A Beginner’s Guide to Home Plumbing Systems (and Common Problems)

Have you ever thought about what happens when you turn the tap on? Or where the water goes when you flush your toilet? If you’re like most homeowners, the inner workings of your home’s plumbing system might seem like a puzzle.

But at Anchor Plumbing, we believe everyone should have a basic understanding of how their living space functions – including the plumbing! This blog post will demystify your home’s plumbing system and provide some handy tips for maintaining it.

Understanding Your Home’s Plumbing System

At its core, your home’s plumbing system is a network of supply and drainage pipe subsystems. These two systems work hard around the clock to provide you with clean, running water (and efficient waste disposal). The supply side brings fresh water into your home. In contrast, the drainage side removes wastewater from your drains, whether that’s the toilet, sink, shower, or laundry room.

How Water Comes into Your House

The supply system operates under high pressure to distribute cold or hot water to your faucets, showers, toilets, and appliances. The water comes from the central water system, passing your water meter and the main water shut-off valve. This high-pressure system ensures there’s enough force for the water to make its way anywhere it needs, including upstairs or around sharp turns.

Remember, this water is initially cold. If you want hot water, it must travel separately through a hot water heater before returning to the hot water supply.

How Water Leaves Your House 

On the other hand, the drainage system relies on gravity to carry waste water away from your home. It doesn’t matter if your house uses a sewer system or a septic tank – how it exits your home is about the same!

The subsystem uses vents, traps, and angled pipes to allow your home’s wastewater to drain. 

  • Downward-sloping pipes use gravity to pull waste to the main drain pipes. This leads to the sewer or septic tank.
  • Traps, the S-shaped part of drainpipes, create a seal that prevents sewer gas from entering your home through your drain.
  • Without a way to let air into the subsystem, wastewater would create a vacuum as it moved through the pipes. Vents allow air into the system to prevent this!

Common Plumbing Problems and How to Fix Them

Your home’s plumbing should be a reliable system that maintains itself relatively well, running smoothly without additional help. But despite its robust design, your plumbing system can occasionally run into problems. Here are a few common issues that you’ll eventually run into:

  • Leaky Faucets
  • Toilet Clogs
  • Slow Drains
  • Running Toilets
puddle coming out of a toilet in the bathroom

Many of these issues can be fixed quickly and affordably. Knowing how to replace a washer, use a plunger, or do regular maintenance can be valuable tools for DIY homeowners. 

But always remember, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable performing these fixes yourself, it’s best to call a professional plumber like Anchor Plumbing. A fast fix can turn into an expensive repair if you aren’t confident working on your own plumbing.

Maintaining Your Plumbing System

Regular maintenance can help prevent plumbing issues and prolong the life of your system. Here are a few tips:

  • Prevent Clogs: Be mindful of what you put down your drains. Avoid disposing of grease or oil in your kitchen sink, and only flush toilet paper down your toilet.
  • Inspect Regularly: Check your faucets, toilets, and under-sink cabinets for leaks to ensure you don’t have hidden water damage.
  • Schedule Professional Inspections: Have a professional plumber inspect your system annually to catch any potential issues early.

Your home’s plumbing system plays a crucial role in your day-to-day life. By understanding how it works and practicing regular upkeep, you can ensure it continues running smoothly 99% of the time! If you ever run into a problem that you can’t handle on your own, remember that we’re just a call away. Anchor Plumbing is the best in Brevard County, with a team of licensed, insured master plumbers. Give us a buzz for expert, reliable repairs and installations for your home plumbing system! 

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