The plumbing system in your home is a complex network of pipes that work together to bring water in and take wastewater out. It’s something that we take for granted most of the time, but it’s an essential part of our daily lives.
The two main functions of your plumbing system are:
- to bring adequate hot and cold water into your home, and
- to drain wastewater and sewage into either a private disposal system or public sewer
But how does the water actually move around your house? Here’s a quick overview of the plumbing system and how it works.
The water supply
The first step in the plumbing process is to get the water into your home. This job is accomplished through a water main, which is a large pipe that runs from the water treatment plant to your home. It needs to be pressurized in order for it to get from the treatment plant through the pipes all the way to your home.
If you live far from the city water pumps, you may experience low water pressure from time to time. If this is the case, plumbing professionals can install a pump on your main line to provide enough pressure to blast through the pipes to your property. That means you’ll never have a weakened shower stream again.
Of course, such a complicated job should only be undertaken by professionals. If you need to find a plumber in your area, don’t just guess who’s the best. Contact At Home Pros. With just a few clicks, our team can connect you with licensed, prescreened local plumbing pros — so you never have to worry about quality or trustworthiness.
Each building in an area is connected to the water main. (You can usually find it near the edge of your property.) On your property, the water main connects first to a water meter, which measures how much water you use, so that the city or county can charge you for it. The water main then connects to either the cold or hot water supply of your home.
The water that you’ll use in hot showers, baths, laundry, and dishwasher cycles starts at the water meter, then travels through a series of pipes to your home’s water heater. The water heater warms the water to a safe temperature, then it’s sent to your faucets and appliances.
Clean water is sent into your house at about 50-60 psi, while wastewater exits your house through pipes by gravity. Vents keep air running through drains and pipes smoothly.
What used to be copper supply lines and cast iron drains are now mostly PVC, copper, or PEX. Aside from the materials involved, your plumbing infrastructure is one of the least changed elements of your home.
The wastewater system
When you use the toilet, shower, or sink, the wastewater goes down a drain and into the sewer system. The sewer system is a network of pipes that carry wastewater away from your home and to a treatment plant. There are a couple of very good reasons why waste water and sewage can’t just be released back into the atmosphere: It stinks; it contains harmful bacteria; and it’s harmful to the environment.
In fact, the water you want to leave your home smells so much that all sinks have “p-traps,” or bends to release some of the toxic, foul-smelling gasses. The gas is then released into the atmosphere via vents that you can often see poking up through your roof.
At the treatment plant, the wastewater is cleaned and then released back into the environment. If you live too far away from the treatment plant, you must rely on a private waste treatment plan, or a septic tank.
A septic tank is essentially a giant holding tank made of concrete or metal, which can hold up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters) of waste material. This tank is buried underground on your property.
Once the waste water enters the tank, it displaces water into a drain field. A drain field is made up of multiple, perforated pipes buried in trenches filled by gravel to disperse the already diluted material.
The plumbing system is a complex and essential part of our homes. It’s important to keep it in good condition by regularly having it inspected and repaired.
Here are some tips for keeping your plumbing system in good condition:
- Have your plumbing system inspected every few years by a qualified plumber.
- Repair any leaks or problems as soon as possible.
- Use a water softener to reduce the minerals in your water.
- Dispose of grease and oil properly.
- Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper and human waste down the toilet.
By following these tips, you can help to keep your plumbing system in good condition and avoid costly repairs.
If you do need a professional to come in and help you with your plumbing system, be it worn-out valves or pipe replacements, contact At Home Pros first. Our team will connect you to top-notch plumbing service providers right in your area. If you’ve noticed odd smells, noises, or discolored water, you may need a pro. Contact us today.