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Plumbing Basics: How It All Works

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All sorts of things flow through your house. People come through your doors and back out, and electricity zaps its ways through your home’s wires in an instant. Yet, there are few things that flow through your home that are as complex as water.

The plumbing systems that keep water flowing in your home were developed by over a century’s worth of experts and engineers. As a result of all the ingenuity behind it, learning plumbing basics can seem impossible. It can seem like you need to be an expert just to understand the basics!

Yet, learning about the basics behind your plumbing systems is simple. It all relies on easy concepts like gravity and water flow. You don’t need to engineer an entire plumbing system to understand that water will fall to the ground when it’s dropped!

Understanding the basics of plumbing relies on having the common-sense to know how things work! If you know how gravity works, you’re already halfway there to knowing how plumbing works. And to learn more about how plumbing works, keep reading below!

Knowing Plumbing Basics Can Help Your House

Before learning how your plumbing system works, you should know why you need to understand it. Understanding the fundamental principles that keep your plumbing working can help you in the future. If something breaks, or if you suddenly notice a drop in water pressure, you may be able to do something about it.

Obviously, just knowing the basics of plumbing doesn’t make you a plumber. Yet, knowing the basics behind plumbing can help plumbers fix your system if something breaks. Learning about the basics will give you the skills you need to communicate issues to the experts, so they can identify and fix issues quicker.

Knowing plumbing basics will also help you prevent problems from getting worse. If you know when a problem is a result of your water supply or intake systems, for example, you may be able to know how severe an issue actually is.

It’s important to understand how your house works, even if you’re not an expert on everything in it!

Water Must Come from Somewhere

When you first purchase your house, you’re usually told where your water is sourced from. Water is usually centralized around some source and distributed to homes through a variety of systems. Yet, understanding how it’s centralized and distributed can be important.

Sometimes, specific homes are the only ones to take water from a specific source. Other times, homes may share a large source of water with a network of underground pipes. The way you source your water can determine how you responsible you are for keeping the water clean and safe to use.

Keep reading below to learn about two standard water sources. Your home probably uses one of them!

City Water System Connects Your House to a Network

If you’re on a city water system, then you’re not the only one using a water source. City water systems connect networks of homes through large, underground pipes that constantly keep water flowing through them. Most of the time, a large basin or a nearby river feeds the underground pipes their water.

Home plumbing systems essentially connect homes to the underground pipes. They work by changing the flow of water towards the home whenever a person needs it.

City water systems have advantages and disadvantages. The best thing about them is that you’re not responsible for keeping the water clean and safe — the city is. Yet, since you’re sharing your water with other people, you don’t have full control over it. If it needs to be shut off for a while, you’ll just need to deal with it.

Stay Well Off With Wells

The other standard option for sourcing water is well-water. Usually, plumbing systems that source water from wells only involve a few homes. Sometimes, the well only feeds one house. It’s completely removed from the city water network.

While well-water systems mean that you have full control over your own water supply, it also means you have full responsibility for it. If a contaminant enters the water supply, only you can deal with it. You’re also responsible for maintaining all the connections between your home and the well.

Well water systems guarantee you complete control over your water. Yet, with great power comes great responsibility and maintaining a well water system can take a lot of work.

Water Intake Brings Water Into Your Home

Your home’s intake system is responsible for tapping the water source for the water that flows through your home. Whenever you use water, your intake system is basically notified of it. It then fetches the amount you used and sends it into your home’s pipes, so it’s there when you need it next.

If something goes wrong with your intake system, it may not be entirely your fault. It’s connected to the water supply, and if you’re on a city water source, the issue may be caused by underground pipes.

Light a Fire Under Your Water System

After the intake system fetches water, it’s usually immediately available. Whenever you open a cold faucet, it’ll be there. Yet, warm water takes extra steps. And since there are so many extra steps to getting warm water, you should make sure an expert is there to ensure they’re done correctly.

To get warm water, your intake system needs to feed water into your water heater. The water can be heated through a variety of ways, and once it’s heated, it stays in the water tank until it’s needed. Once you need it, the tank is emptied and more water flows into it.

Water Flows In, Water Flows Out

Underground pipes aren’t only used for bringing water into your home. They also send water out. Your disposal system is one of the most crucial parts of your entire home’s plumbing system.

It’s responsible for discarding dirty water and sending it wherever it needs to go. Most of the time, this means sending it to a treatment center for reuse. It mostly depends on gravity, meaning the water you send down a drain literally falls into sewer systems where it flows to wherever your municipality sends its water.

Knowing Plumbing Basics Doesn’t Make You a Plumber

Know plumbing basics doesn’t make you an expert plumber, just like how unclogging a drain doesn’t mean you can repair pipes. It’s good to know how your home works, but you should still contact an expert if there are problems in it. Otherwise, you can break something you don’t mean to and make your problems worse.

Contact us if you have any issues with your home’s plumbing, or if you just want to learn more about it! We’ll gladly make sure your home’s water stays flowing, and you’ll learn more about how your home’s plumbing works!


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