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The Home Plumbing System
Plumbing for the average home includes a water supply system and a drain-waste-vent (DWV) system. The combined system is basically a loop of sorts. Understanding a bit more about how the system works will help you to maintain your plumbing and detect problems.

The Water Supply System

Clean water comes into the home via a main supply line from either a well or municipal water supply. Town or city supplied water is metered. The main supply branch then spits to connect with the water heater. A hot water supply line, originating at the water heater, then runs in tandem with the cold water supply line. These lines supply fresh water to appliances, like washers, dishwashers, water heaters and softeners, and fixtures, like bathtubs, sinks, laundry tubs, toilets and showers, throughout the home.
Valves and faucets regulate the water being supplied to appliances and fixtures. The seals and moving parts on these faucets and valves need to be replaced or repaired from time to time due to normal wear and tear.
Because the water supply system is pressurized the supply pipes need to withstand high pressures. The diameters of supply pipes are small, generally 1/2" to 1". They need to be properly joined with durable, watertight fittings. These hot and cold water supply pipes run concurrently below the floor joists or inside a building's walls.
Plumbing leaks often occur in the water supply line because it is pressurized. A professional plumber will be needed to locate and correct any leaks. Unattended leaks will cause extensive damage to your home. Do not ignore such leaks.

The Drain-Waste-Vent (DWV) System

Waste water leaves the house through a drain system. Waste water from fixtures must first pass through a trap located near a drain opening. A trap, also called a P-trap, is a U-shaped pipe piece that "traps" or holds water. It is this standing water that prevents gases and odor from sewer waste from infiltrating the home. The standing water is replaced with fresh water every time the drain is used.
Gravity works to move waste water out of the home. Vent pipes are attached to drain pipes to allow the system to gas off and to take in fresh air. Air from the vent pipes prevents a suction from occurring in the drain pipes. Without proper venting a drain system would not flow freely and would stop draining water and waste. The vent pipes connect to a main vent stack that extends through a roof vent. The main waste stack carries all waste water down to a sewer line. The sewer line leave the home near the foundation and connects with a private septic system or to a municipal sewer.
Drain pipes are wider in diameter than water supply pipes to allow waste to easily flow through. Typically, they are from 1 1/4" to 4" in diameter. There are soil pipes which carry fecal matter and urine, and there are waste pipes that remove waste water without soil. Soil stacks and vent stacks are vertical pipes. The difference being that soil stacks carrying away soil and vent stacks never carry soil, but release air.

Professional Plumbing Contractors

Do you need to plan and map your plumbing system for your new home or new bathroom project? Or, do you need to replace old deteriorating pipes? Get help from professional plumbing contractors that are experienced, talented and familiar with local plumbing codes. Our plumbing contractors can help you get the job done right!
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