Plumbing 101’s Getting the Plumbing System Right in your Home

When constructing or renovating homes, home owners tend to spend more time on thinking about furnishings or home decor. But while the look and feel is important, you cannot really take the basics like plumbing system for granted. A plumbing system performs the simple yet all important task of supplying fresh water to the house (input) and getting rid of waste water (output). Not to forget the availability of hot or cold waters in different seasons.

You need to have a basic understanding of the plumbing system, hot and cold tap water supply, drainage venting, rainwater or surface water drainage, to make sure you are investing on a system that will continue to serve for a long time to come.

The Objectives:

As earlier mentioned, there are two main objectives for the plumbing system i.e. supplying fresh water and getting rid of waste/used water.

  • You need to have fresh and clean water supply in your showers, kitchen, toilets, washing areas, outdoor faucets, garden, and any other living area where fresh water is required.
  • The supply should be continuous and adequate in terms of quantity.
  • On the other hand, you need a separate network of pipe’s for drainage purpose, in all these areas where water is used.
  • The drainage system will take the used water and wastes into sewer or septic system.Mostly sewer systems with treatment plants are installed in urban or suburban areas while septic tanks are used in remote or rural areas.
  • The drainage system should be designed and installed in a way that waste water is emitted quickly without any kind of obstruction or pollution
  • Proper ventilation and preventing the emission of gasses and odors is another important consideration.
  • Lastly, both in-coming and out-going pipes should have no leakage or wastage.

Components

Pipes are the most important component of a plumbing system, and then there are fittings like elbows, unions, coupling, Tees, reducers, caps, nipples, and barbs. Many different types of valves are also used, such as gate valve, plug valve, check valve, butterfly valve, or diaphragm valve.

Drainage system uses drain pipes, drain traps (to prevent the back flow), drain vent, clean-outs, and wye fittings to name only some. Some advance systems also use hydraulic fittings.

Materials:

Coming to the materials, Polyvinyl Chloride (commonly known as PVC pipes) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) are two of the most commonly used materials, as far as piping and fittings are concerned. Both PVC and ABS are non-toxic, and resistant to water degradation. ABS pipes are rigid and more durable, whereas PVC pipes are quite flexible. But these are not the only types. Many old homes have iron pipe with lead solder, and you can choose from one of the following options.

Each one of these materials has their own pros and cons. For example, cast iron pipe is known for its strength but it is quite vulnerable once rusting has begun. Copper is another solid option because of its durability but it can be quite expensive. PVC or CPVC are relatively cheaper and quite flexible, but it is vulnerable to high temperatures and if you are looking to install outdoor piping, these pipes might not be a good idea, because plastic pipes don’t look as neat as copper or stainless steel pipe.

It’s important to know your options before opting for one. But you need to decide after consulting with your plumbing technician, while keeping your budget and specific requirements in mind.

Things to Remember

  • There are some simple plumbing tasks that you can manage on your own, but it’s best to hire a professional plumber to install the system (e.g.A ExpressRooter), having ample knowledge and experience of managing these projects. Hiring expert plumbers will lead to fast and efficient, quality work, and they can also make sure that your water supply and drainage system adheres to local building codes and regulations.
  • Make sure you have shutoff valves with all important fixtures, so that you don’t need to stop the water supply to the entire house in case a leakage or any other emergency. Keep access points in your network of pipes at key areas for future needs.
  • In extreme weather conditions, frozen pipes or overheated water tanks can cause quite some inconvenience. You can choose to insulate the tank or pipes, or use a structure or shaded place to keep the tank. Similarly a licensed plumber can help you take preemptive measures to protect outside pipes from freezing, or thawing the frozen pipes.
  • Investing on good quality materials for pipes, fittings, fixtures, is important. There’s no point in trying to save some bucks by going for substandard material, that will fail to serve over a long time to come, and you might end up wasting more time and money in the longer run.
  • Hot water systems should be carefully designed, installed, and handled. The heating equipment should be installed in open or ventilated areas to avoid overheating. Same goes for the storage and pipes for hot water, the material should be able to bear up the temperature.
  • Maintenance of your fresh water supply and drainage system is as important as installation. Dumping trash like plastic bags, paper, hair, or other objects can cause obstruction and blockage, so you must avoid using your drain as a garbage can. Also, avoid planting too close to a water supply because the roots can damage your water lines.

Plumbing system might sound like a simple network of pipes (and it literally is) but small oversights can result in serious problems like low water pressure, clogged drains, slow draining sinks, pipes or sewer gas leakages. Knowing the above-mentioned information will help you get it right, right from the get-go.

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