Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Basics of Plumbing and Drains

Plumbing is all about gravity.

The bathroom is the one room in the house that is all about plumbing and drains. Getting water into the room and getting the waste out. It sounds complicated, but it really runs on a simple principle, gravity. Of course, we would not want to forget that modern bathrooms also have a supply of hot water. No one wants a cold bath or even worse an ice cold shower. Somehow hot water needs to come into the bathroom. The hot water heater can take credit for that and you can’t forget all that dirty water and waste that needs a place to go. Sewers often aren’t popular places, but where would be without them?

How does clean water come into your home? Pressure causes the water to flow up through pipes, around corners and zigzag its way into the faucet at the top of the sink. You turn the value and it flows until it is shut off. Cold water is ready all the time, but the hot water has to go through another system. It will need to pass through a hot water heater where it is maintained at about 160 degrees. The thermostat on the heater will need to be adjusted to what is safe and comfortable.

Most homes or businesses are on public sewer systems but some of them may use a septic system. It really doesn’t matter because it works the same way. The water and waste leaves your drain using the force of gravity. It is usually all downhill. It sounds easy but there is more involved. To work correctly there needs to be vents to pull the water along. On the top of the house you can often see small vents sticking up. These are placed there to bring air into the drainage system. Without them, the drains would not flow smoothly. Plumbing and sewer issues can be difficult to fix for most homeowners and often it is necessary to call a professional plumber to unclog a drain.

The bathroom is full of fixtures. The plumbing and drains could not work without these fixtures. Toilets, sinks and bathtubs are all necessary for a modern working restroom. If a fixture is not working correctly, it is possible to shut the water off to only that fixture. It can be repaired without affecting the rest of the bathroom fixtures. There is a main shut off value for all the plumbing in the house and it is a good idea for everyone in the house to know where it is and how to operate it.

Plumbing is an interesting thing and easy to understand if you catch onto the basic principle. Most plumbing will need to be done by a license plumber who understands all the codes and requirements. Homeowners need to check before they try to change any of the drains or pipes that supply water into the home. Installing a new sink or toilet can be done by the homeowner if they read and follow all the directions. Take some time and think it through before trying to tackle a plumbing project.

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