You use your plumbing system every day, but have you ever stopped to think about how it works? In short, water enters the building through a supply line. Water then flows from fixtures and appliances to facilitate cooking, cleaning, and showering. Finally, water exits your home through a drainage system. Learn more about these three main components of a plumbing system so you can better diagnose issues when they occur.
Water Supply Line
Assuming your water comes from a municipal supplier, fresh water is delivered to your home via a large pipe running parallel to the street. This pipe enters the building through a meter that measures how much water your family consumes for billing purposes. The main water shutoff valve is located near here, allowing you to cut off the flow if you have a leaky or burst pipe.
The water pressure must be high enough to travel upstairs and around corners, though you may experience problems if your water pressure is too high. One supply line carries cold water and is immediately ready to meet your cold-water needs. Another pipe leads to the water heater before being distributed to fixtures and appliances that require hot water.
Plumbing Fixtures & Appliances
Fixtures such as toilets, faucets, showerheads, garbage disposals, dishwashers, and washing machines allow you to tap into the water supply line. These fixtures draw fresh water and discharge wastewater down a drain.
Some fixtures have dedicated shutoff valves on the wall behind them, convenient for performing repairs and preventing property damage during plumbing emergencies. Make sure everyone in your household understands when and how to operate these valves.
Whether your home sends wastewater to the municipal sewer system or a septic tank, the drainage portion of a plumbing system is essentially the same. Unlike the supply side, drains don’t rely on pressure. Instead, wastewater flows away through large, gravity-flow pipes. As such, an effective sewer line depends on all drain pipes having a sufficient downward pitch. Gravity pulls the waste along until it reaches the sewer or the septic tank, depending on the system.
Vents, traps, and cleanouts are vital elements of a drainage system. Vents stick up from the building’s roof, allowing air to enter the drainpipes and maintain equal pressure. Traps are the curved pipes under every drain that hold water and prevent sewer gases from rising into the living space. Some traps have cleanout plugs, providing easy access to remove or break up blockages.
Schedule Plumbing Services Today
Even with a solid understanding of these plumbing elements, it’s usually best to leave plumbing maintenance, installation, and repair to a licensed plumber. Whether you’re dealing with low water pressure, a clogged garbage disposal, or a backed-up sewer system, Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating can help.
As a family-owned and operated company, we serve homes and businesses in the Puget Sound area with honesty and integrity. Our experience dates back over 20 years, and our prices are fair and transparent. To request plumbing services from a highly qualified Seattle plumber, please call us at (206) 938-3219 or contact us online today.