The Pipes in Your Home
The plumbing in your house is vital to your comfort. Running water, indoor toilets, showers, and drains are part of the modern lifestyle.
Indoor plumbing dates back to the Romans and earlier. They had many different plumbing innovations, but our systems are advanced and easy to maintain. Nonetheless, this a job that a professional is needed for.
In this article, we will take a look at the parts of your plumbing system, how it relates to your city’s water and sewer system, and what you can and cannot fdo for yourself.
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The parts of your plumbing system
There are certain elements of your home plumbing system. Each part is important for your family’s comfort and hygiene.
- Water source – In towns and cities, this will be a local water company. They take water from a reservoir, a well, or a river. From there, they filter it and chlorinate it. It’s then sent into your home via increasingly smaller and smaller pipes. If you live in a rural area, you might have a well. Very often, the water from a well is completely untreated. You will have a pump that will move the water from the well into your house. One important element that you might not think of is water towers. Water is pumped into them and then gravity helps to maintain steady water pressure regardless of how water is being used. In some places, the water is being drawn from higher ground and the natural slope maintains the pressure.
- Your home’s water delivery system – In a town or city, you will have a meter that tracks your water usage. From there, the water enters your house and is sent to the different locations. Cold water pipes are sent to sinks, tubs, and washing machines. Cold water is also sent to the water heater, where it is heated and then sent into the house as well.
- Sewer and drainage – Your house has a second set of pipes that remove waste water and waste. Attached to your tubs, sinks, washing machines, and toilets, these pipes are used to take water away from the home.
- Waste water processing – In cities and towns, the waste water from your home is sent to the sanitation system. Sewer pipes carry the collected waste water from the town to a water treatment plant. There bacteria are killed, the water is filtered, and solid are removed and cleaned. If you have a septic system, your waste water is sent to several tanks and a field of pipes that separate out solid waste and put water into the ground.
The Visible Parts of Your Plumbing System
There are several parts of your plumbing system that are more than simply practical.
- Sinks and faucets – There are thousands of styles of sinks and faucets. Most often located in the kitchen and the bathroom. You might also have a sink in bar area, the washroom, or even the garage. Each of these can be chosen to meet your specific needs and in many ways, there are some pieces that are works of art.
- Toilets – From a basic white porcelain toilet to one that plays music, heats the seat, and even weighs you when you use it, toilets run the gamut from super simple to incredibly complex and high-tech. One of the most interesting parts about toilets is that they don’t require power to work. They use gravity to do their job. It’s a genius use of water pressure and hydrodynamics.
- Showers and baths – Nothing speaks to modern comfort as well as a great shower and/or bath. There are units that have multiple shower heads, jets in the tub, and even fancy lighting systems. For many of us, our daily shower or bath is the time that we unwind and relax. There are nearly as many styles are there are homes to put them in.
- Gas piping – A plumber is also often called in to put together the pipes that carry your home’s natural gas. These pipes are often the exact same as the pipes that carry water in your house.
- Venting systems – Part of your plumbing system will be used for venting air and pressure outside the house. This is used to balance the plumbing system and to vent harmful gases and smells out into the open air.
The Important Things to Know about Building and Maintaining Your Plumbing System
If you’re building a new home, you need to have it designed by a professional architect. The problems that you might run into include:
- Poor water supply
- Contaminated water
- Noises and gurgling
- Poor performance of toilets, etc.
- Water that never gets hot
- Low water pressure
The dynamics of your water system are complex and yet simple. We all know that water flows downhill, etc., but there is a lot more to a plumbing system that this.
The Fun Part – The fun part of your plumbing system is picking out fixtures, sinks, and other items that are visible in your home. Spend any time in a hardware store you will be amazed at the number and variety of potential choices. There is every from simple faucets to units that turn on and off with a touch. This is the part to focus on. If you are working on an existing plumbing system in your home, you can easily replace fixtures, sinks, tubs and other items that will make a difference in how your home feels and looks.
The Less Fun Part – Crawling around under your house putting new pipes in, looking for the pipes that burst in winter, or seating a toilet over a sewage pipe are the less glamorous pars of the plumbing system. These are the parts that you will often want a professional to do for you. Larger items. Like the main drain out of your house to the street or the dangerous parts, like gas pipes, are very much best left to the pros.
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Reasons to Call a Plumber
In an excellent article on Quality Smith, they talk about the top 5 reasons to call a plumber. Here are those reasons in brief:
Clogged drains and toilets – Clogged drains typically require some specialized equipment. This can induce drain routers that clear the drain with a coil or a claw. Some parts of your home’s plumbing system are fragile and chemical drain cleaners are relatively useless. Call someone in. There are plumbers that specialize in cleaning drains only.
Frozen or burst pipes – It can take only minutes to destroy your home with a burst pipe. Get a plumber in to help you before your basement floods or the leak destroys a ceiling or flooring.
Gas leaks- That nasty gas smell is a hint that you have a leak. Get a plumber in immediately. Your house can literally explode. Turn off the stove, leave the house and call someone in.
Broken water heater – If your water heater is broken, you will need someone to look at it. It isn’t always necessary to replace your water heater. Often, it’s just a coil that has gone out or you just need to drain out some sediment.
Tankless water heaters are one of the best ways to save money, save water and have instant hot water. Deciding if one is a good investment for you is a decision that you need to make. This article can guide you with some information on what a tankless water heater does and how it works.
Winter can be difficult on plumbing. From freezing pipes to small creatures finding ways into your home, it can require a lot of maintenance to keep your plumbing safe. This is especially important if you are working with a cabin in the woods that you don’t visit all winter. Here is an article that can take you through some of the winter maintenance items you should take care of.
If your pipes burst or freeze, don’t wait to call in help. If they are still frozen, there might be cracks and splits that you can’t see. Let a professional help you to put the plumbing system back into proper order. Here is an article that can help you to know what to do in case of emergency.
Working on plumbing can be a fun and rewarding pastime, but make sure that you really know what you’re doing before you try to do plumbing in your own home. One wrong move and you might have a much larger and more expensive problem on your hands.
As with every other contractor, look for a plumber that is properly licensed and insured. Be sure to look for online reviews and speak to them. Never allow anyone to work on your house without a written contract of what you should expect and what you need to pay. That contract might be the only thing that you have to protect you if someone doesn’t do their job.