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Our friends at Tri County Plumbing Pros (their website) shared some great tips with how plumbing works, to get a better understanding of home plumbing systems. Did you know that plumbing in one form or another has been around for over 8000 years now? While plumbing started out as pipes made of clay and straw and a mixture of troughs, the basics of plumbing remain the same today. Pressure brings us clean water and gravity removes the dirty water from our homes.

But how do your household plumbing systems work? What are the basics to it all? Here is a simplified overview of your homes plumbing systems.

Plumbing Basics 101 Explaining The Mechanical Components

The water supply:
Your homes water supply system is what brings you fresh cold water into your home. This is accomplished with pressure, water under pressure is piped into your main supply line, which ranges from y 1″ to 1 1/2″ in diameter in most cases. The source of your water will either be a river, lake, well, spring or other municipal water supply. Some homes will need a water softening system and/or a water filtration system. These systems work best when installed closest to where the water enters your home. If your home has hot water then some of this water is immediately diverted to your water heater. From there your hot and cold lines are run to stub outs which feed water to the various faucets and toilets and drains throughout the home. These hot and cold water lines are generally /2″ to 1″ in diameter, though small supply lines which are around 3/8″ in diameter carry water from the stub outs to your faucets and other fixtures throughout the home.

Cold-water riser
This is the vertical pipe which carries cold water to a house’s upper floors.

Hot-water riser
This is the vertical pipe carrying hot water to a house’s upper floors.

DWV or Drain, Waste and Vent System
This is one of the most critical systems in your plumbing system. This system removes water from your home via gravity through pipes which can range from 1 1/4″ to 4″ in diameter, depending of course on the size of the fixture, tub drainage pipes for example will be larger then the drainage pipes leading away from your toilet or commode. Every drain system has what is known as a trap, with some being built right into the fixture itself such as the trap built right into the toilet, while other traps are a part of the pipe system such as the U shape in the pipes under your sink. Traps exist to prevent sewage gas from seeping into your home, they accomplish this by keeping a small amount of water which seals out the gases. Traps can however accumulate debris and blockages which is often the cause of a drainage system ceasing to drain correctly and when this happens often times cleaning out the trap will do the trick.

These will allow you very easy access to your DWV system without the need to ever cut the pipe. They allow you to clean the trap with ease. They are normally installed at the ends of horizontal drain runs and near the point where the main drain or sewer line exits the home.

Shutoff valve
This is what you need to turn should the water from your pipes ever start to flood your home. This will shut off the water supply to the entire house.

Water Meter
In areas where water is on a meter system where you pay for the amount of water you use, this will state how much water has been used. It gauges how much water has been used by the home.

These are the main parts of your plumbing system, there are more of course such as your main circuit vent but you do not need to worry overly much about these parts of your plumbing system. Better understanding of how your plumbing systems works can better assist you in gauging problems with your plumbing system.

Plumbing Basics 101 Explaining The Mechanical Components
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