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Understanding the basics of your home's plumbing system

Understanding the basics of your home's plumbing system is really important because it helps you know how water comes into and goes out of your house. When you understand how it works, you can quickly spot problems like leaks or clogs before they get worse and more expensive to fix. Knowing a bit about plumbing also means you can do simple fixes yourself, like tightening a loose faucet, which can save you money on calling a plumber for small issues. Plus, it helps you use water wisely, which is good for the environment and your wallet!


We do not own this video. Credit: Got2Learn

Easy Guide to Home Plumbing Basics

1. Drains and Vents

Most homes use ABS, PVC, or cast iron pipes for drainage. These are connected to all fixtures like toilets, sinks, and showers, ensuring waste travels out to either the municipal drain or a septic tank, if municipal services are unavailable. Drains are designed with a slope to facilitate this flow. Additionally, homes feature clean-outs for easy access during blockages. Venting is crucial to prevent negative pressure issues, which can lead to gurgling sounds or unwanted sewer gases entering your home.

2. Potable Water Supply

Water enters the home with a pressure between 40 to 80 psi through a main supply line, typically made of copper or PEX. Every home has a main shutoff valve outside for city access and another inside for homeowners. Water is heated by either an electric or gas-fed hot water tank, then distributed throughout the home.

3. Rainwater Management

Modern systems separate rainwater from wastewater to simplify water management. Gutters collect rainwater from roofs, directing it away from the home's foundation to prevent infiltration. This water can be expelled or collected for non-potable uses like watering plants.

4. Sewage and Treatment

All waste and rainwater eventually enter the municipal system, where they are managed at a sewage treatment plant. Here, it undergoes several filtration and treatment processes before being released back into natural bodies of water, completing the cycle.