3 Types of Plumbing Systems Explained

Apr06 By Emergency Plumber Plumbing
Plumbing Systems

When you think about your home’s plumbing, you probably picture the sinks, showers, toilets, and water heater. But plumbing is about far more than just your faucets and fixtures. After all, every plumbing system comprises a series of pipes to bring clean water to your home and carry wastewater and storm runoff away.

The three main types of plumbing systems installed in residential and commercial buildings are potable, sanitary, and stormwater systems. Each one has a unique function and purpose required to keep water flowing smoothly. Take a more in-depth look at how each type of plumbing system operates.

Potable Plumbing System

The potable plumbing system brings clean water into your home for drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning. The water flows from local community water mains through a water meter, past a shut-off valve, and into the building. The meter measures how much water occupants consume and charges the building owner accordingly. The shut-off valve is an important feature as well since it allows the potable water to be turned off in a plumbing emergency.

Different types of plumbing pipes and valves divert water to each faucet and fixture in the building. These include:

  • Straight pipes of various lengths and diameters
  • Elbows to make directional changes
  • Tee sections for right-angle turns
  • Brass and gate valves to control the water flow

Sanitary Plumbing System

The sanitary drainage system removes wastewater generated by flushing the toilet, taking a shower, doing laundry, and washing the dishes. The drain pipes in the building connect to a community sewer line or septic system.

Here are the three main types of sanitary plumbing systems:

  • Gravity systems use the natural slope of the pipe to transport wastewater.
  • Low-pressure systems help move wastewater with small electric pumps.
  • Vacuum systems use sewage fittings connected through vacuum valves to move wastewater along.

Stormwater Plumbing System

A building’s stormwater system drains runoff and snowmelt from the property. Rainwater usually diverts to local waterways, not water treatment plants.

Each element of a stormwater system is installed with a specific purpose in mind. Here’s a look at each one:

  • Roofs and gutters help drain rainwater away from the exterior walls and foundation to protect the building’s structural integrity.
  • Rain barrels collect runoff for irrigation purposes.
  • Sump pumps remove rising groundwater from basements to prevent flooding.
  • Subsoil drains collect and drain stormwater that percolates through the ground to prevent excess soil saturation.
  • Surface drains in paved areas collect rainwater for transfer to local waterways.

Schedule Plumbing Services in Seattle, WA

Plumbing may seem straightforward at first, but it’s clearly more complicated than it looks. If you require plumbing services in the Seattle area, turn to Puget Sound Plumbing and Heating for help. We focus on delivering unbeatable services and long-lasting outcomes from our work. We even offer 24/7 emergency plumbing, so you can count on us day or night. To request services, please call us at (206) 938-3219 or contact us online.

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