Trusted for Generations

Plumbing 101: How Plumbing Works

Plumbing 101: How Plumbing Works

Ever think about how waste matter is disposed of and where it ends up? Or how plumbing keeps waste and supply water separate from each other in order to keep us safe from disease? Since school is back in session, here's a bit of Plumbing 101 so you can understand a little better how plumbing works.

Wastewater needs a place to go. It's important that supply and wastewater never meet. The supply and drainage systems remain two distinct subsystems and are designed not to overlap. One system brings clean water into your home, while the second system pushes waste matter out.

Plumbing systems ensure that wastewater won't contaminate the water supply that we all share. By using things such as an Air Gap between the faucet and the basin, and a Backflow Preventer such as a vacuum breaker in the toilet, plumbing technology has come a long way to keep our water safe and our bodies healthy. Due to these and other advances that we take for granted on the daily, diseases like cholera are not something we have to worry about.

Plumbing 101: Water Supply System

The water supply system is how you get water into your home. It routes municipal water from the street to anywhere you need it in your home.

Water moves through water supply pipes because pressure is pushing it from the utility or a well to wherever it needs to go. When water enters your home, it passes a meter that keeps track of the amount of water you are using.

Your home's plumbing system is a network of water supply pipes and drain-waste-vent plumbing. How plumbing works with municipal water is the main shutoff valve controls operation of the water system.

How Valves Work in a Plumbing System

There also different types of valves that are used in plumbing systems:

Individual Supply Shut-Off Valves/Main Shut-Off Valve- Mostly used for when maintenance needs to done on the plumbing system. There is one for the whole building's water supply and for each of the individual plumbing appliances, including the dishwasher, toilet, etc.

Additionally, there are Globe Valves, which are mostly used for faucets and repeated use, and Check Valves, used for backflow prevention.

You should locate where your main and individual shut-off valves are before a leak or emergency. When water is leaking into your home or from an individual fixture, such as a sink or toilet, every second that the supply isn't cut off is more damage to your property. By locating the valves now, you can save time and money if a leak occurs.

Drain-Waste-Vent System - How wastewater leaves the home

Waste matter is linked with a sewer or septic system. It leaves your home through downward pipes, pulled by gravity. It ends up in a sewage treatment facility or septic tank. The drainage system includes vents, traps, and clean outs. It is sometimes called the DWV: the Drain-Waste-Vent system.

The Drain-Waste-Vent system carries wastewater from sinks, bathtubs, showers, toilets and other appliances that rely on water in the home. Drainage and waste are familiar words when it comes to plumbing, but people might be less familiar with the "vent" aspect of the DWV system.

The vent system's job is to ventilate sewage gases from building up in the home. It also ensures that drainpipes maintain the right pressure for drainage. Preventing clogged drains is important for the plumbing system to function properly and safely.

How do we get hot water?

Cold water is always available for use by turning on the faucets in your home. However, you need a water heater to produce hot water. A pipe carries cold water to the water heater. The water heater carries the heated water through a hot water line, which then comes out the fixtures and appliances when you need it. Hot water is typically heated between 120 and 160-degrees Fahrenheit based on what you've set the water heater's temperature setting for your home.

If you have any issues with your plumbing system and are in need of repair or emergency services, call on Gold Medal Service. We offer repair and replacement services for pipes, faucets, fixtures, and any other water supply related issue. We're your top plumbing resource for Plumbing 101 information and any repair services you may need.