Plumbing Basics – Everything You Need to Know

Plumbing Basics – Everything You Need to Know

Your home’s plumbing is a complex network of pipes, valves and fixtures that deliver clean water to your appliances. Knowing the basic principles that keep your system functioning can help you identify issues and fix them quickly if they do arise.

If you’re a beginner or a DIY-er, learning these basics can save you time and money in the long run. They’ll also help you avoid a lot of frustration and stress in the event of a plumbing crisis!

Water Supply

Your water supply is a vital part of your plumbing system. It supplies the fresh water you need to cook, clean and bathe. It also provides a reliable source of water for your home’s landscaping and lawn irrigation.

The water supply comes into your house via a main line and then travels along pipes made from plastic, iron or copper to every fixture in your home. It’s important to have a continuous, smooth flow of water in your pipes and the right piping materials are critical for your home’s plumbing system.

When it comes to your water supply lines, you want to have an understanding of the way they work so that you can detect problems or deal with emergencies effectively. You’ll need to understand how they function, approved material and potential issues such as leaks, rust, corrosion or freezing damage.

It’s also a good idea to learn about water quality, which has a microbiological and physicochemical dimension. Depending on the quality of the water your area receives, it may need to go through treatment before entering your home’s pipes.

You should also know how to shut off your water supply at your main faucet. This will protect your home in the event of a flood or an emergency.

In addition to shutting off your water supply, you should learn how to inspect your water lines for any signs of leaks or damage that could cause a problem down the road. This is especially important if you have young children or pets who could easily get into the water if the line is damaged.

If you notice any signs of a leak, call your plumber as soon as possible. This will help prevent further damages to your home’s plumbing and prevent costly repairs down the road.

A water supply line also allows your plumber to replace damaged or old plumbing fixtures and install new ones. Fixtures such as toilets, sinks and tubs are designed to draw freshwater from the supply pipe and discharge wastewater through the drain system.

Water is a precious resource and should be handled with care. This means taking a few moments to learn about your water supply and how to keep it in great condition for years to come.

Water Heater

A water heater is an important appliance that can make a big difference in your life, especially if you live in a temperate climate. They heat the water that you use for cooking, bathing, cleaning and other purposes. Whether you have a gas, electric or tankless model, it’s vital that you understand how to properly maintain them so that they remain in good working order for as long as possible.

Choosing the right water heater is key to minimizing your energy costs, which can be as much as 20% of your household’s total energy bill. Besides considering the type of fuel source you want (gas or electric), you should also consider tank size and profile, energy factor, first hour rating and more.

If you’re considering purchasing a new water heater, look for ENERGY STAR(r) certified models that have a high Uniform Energy Factor (UEF). These are more efficient than conventional storage units, so they can save money on utility bills and reduce your impact on the environment.

Another option is a hybrid water heater, which uses electricity to draw air into the system and then transfer it to an enclosed storage tank. This method is up to three times more efficient than traditional electric resistance heaters.

This is especially useful if you have an older home with a large storage tank, as it can save you a lot of money in the long run. It’s also a great way to lower your carbon footprint, as it won’t require any additional gas to heat the water.

While you’re at it, it’s always a good idea to check the water heater’s venting and gas piping to ensure that they’re in good shape. A leaking unit is a serious issue, and can lead to damage to the entire home.

In addition, remember to check the heating element and thermostat. These components can be incredibly fragile, so it’s important that you take care of them regularly. If you’re not sure how to do this, it’s best to call a licensed plumber or HVAC technician to help.


The drainage system in your home is made up of a variety of pipes that carry water away from the building. This system is essential in preventing flooding and water damage, as well as protecting the soil from being destroyed by excess moisture. It’s important to regularly check your drainage for any signs of damage in which case you’ll need a plumber Sydney area for repairs.

A typical drainage system has two main types of pipe: one for draining waste, called “grey water,” from showers, basins, washing machines and other similar equipment; the other for sewage, or black water, from toilets and urinals. Grey water usually has a minimum 75 mm diameter pipe, while black water should be a minimum of 100 mm.

Another important part of the plumbing system is a drain trap, which collects dirty water and seals the pipe to prevent sewer gas from entering your property. If the trap becomes clogged, it may be necessary to pour drain cleaner down the drain or have a plumber snake the pipe to clear it.

It’s also a good idea to check your drains periodically to make sure they’re not clogged with hair or other debris. This can cause a blockage that’s difficult to fix, so it’s important to address it as soon as possible.

You should also make sure that any outside hose bibbs are connected to the drain pipe, as these can collect waste. If they’re not, you might need to replace them with a hose bibb connector.

In addition to the basic pipes that carry water away from your house, your drainage system also contains special piping for venting the gases produced by the wastewater and solid wastes. This is referred to as the “DWV” system, or Drain-Waste-Vent system, and it’s designed to remove wastewater and sewage from your home and dispose of it safely and efficiently.

A house drain, or sanitary drain, is the lowest part of your home’s drainage system and connects to the waste stack or soil stack. This pipe is run vertically, using gravity to move waste and dirty water from your fixtures into the soil and a main drain in the basement or beneath your home’s foundation wall.


A sewer is an underground pipe that carries waste water from houses and commercial buildings to a sewage treatment plant or disposal site. Its most common use is for sanitary wastewater, but it can also transport surface runoff from lawns and garden areas.

Most residential and commercial sewers are gravity-powered, meaning they move downhill. In a few cases, this isn’t enough and the wastewater needs to be moved uphill through a pumping station or grinder-pump.

These systems have to be built in a way that the land doesn’t impede their operation. In some instances, this means the pipes must be deep enough to cut through rock or follow creeks and streambeds.

The sewer mains themselves are usually 3 to 5 feet (1.5 to 1.5 m) in diameter, but they’re occasionally larger. They’re connected by a series of smaller pipes to one another and eventually to the sewage treatment plant.

They’re usually designed to handle more wastewater than a septic system, and they’re less prone to clogging. That said, it’s still important to be careful about what you flush down your toilet and what you put in the garbage.

Sewers may need to be cleaned out periodically. They can also become clogged with tree roots, non-biodegradable items, or food particles.

Once a sewer isn’t working properly, you should call for assistance from a professional to find out the cause and get it fixed. If the problem isn’t fixed, it will only get worse and cost you more money down the line.

There are a number of ways to prevent sewer issues from occurring in the first place. For example, it’s a good idea to never flush anything non-biodegradable down the toilet. This can cause a blockage in the public sewer and interfere with processes at a sewage treatment plant.

You can also try to limit the amount of time you spend in your shower or using the sink and dishwasher. This can help minimize the wastewater you generate and keep your bill in check.

Finally, if you live in a rural area, you might have to install your own onsite sewage system, which is often called a septic tank. This can be a large investment, but it will save you the headache of figuring out how to deal with sewage in the future.

Howard Coleman