meter, and individual stop valves (i.e., toilet, sink, tub, etc.). If you have a major plumbing emergency, like a busted pipe, you would have to turn off the main water valve. For a minor sink or toilet malfunction, the individual stop valves would be your go-to.
This part of your home plumbing system is responsible for bringing in fresh water into your home. If you live in the city, water will come in through a main, a huge pipe laid in the street parallel to your home.
As discussed earlier, water travels under high pressure to serve all your home water needs and provides hot and cold water for toilets, showers, sinks, and appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, washers, and more.
For any emergencies or to complete DIY plumbing projects, your intake system will have a main water shutoff valve and individual stop valves for shutting off the water supply.
Unlike the intake system, the wastewater system is a little more complex and, unlike the intake system, relies on gravity to remove wastewater from your home which is why all of the pipes are angled downwards.
To sufficiently carry wastewater and waste material from your home, this system uses various vents, drains, and traps. If you look under your sink, you will most likely see a sideways P pipe. This is a trap which prevents sewer gases from coming up the pipe while carrying away wastewater. It is also useful for catching anything that falls into the sink (i.e, jewelry).
Wastewater pipes are usually fatter than intake pipes so they can allow waste material to pass through better when they are carried to your septic tank or sewer. Most wastewater systems also have a “clean out plug” which is useful for removing difficult waste clogs.
Having a basic knowledge of your home’s plumbing system can help in an emergency, aid in minor plumbing fixes, and, for DIYers, allow you to do some of your own handiwork. But, if you would rather leave plumbing to a professional, you would need to find an expert plumber in Frisco who is reliable, affordable, and gives 110% to all of his plumbing jobs. Now, take your knowledge and share it with your neighbors and friends!