Understanding Your Home’s Plumbing System
Most people call a plumber when they have common plumbing issues, such as a clogged toilet or issues with the pipe system in your home. Especially if you don’t understand the plumbing system, calling a professional is often the best way to go. However, it is important that you take an opportunity to understand the plumbing system in your home. In doing this, you can better educated to repair your home’s plumbing issues in the future.
Basics of Your Home’s Plumbing
When it comes to understanding your home’s plumbing system, it can become complex. There is a whole network of drain pipes, vent pipes, water supply pipes and more around and underneath our homes. This complex network makes sure we can take warm showers, wash dishes and water our lawns, flush the toilet, and live our lives normally. Plumbing, however, is generally a costly system to install in a home. Understanding how plumbing works in a home can help you better perform do-it-yourself plumbing repairs.
An important aspect of your home plumbing system is the water supply system. This system routes the municipal water from the city to your home, and it will deliver the water your home needs for faucets, toilets, showers, appliances such as the water heater and dishwasher, and more. The equipment necessary for the water supply system includes water pipes, fittings, service valves and faucets, as well as the water meter and main shutoff valve. Pipes and fittings in your home’s plumbing system can be made from plastic, copper, or galvanized iron most commonly.
There is also a drain-waste-vent system in your home’s plumbing.
Your Home’s Drainage and Ventilation System
As one of the most crucial parts of your home, the waste, vent and drainage plumbing is under no obligation to be pretty. The primary purpose of this system is to carry waste water and sewage away from your home. This includes helping to clear out sinks, bathtubs, showers and toilets, and all appliances that use water. This waste is carried to your home’s septic tank or into the public sewer. Sometimes called the DWV (drain-waste-vent) pipes, they help successfully carry waste out of your home thanks to modern plumbing technology.
Your house plumbing vent system is lesser known the drainage or pipe system. It is connected to the drain-waste pipe system and its primary purpose is to help ventilate sewage gases. Without a plumbing ventilation system, these harmful gases will build up in the house. The ventilation system is also able to help drain pipes maintain the right pressure to help them drain correctly. While often forgotten, it is important not to forget about or skimp on the plumbing vent in your home.
When your home is built, federal or local building codes help dictate the proximity of vents to plumbing drains in your home. While they can differ, the rules shouldn’t be ignored as they are provided for both functionality and safety. If a drain is too far away from the drainage system, it cannot break the vacuum and drainage is slow or cannot happen at all. While it can be complicated to set up back vent plumbing, the vents in your home’s plumbing system allows air into the pipes to ensure a quick flow that works the way it should.
The Basics of Your Home’s Drain Trap
There are two types of curved pipes coming down from a drain opening: the U- or S-shaped pipe. The U- or S-shape is known as the drain trap. The purpose of house trap plumbing is to help retain a small amount of water each time the sink drains. The water retained at the bottom of the curved part of the trap helps to seal the drain. This is crucial because it keeps sewer gases from escaping and going into your home. Each drain has a plumbing trap system as it is an outlet for this sewer gas.
One important thing to watch out for around your drain systems is a strange odor. If you smell something off, you should make sure that the trap in that room is not dry. If it is, sewer gases may be getting into your home. While these gases are not dangerous and it is unlikely you will experience any health issues, they are not pleasant and you shouldn’t let this issue go.
It is often obvious where the drain trap is located. If you are dealing with strange smells in the bathroom, look at the back of the toilet. The backside of the toilet will reveal the curved shape of a drain. The drain trap of other plumbing fixtures will not be so obvious. In the kitchen, they are hidden under the sink. Larger appliances, such as the dishwasher or bathtub, have more complex systems that are built under the floor – into the basement or crawl space – and require more assistance if you are looking to remedy a problem.
Solving Common Plumbing Issues
Understanding your home’s most common plumbing problems is a great way to better pinpoint what is truly wrong. For example, understanding the drain and trap system in the bathroom will help you better fix a slow-filling toilet, which is typically caused by a clog. A leaky faucet, as well, can cause rot and other damage if left untouched. Hidden plumbing leaks can be fixed easily when you understand how your pipes are organized. You may not be able to fix your water heater on your own, but a growing knowledge in plumbing systems, you can still do a lot more.
Bathtub and sink clogs can be quickly fixed without chemicals when you are able to remove the stopper in order to fish out whatever is clogging the pipes. You can replace a shutoff valve in your home’s plumbing system by understanding where it is in the system, and you can earn the ability to replace this valve in an hour or less and easily fix an overflowing toilet or leaky faucet. It can seem like a lot to begin to understand your home’s plumbing system, but you are better able work with a plumber – or do it yourself.
When You May Need a Professional
Understanding your home’s plumbing system is crucial for repairs, remodeling projects, or planning to reroute your plumbing system. However, even after taking the time to learn about your home’s plumbing system, there are certain things that still need a professional’s touch. Even with this spare knowledge, don’t forget to call a reliable plumber to help you get things back to normal at your home or business.