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What Are The Basics Of Plumbing?

What Are The Basics Of Plumbing? | Lexity

Check Out The Basics Of Plumbing Here

Plumbing is one of those systems that aren’t paid much attention to until and unless a problem occurs. 

But since it is such an integral part of all residential, commercial and industrial structures, a problem with it can affect all the other parts of the building. And plumbing problems are bound to occur sooner or later, regardless of the type of building. That’s why learning about its basics can be quite useful. 

Understanding the plumbing system in your home or workplace can help identify and locate problems, making it easier to deal with them quickly and effectively. In many cases, such information can even help you take the right precautions before a problem occurs, thereby saving time and resources. 

But finding the necessary resources to learn about the basics of plumbing is not an easy task, which is why we’ve curated this detailed guide to help you out. So, check it out!


How Does The Plumbing System Work?


All plumbing systems follow the laws of physics, namely those related to pressure, gravity and water flow. Generally, every plumbing system consists of two subsystems, one for bringing in freshwater and the other for disposing of the wastewater. The subsystem for freshwater is  designed to provide enough pressure for the water to reach different levels and even higher elevations, with ease.  

Once the freshwater enters the building, it passes through the main water shut-off valve and a metre that registers the amount you use. The shut-off valve is used to turn off the water supply in emergencies like a burst pipe, which can otherwise result in large-scale floods throughout the building. 

However, there is no need to turn off the water supply for problems like toilet, shower, or sink leaks since these fixtures have their individual valves. And the freshwater that comes in can easily meet all your cold water requirements directly, but in the case of hot water, the plumbing gets more complicated. 

For your hot water needs, the plumbing system has a pipe that takes the cold water to the water heater, which, in turn, has a thermostat to maintain the preferred temperature. After the water is heated, another pipe takes it to the various fixtures, appliances and outlets of the building. 

Most home water heaters have a temperature setting ranging from 60 degrees to 71 degrees celsius, but anything around 49 degrees celsius is generally adequate and more cost-effective. Appliances like dishwashers often require a higher temperature, which is why they usually come with a built-in heater that further raises the water temperature by another 20 degrees.


Working Of The Drainage Systems


Both septic and sewer drainage systems essentially function the same way, and unlike supply systems, are not dependent upon the water pressure but on gravity. All wastewater is removed from the house through drainage pipes that are angled or pitched downwards towards the sewer. Similarly, the sewer line uses the downward flow to take the waste to a septic tank or sewage treatment facility.  

The drainage system also has several traps, vents and clean-outs crucial to its proper functioning. For instance, the vents that rise from the roof of the structure help the air enter the drainpipes, which helps promote better flow of the wastewater. They also ensure that water does not remain in the traps. 

And speaking of traps, they are another vital component in the drainage system and are located under sinks. A trap is the S-shaped or curved section of the pipe under a drain, which allows the water from the sink to go out through the drainpipe. But some water always remains in the trap, forming a seal to prevent the sewer gas from backing up into the building.

Having a trap for every fixture is essential, except for toilets that are self-trapped and older bathtubs that have drum traps, both of which can prevent clogging. However, drum traps do not meet modern plumbing codes and are absent from newer bathtubs. 

Similarly, kitchen taps may have grease traps that can prevent grease clogs. Traps also have clean-out plugs in most cases, which allow cleaning and prevent the formation of clogs caused by hair and grease. 

A drainage system is often called a DWV – drain-waste-vent system since it comprises components that allow free flow of water and efficient wastewater disposal. 


The Supply And Drainage Subsystems


Both the supply and drainage subsystems are completely separate from each other and are only connected by bridges called fixtures. Such fixtures generally include sinks, toilets, outside faucets, bathtubs and even washing machines. These fixtures draw freshwater into the structure and discharge wastewater while ensuring that the supply and drainage subsystems remain separated. 

As mentioned previously, many fixtures have individual shut-off valves that make it easier to repair them without turning off the main water supply. In case you decide to perform repairs, make sure to check the local plumbing code, which dictates the kind of repairs that can be performed, depending on various factors.

But it is highly recommended to make everyone working or residing in the structure aware of the location of the main shut-off valve and the basics of its operation. This knowledge can come in handy in case of emergencies when the main valve needs to be turned off. 


Final Thoughts


Now that you know about the basics of plumbing, you can perform basic repairs in case there are minor problems with the plumbing system. Additionally, this knowledge will allow taking timely preventive action such as changing damaged pipes or other plumbing system components to avoid any issues.

Plus, you can be better prepared for plumbing emergencies, which can occur at any time. At the same time, make sure to follow proper safety precautions, such as turning off the main water supply before proceeding with the repairs. 

Doing so will help prevent accidents and ensure that the repairs are completed most economically and efficiently. 


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