Even in the smallest house, home plumbing appears to be an often complex and confusing system of pipes – ΑΠΟΦΡΑΞΕΙΣ ΠΕΡΙΣΤΕΡΙ. However, if you take the time to learn the logistics of residential plumbing, you will see how it works, and it’s actually quite straightforward.
There are only two significant parts to the system: (1) the water supply system for incoming clean water, and (2) the drain-waste system for removing water that’s no longer needed. This article will help you navigate through the natural, initial confusion with your home’s plumbing system and help you address future issues, whether on a DIY or professional plumber (apofraxeis) basis. At least, you will know which system is the source of your problems.
We will examine these two functions in more detail. You should become more comfortable with how your home plumbing system works.
Home plumbing is pretty straightforward. A casual look at the interwoven mesh of pipes and valves may seem overwhelming but bear with me. Understanding a few plumbing basics will see you navigate the mesh-like a pro.
House plumbing consists of two systems:
- Water supply system
- Drain-water vent system (DWV)
Water supply system
Water supply is a system of pipes that brings fresh water into the home. The system is highly dependent on pressure. Water in these pipes come from one of two sources:
- City water
City water enters your house from a humongous pipe ‘the main pipe’ that’s usually parallel to your street. If your connection to the main has a problem, call a professional. Damage to the main can result in civil lawsuits and hefty fines.
People who don’t have access to city water usually get their fresh water supply from wells. Water must then be pumped into the home at high pressures. Reduced pressure keeps water from reaching the furthest and highest parts of your house.
Running showers and faucets are usually the first victims of low pressure. Factors affecting pressure range from leaks to blockages. If the leak is caused by a loose connection, it’s easily handled in-house.
If, on the other hand, the leak necessitates re-piping, you best call for a professional plumber. There are other common issues you should leave for a plumber.
The main pipe is connected to your water meter. There’s a shutoff valve before or after your meter. The valve cuts off the water supply system making it useful when doing repairs.
Maintaining the water supply system
Correctly installed piping is leak-proof. The system, however, disintegrates with time. In some cases, a plumber may find it necessary to do a complete overhaul of the plumbing.
The water supply system performs optimally when pressure is high. This makes the system rather sensitive to damage.
To illustrate, a leak in the drainage system will only cause damp-related problems. By contrast, leaks in the water supply system take things a step further: They affect water pressure. Low pressure makes it impossible to run showers and flush toilets.
Evidently, leaks are most harmful in the water supply system. Due to the sensitivity of the system, its problems are best handled by professionals.
Drain water vent system
The two home plumbing systems don’t overlap and for good reason. However, there are bridges all over the home where the two systems meet. Plumbers call these bridges fixtures.
You, on the other hand, know them by their household names: Sinks, faucets, washing machines, and the like.
A fixture is, therefore, defined as any point of water use. Clean water enters a fixture, wastewater leaves. The drainage system relies heavily on gravity to rid the home of wastewater.
The drain water vent system has three main components:
- Drain pipes
- Drain traps
- Drain vents
These are downward angled pipes that rely on gravity to move water from the fixture and into the sewer line. By observation, you’ll tell this system is more complex than the water supply system: Reliance on gravity has its downsides.
Drain pipes have to be engineered and placed in a manner that lets them play gravity to their advantage. To illustrate, consider the angle of the pipes. These pipes are also bigger than water supply system pipes.
Their size allows them to carry waste without blocking.
Drain traps, also called P traps, are U-shaped pipes that prevent backflow in a plumbing system. These pipes also hold water consistently, thanks to their curvature.
Why should a drain pipe hold water?
The drain water vent system connects your house to the sewer line. Without the drain trap, sewer gases would turn your house into a stink-fest. Drain traps also allow grease, hair, and other debris to sediment.
If you turn a bottle of water upside down, water flow is rather hectic. That’s what happens when water flows through a closed system; it’s just not smooth. That’s where drain vents come in.
The drain vent system runs from your roof and into your drain pipe. It releases air into the plumbing to ensure smooth drainage.
Damage to any of these three systems will be reflected in the overall efficiency of the drain water vent system. Sub-standard products also affect your drainage’s efficacy. Only buy certified quality plumbing products.
Maintaining the drain water system
Clogging is the biggest problem associated with drain water vent system. Hair is the most common cause of clogging in the bathroom, but grease takes it in the kitchen. To mitigate the risks of clogging, frequently empty clean out plugs.
You must also be on the lookout for leaks. Tell-tale signs of leaks include mold infestations, damp ceilings, and stinky rooms.
Leaks also cause structural damage. It doesn’t hurt to call a professional plumber to look through your piping system for leaks. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there: 10% of US homes lose 90 gallons to leaks every day.