How Plumbing Works – The Basics

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How does your plumbing work?

Plumbing systems are an integral part of your homes construction.  At Heaton Plumbing we strive to provide our customers with not only top service and repairs but also to provide a knowledge base that can benefit you and your home.

Plumbing follows the basic laws of nature – gravity, and pressure.  Knowing this and a few other plumbing basics, you can understand if problems arise and make fixes to your home’s plumbing system.  The plumbing system in your home is composed of two separate subsystems. One brings freshwater in, and the other takes waste water out. The water that comes into your home is under pressure. It enters your home under enough pressure to allow it to travel upstairs, around corners, or wherever else it’s needed. As water comes into your home, it passes through a meter that registers the amount you use. The main water shutoff, or stop, valve is typically located close to the meter. In a plumbing emergency, it’s vital that you quickly close the main shutoff valve. Otherwise, when a pipe bursts, it can flood your house in no time. If the emergency is confined to a sink, tub, or toilet, however, you may not want to turn off your entire water supply. Therefore, most fixtures should have individual stop valves.

Most people don’t realize how a home drainage system works; they assume that when they release water from the sink or flush a toilet, the water just goes away. Although this is partially true, a little more is involved in the process of removing waste water from the home. Each fixture has its own drain line which ties into a larger main line that takes the water out of the house.

The most important component of a drain, which most people take for granted, is the trap. They’re called traps because they do just that: trap water inside, preventing sewer gases from coming back into the house.  Several connections are needed when connecting a trap. First is the nut, which connects two pieces together with a threaded fitting. A ferrule forms the seal; the nut simply screws down over the ferrule to form a water tight seal.  We recommend that our experienced professionals instal any traps as they can impact the health of you and your family.

Vents are a major component in a home’s drainage system. Venting allows water to pass out of the drains easily. Today, houses are vented through the roof. Roof flashing, made from heavy grade rubber, lead or sheet metal holds the vent pipe in place.

Another basic to consider is pitch. Pitch simply means the angle in which water will flow easily and gradually with the help of gravity. Every drainpipe, whether underground or in a wall, must have some type of pitch and be sloped properly to allow waste water leaving the home to drain out. To ensure water will drain properly and won’t back up in the line.

All home and commercial plumbing must be maintained to keep proper working order.  If you have any questions or need more information please contact us or check out our how to sections that we will be rolling out weekly.

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