Indoor plumbing must have seemed miraculous when it was first introduced in the 1800s. Today, though, it is something that we tend to take for granted — until something goes wrong with it, that is.
You don’t need to keep plumbing constantly on your mind, but it is a good idea to know a thing or two about how your plumbing actually works. It’s an even better idea to familiarize yourself with what you need to do in order to keep your plumbing system functioning normally. Below, we’ll lay out the basics of how plumbing systems work before introducing you to the basic maintenance you need to know about.
Your plumbing system and the laws of nature
Getting fresh water to your taps and wastewater away from your home is what your plumbing system is all about. But the pipes and pumps in your home would have to work very hard if the laws of nature were not taken into account in plumbing system design.
The forces of pressure and gravity are key to smart plumbing design. Water tends to “seek its own level” and water is as subject to the laws of gravity as everything else is. So plumbing designers use these things — pressure, gravity, and water seeking its own level — to design systems that move water about with the least possible effort. Your plumbing quite literally “goes with the flow” in many situations.
Your plumbing system’s two responsibilities are to get fresh water into your home and to take wastewater out. Those tasks are related, but they’re certainly not the same thing, and you wouldn’t want your fresh water to run through pipes that also carry wastewater. Besides, you need those things to be flowing in opposite directions! For these reasons, your plumbing system actually comprises two subsystems. Parallel systems work in opposite directions, with one set of pipes delivering fresh water to plumbing fixtures and another, separate set of pipes, collecting wastewater from drains and getting it out of your home.
Wells, sewers and septic tanks
Your freshwater may come from a municipal water supply, or it may come from a well on your own property. As for your wastewater, you could be dealing with a couple of different things there, too. You may be hooked up to the municipal sewer system, or you may have a septic tank on your own property that will take care of your wastewater. Both wells and septic tanks are more common in rural areas.
It’s important to know which systems you have because they each require different sorts of care. It’s important to keep your septic system working or your sewer line clear, because any issues with wastewater backing up (or, worse yet, flowing the wrong way) can be disastrous for your property.
Caring for your plumbing system
You now know the basics about how your plumbing system works, but that hardly means that you’re ready to get in there and perform maintenance and repair tasks. It takes years of training to become a competent plumber, and if you’re not a professional, then you had best call one.
To care for your plumbing system and its various subsystems, you should work with a local plumbing professional to establish a preventative maintenance schedule, explain the pros at USA Pipe Repair. Call right away when you spot potential issues, and be proactive about upkeep and preventative measures. If you stay a few steps ahead of plumbing problems, you’ll save money and enjoy a more comfortable space.
Understanding your system is helpful, but the most important thing to know about your plumbing system is this: You need a plumber on your property regularly in order to ensure that your system stays in top shape.