As a homeowner, one of the best things you can is learn the basics of the plumbing system. Sure, it might seem like the most fun way to pass the time, but you want to be prepared when something goes awry. Instead of freaking out when the toilet bowl bubbles, you will be able to act rationally and get stuff done.
If you have questions about how your home plumbing system works, you are in the right place. Here is everything you need to know.
The Two Main Sub-Systems
Yeah, you read that right. There is no one plumbing system within your home but several. All of them are interconnected, but the two sub-systems tend to stick out.
The first plumbing system is made for supplying potable water, as in water that you drink, cook with, and bathe in.
The second system is made for shuttling the dirty water—bathroom waste included—away from your home.
As you can imagine, figuring out which pipe is part of what sub-system can be confusing. So, hang on for a moment. We are going to explain.
Water Supply Lines and How They Operate
If you were to unroll the schematics of your home’s plumbing system, you would see that, along with two plumbing systems, there are also two supply lines. One line services the first sub-system carrying drinking water. The second is for your hot water.
Here’s how it works. The clean water line will shuttle in water from the municipal water system (or your well, if you have one). The water supplied by the city or well will enter the household through the water main. This water has been pressurized to get through the entire system.
Once the water comes through the main, it passes along the supply line. Next comes the hot water supply, which is basically funneling heated water to the sinks, tubs, showers, washing machines, and dishwashers within your home.
In short, all water entering your home goes through the water main. Some of that splinters off towards the water heater before entering the hot water line.
Main Plumbing Pipes
Now that you know about the two plumbing sub-systems and the two supply lines within your home, it is time to learn about the two kinds of plumbing pipes. Are you sensing the theme yet?
These pipes are designed to carry sewage and greywater out of the house. What is greywater? It’s the used water that comes from the shower, sink, and washing machine. You wouldn’t drink it. Once the gray water has exited your house, it drains into the city’s sewer system then heads to the treatment plant.
Along the waste pipes are something called vent pipes, which can usually be found on the roof. Vent pipes have a crucial role. They release sewage gases from the pipes, keeping those fumes out of your home, where they could cause safety and health problems.
The second part of that is letting in oxygen to accelerate aerobic breakdown.
The Drainage System
This is the last piece of the puzzle: the drains. Everything that uses water is going to have drain and drain traps. Waste water is sent down the drain and passes through a U-shaped trap, which holds any standing water and stops gases from getting back into your home. Other than that, drains utilize principles of gravity, running downhill to ensure the gray and waste water isn’t pooling within your pipes.
Hopefully, you know now that there are two parts of the plumbing system for bringing water into your home and removing waste water from it. Understanding how the plumbing, supply lines, and drains work together can help you better describe issues to the plumber. Plus, you will know how to take greater care of your plumbing.
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