You know that plumbing is important, but do you know how it works? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the basics of plumbing and show you how everything from your faucet to your septic tank works.
We’ll also cover the most common problems that homeowners experience with their plumbing and give you tips for how to solve them. By the end of this post, you’ll be a plumbing expert!
How Water Enters Your Home
When you turn on a faucet in your house, the water doesn’t magically appear. It flows from your home’s water supply, through the pipes, and into the faucet. So how does that process work?
In most cases, water enters your home through a series of underground pipes. The main waterline brings water into your house from the city or town’s water supply, while smaller pipes branch off and distribute it to different parts of the house.
Water pressure is what pushes the water through the pipes and into your home. That pressure is generated by a pump, which is turned on and off by a switch inside your home. When you turn on a faucet, the switch sends an electric current to the pump, which then starts up and supplies water to the faucet.
How Water Is Distributed Throughout Your Home
Inside your home, water is distributed through a system of pipes and plumbing fixtures. This system is designed to bring water to each fixture in the correct location and to carry away wastewater.
The first stop for water is the water meter, which measures how much water your home uses. From the meter, water travels through the main water line into your home. It then flows through branch lines to the various fixtures in your house, such as toilets, sinks, and showers.
To carry wastewater away from your home, the plumbing system uses a series of drainage pipes. These pipes connect to each fixture and carry away the used water. The wastewater then flows through the municipal sewer system or a septic tank, before finally being released into the environment.
How Water Is Drained From Your Home
So we’ve talked about how water gets into your house, but what about getting it out? How does the plumbing know when to send water down the drain and when to recycle it back into the system?
It all starts with your home’s main water shut-off valve. This is a big valve that controls the flow of water into your house, and it’s usually located near the water meter. When you turn off the faucet, the water pressure inside the house drops and the valve closes, preventing any more water from entering.
If you want to take a shower or flush the toilet, you have to open up this valve again and allow fresh water in. The plumbing system then directs the fresh water to wherever it’s needed, either to your fixtures or back into the storage tanks. When you’re finished with your shower or toilet, the plumbing system recycles the used water back into the system and repeats the process.
The Main Components of Your Home’s Plumbing System
Your home’s plumbing system is made up of a number of different components, each with its own unique function. Here’s a rundown of the most important parts:
Pipes: The pipes in your home carry water from the main water supply to the faucets and fixtures. They can be made from a variety of materials, including copper, galvanized steel, and PVC.
Faucets: Faucets are the fixtures you use to control the flow of water in your home. There are a variety of different types, including sink faucets, showerheads, and garden hoses.
Tubs and Sinks: Tubs and sinks are where you’ll usually find your faucets. Tubs are used for bathing, while sinks are typically used for washing dishes or brushing teeth.
Toilets: Toilets are one of the most important fixtures in your home. They’re used to dispose of human waste and other bathroom waste products.
Water Heater: The water heater is responsible for heating water so that it’s available for use in your home. It can be powered by electricity, natural gas, propane, or oil.
Basic Plumbing Maintenance Tips
Now that you know a little bit about how plumbing works, it’s important to know how to take care of it. Here are a few basic tips:
1. Keep drains clear by using a screen or a drain cover.
2. Flush objects like cotton balls, dental floss and hair down the toilet, rather than throwing them in the trash can.
3. Check your water heater twice a year to make sure there is proper insulation and no leaks.
4. Inspect your faucets and pipes for leaks on a regular basis and repair them as soon as possible.
5. Run water for a few minutes every month to keep your pipes from freezing in the winter.
Troubleshooting Common Plumbing Problems
So, you’ve got a plumbing problem. Now what? Well, before you call a plumber, it’s important to troubleshoot the issue yourself to see if you can identify and fix the problem. Here are a few common plumbing problems and their corresponding solutions:
Clogged Sink: To clear a clogged sink, try using a plunger. If that doesn’t work, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain to dissolve the clog.
No Hot Water: This is typically caused by a thermostat malfunction. To fix it, turn up the thermostat to the desired temperature and wait for the water to heat up.
Leaky Faucet: A leaking faucet is usually caused by a worn-out washer. To fix it, remove the faucet handle and replace the washer.