A home plumbing system can look incredibly complex, a confusing system of pipes and drains that run every which way.
But with a little basic plumbing knowledge, you can understand that maze of plumbing and be a plumbing pro in no time.
Keep reading to get a crash course in plumbing 101.
Understanding Your Home Plumbing System
There are really only two main components to your home's plumbing system - a water supply intake system that pulls water from a water source into your home and a drain-waste system that collects dirty water and removes it.
The first step in any plumbing problem is understanding the parts within these two systems. When you have a problem, being able to identify if it's a problem with the incoming or outgoing system is step one. Read more now about plumbing tips for new homeowners!
Water Supply System
Your intake system starts at your main valve, the place where your home is connected to a clean water source. In most cases, this is the main city pipe that likely runs under your street.
You will typically have a valve in front of your home that acts as a meter and shut-off point for your water supply. Every faucet, toilet, and water-needing appliance in your home is supplied from this one intake spot.
From this starting point, a series of pipes run clean water to every point in your home it's needed. These pipes are generally flexible and smaller in diameter than the waste pipes that will run close to them.
There will also be a dedicated pipe that runs from this starting point to your hot water heater, which will then supply water to those places where hot water is called for, like your washer, showers, and sinks.
The wastewater system is slightly more complicated, in that it contains not just pipes but drains, vents, and traps. For instance, you'll notice under every sink a little p-shaped device. This is called a trap and is installed to catch items that might fall down the drain, like rings, so they can't be carried away.
If you look outside you'll see a vent somewhere on the outside of your home, that vents your wastewater to prevent a buildup of anything toxic in your home.
The pipes on the wastewater system will generally be larger and more rigid than their clean water counterparts. This is because they have to remove human waste products along with water.
Along the entire system, you'll find shutoff valves that allow you to cut off water to different portions of the house, although older homes might only have one or two.
Get to Know Your Home Plumbing System
The easiest way to become familiar with your home plumbing system is to go through and identify the individual systems and components. When a problem occurs, you'll have enough knowledge to at least know where the issue is stemming from.