How Does Plumbing Work?

How does plumbing work?; is a question which is often seen on internet forums, and it is a very good question for a newbie to ask.

It is very easy for us as professional plumbers to forget that others need this basic information, before they make sense of their own plumbing system. It makes sense to learn the basics of home plumbing works. Once, you know how your plumbing system works, you can and call a plumber, and have a good chance of explaining the problem.

Without a basic knowledge of home plumbing works, a home owner would struggle to provide even the most basic information to help plumber assess the cause of a problem.

How Plumbing Works in the Home

The plumbing in your home is not as difficult to understand as you may think. To start with you must know that one system brings water in, the other takes it out. All modern homes have these two plumbing systems. A third system of pipes circulates hot water between a hot water boiler (water heater) and the radiators, in houses which have central heating.

If you have a central heating system based upon a boiler and radiators, the heating pipes provides a circuit of flow which runs out from your hot water boiler, into the radiators, and the cooler water flows back to the boiler to be continuously re-heated, for as long as heat is needed, to warm the home.

In addition, there is also usually a drain-waste-vent in all houses. It looks like part of the plumbing but it only contains air that is pushed out of the drainage system by the volume of water which drains out and is flushed out from the bathroom sink, bath, and toilet.

Heating System Plumbing

It is basically simple; you heat cold mains pressure water to a higher temperature either using a boiler or a pressurised hot water tank with a heating element (electric) or a heat exchanger (coiled pipe … Via ask-a-mustachian/how-does-plumb-work!/

So, if you asked how does plumbing work, and simply wanted to know about the concept of how plumbing works, that is it. However, many people would like to know more than we have said so far about how their plumbing works. If you are one of those people, read on:

An understanding of how your plumbing system works makes for easier repairs.

A home plumbing system [not including central heating] is made up of three different parts: the water supply lines, the drain-waste-vent (DWV) pipes, and the fixtures.

The fixtures are the water control outlets in your house; the bathtub, sinks, toilet, dishwasher or clothes washer. Valves, and taps regulate the amount of water that enters the fixtures, while the drain-waste-vent connection on each fixture allows air-out to facilitate the drainage of used-water.

The DWV pipes … allow … water to drain from the fixture into a soil-vent stack, where the waste water is transported to the main house drain and out into the sewer system.

Water enters your house from the municipal water system, or sometimes a well, through a 20 or 25mm (3/4 or 1 in) diameter pipe. As it enters the home, it passes through a main shut-off valve [stop tap]. If any plumbing repair work is necessary, this is the valve to close to ensure that no water enters the system while you’re working on it. For localized repair work, shut-off valves are often located near each of the fixtures as well, so that you can shut off the water to a specific fixture without affecting the rest of the water system in the house. Your water meter is usually located next to the main shut-off valve, but may also be found on the exterior of your house or buried in the lawn.

As the water enters the house, it travels through a … pipe directly to the hot-water heater [and the cold taps].

Cold water enters one side of the [combination boiler] heater and exits as hot water, usually through a pipe at the top of the heater. This pipe becomes the hot-water supply line. These two pipes then travel throughout the house, [usually] parallel to each other and about 15cm (6in) apart, on a direct route to each bathroom, kitchen, laundry room or outdoor tap. …

A 10 to 12mm (3/8 to 1/4in) diameter pipe, one for the hot water and one for the cold water, leads from the risers to the fixture, with the hot-water pipe on the left and the cold-water pipe on the right.

Water pipes are made of steel, copper or plastic, and rarely require any repairs. [Occasionally] pipes, can become corroded or scaled and need replacing.

Waste water is carried from the drain through a … trap usually directly under the fixture. This trap fills with water when the drainpipe is not in use, to prevent sewer gases from leaking back up into the fixture.

After the waste leaves the trap, it travels through a larger pipe to the soil stack. The soil stack is about 10cm (4in) in diameter and runs vertically from the dram in the basement to above the roof line. All drainpipes connect to the soil stack, which in turn expels waste water out of the house and into the sewer system.

The top of the soil stack protrudes above the roof. Via how-does-plumb-ing-work

We hope this helps you to understand how plumbing works in your home. However, for some people, this article will still not help them very much. It’s O.K. In that case, just call your local plumber, and he or she will call to your home and solve your plumbing problem.

2 responses to How Does Plumbing Work?
  • Danny Sowell

    Arrived here bemused by DUMB title. Nobody wants to know. Lol! It just works mate. If it don’t you get the most WTF smell. no more said.

    • Steve

      Well. I did some research before I wrote this page and apparently (according to Google) lots of people type in this title “How Does Plumbing Work”. I do agree that it seems a strange question, a bit like saying how does a wheel work?

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