Plumbing Basics [Infographic] How It Works
If you are curious about finding out how plumbing works in the home, you’ve come to the right place.
Even in a small domestic property, the plumbing can seem like a confusing array of pipes connected to the appliances. But we’re here to show you that with a little bit of know-how, understanding the basic principles of how plumbing works can be quite simple.
This isn’t intended as a ‘How-to’ guide for DIY plumbing and will only serve as a primer for the basic concepts used when plumbing a house or working on existing plumbing systems.
Water Supply to the Home
The water supply system to deliver fresh water to your home is fed by the main valve. If you live in an urban area this is found beneath street level at the front or rear of your property. The incoming water is under high pressure so that it can reach all the necessary areas of your home.
In urban areas, the fresh water enters via a conduit known as the ‘main’ which is a large diameter pipe that runs parallel to your street. To aid plumbing works, there is typically a shut off valve before and after the water meter.
These make it simple to stop fresh water from flowing through the system. If you ever have a major leak in your home, this is always the first place to go to stop the ongoing flow of water into the home.
Primary Functions of the Water Intake System
The water intake system allows clean water to enter the home instantly. From there it is delivered to you cold or hot (via the boiler). Kitchens, bathrooms, toilets and outdoor taps should have sufficient pressure to make showers pleasantly powerful and taps strong enough to help remove food waste and provide water quickly.
Drainage and Waste Water System
Once the fresh water has been used it must exit the home and make its way to the sewerage system. High pressure is the driving force of water entering the home but it’s gravity that makes the drainage wastewater system function.
You’ll notice that all pipes conveying wastewater are angled or point directly downwards to take advantage of gravity. The system also incorporates many vents and traps that allow for easy cleaning of stubborn blockages by professionals and even the retrieval of solid items from the system.
Below your sink, you’ll see a ‘P’ shaped pipe that makes collecting dropped valuables that bit easier. If you’ve ever lost a ring or an ear stud down a plug hole, you’ll know exactly what we mean. It’s likely you have had a professional plumber detach this section of the pipe to clean out the trap and retrieve your item.
Drainage pipes are often wider in diameter than those that bring fresh water. This is to make them more efficient at conveying waste water and waste material through the pipes. Items such as thick liquids, muck, hair and other undesirables must pass through the system using gravity exclusively. Therefore wider diameters are always preferable.
Now you know all major pipes in your home fall under one of two categories – water intake or drainage and waste water – you can make sense of the plumbing basics. Should you find yourself in a plumbing emergency, remember where the shut off valves are in your home and call an emergency plumber immediately.
H2 Property Services offer a comprehensive range of services from skilled workers and an approachable, local ethic. Our vans and colleagues are regular sights throughout the major London boroughs and our staff are local to the areas in which they work.
Barnes and Putney, Battersea and Clapham, Kensington and Chelsea, Notting Hill and Paddington are just a selection of boroughs where our property services are essential to local homeowners.
As well as electrical, heating and plumbing, we offer a 24 hour emergency service, so your home is always working perfectly. For any more information, get in touch with our staff today who will be happy to help you with your enquiry.
Which? Trusted Trader
H2 Property Services are proud to be a Which? Trusted Trader for our Plumbing, Electrical, Gas and Heating services across London, see our Which? reviews here.
← Troubleshooting: No Hot Water from Taps or Shower | What is the Legal Requirement for PAT Testing? →