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 forum.mrmoneymustache.com 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.

Image of stop-cocks to illustrate the question of "How Does Plumbing Work".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 Bestlifehax.com

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.


Plumbing Basics You Need to Know to Understand “What is Plumbing”

A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water.

A valve is a device that regulates flow.

A fitting is used in pipe systems to connect the straight pipe or tubing sections.

Storage tanks are containers that hold liquids.

Sewerage is the pipes and drians that convey sewage or surface runoff ( stormwater to a sewagwe works.

Drinking water is water you can drink and is also called potable water.

Plumbing and Pipes

Lead pipes are being removed from old houses. To understand what is plumbing you need to know that lead is a chemical element with symbol Pb (from the Latin plumbum ) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metal that is denser than most common materials. Lead is soft and malleable

Plumbing as we know it today started with the Romans. Sanitation in ancient Rome was well advanced compared to other ancient cities and was providing water supply and sanitation services to residents of Rome.

A pipe is a tubular section or hollow cylinder used to convey water or air that’s all, to understand what is plumbing, you need to know.

A boilermaker is a trained craftsman who produces steel fabrications from plates and tubes. The name originated from craftsmen who would fabricate boilers.

A pipefitter is a tradesperson who installs pipes.

Plumbing in the Past

To understand what is plumbing you need to know that the history of water supply and sanitation is one of a logistical challenge to provide clean water and sanitation systems since the dawn of civilization .

Public baths were the start of today’s plumbing industry and originated from a communal need for cleanliness at a time when most people did not have access to private bathing facilities.

Materials Important to Understanding What is Plumbing

Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu (from Latin : cuprum ) and atomic number 29. It is a soft

Radiators are important as a part of what is plumbing. They are heat exchangers used to transfer thermal energy from one medium to another for the purpose of cooling and heating. The majority of radiators are constructed to function in automobiles

Water purification is the process of removing undesirable chemicals.

Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride ( CPVC ) is a thermoplastic produced by chlorination of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin.

Image shows an early example of a toilet and how a toilet works today is still very similar..

An early example of a toilet

Compression fittings are used in plumbing and electrical conduit systems to join two tubes or thin-walled pipes together. In instances where two pipes made of dissimilar materials are to be joined (most commonly PVC and copper ).

A fitting is used in pipe systems to connect the straight pipe or tubing sections.

A plumbing fixture is an exchangeable device which can be connected to a plumbing system to deliver and drain water.

A pipe support or pipe hanger is a designed element that transfer the load from a pipe to the supporting structures. The load includes the weight of the pipe proper

Plumbing Devices – All Part of What Plumbing Is

A toilet; is a piece of hardware used for the collection or disposal of human urine and feces . In other words: Toilets are sanitation facilities at the user interface that allow the safe and convenient urination and defecation .

A shower is a place in which a person bathes under a spray of typically warm or hot water. Indoors

A bathtub is also known as a bath and is used for bathing.

Thread seal tape (also known as PTFE tape or plumber’s tape ) is a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) film tape commonly used in plumbing for sealing pipe threads . The tape is sold cut to specific widths and wound on a spool

A pump is a device that moves fluids ( liquids or gases )

A backflow prevention device is used to protect potable water supplies from contamination or pollution due to backflow, in water supply systems

Conclusion to our article; “How Does Plumbing Work?”

A water filter removes impurities by lowering contamination of water

Water heating is a heat transfer process that uses an energy source to heat water above its initial temperature. Typical domestic uses of hot water include cooking

A heat exchanger is a device used to transfer heat between two or more fluids. In other words

A pipe wrench is any of several types of wrench that are plumbing tools, designed to turn threaded pipe and pipe fittings for assembly (tightening) or disassembly (loosening). Especially in North America

Flare fittings are a type of compression fitting used with metal tubing

Taps and dies are tools used to create screw threads

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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