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Understanding The Basics of a Plumbing System

If you've ever been camping or in an emergency situation where you had to live without plumbing for an extended period of time, you can sure learn to be grateful for the convenience of modern plumbing.

A typical home will have a few different plumbing systems in it. A water supply pipe brings water into your house at which point it is distributed to all the various appliances , fixtures, and outdoor connections that need water. Vent piping provides the needed pressure for drainpipes to function and also get rid of sewer gas. The waste plumbing system of your house takes away used water. Fuel is delivered to any gas-powered appliances by the gas piping system of a house. Still other homes have even more plumbing when they have things like a swimming pool or greenhouse.

These systems are made up of an army of fittings and pipes made of metal or plastic in various shapes, sizes, and angles needed to navigate the infrastructure of your home. The purpose served by a pipe can usually be guessed accurately based on what the pip is made of. For example, an indoor water supply line is usually made of treated copper or iron.

If living in a suburb then you are most likely supplied public water via lines running from the street (from what is called "the main") and into your home. Pressure in these pipes causes the water to travel throughout the home. The amount of water you use is measured by a meter on the way into your home to in order monitor usage for billing purposes. Once the water has gone through the meter and into your home, the pressure and flow is controlled by different kinds of valves.

One of these types of valves, a very important one, the main shutoff valve can usually be found on either side of the water meter; one near the street, and one in your home. A plumber may need access to the one in your residence when doing work on your home.

Within your plumbing network there are two separate delivery systems for your water: one for cold water and one for hot water. Although separate, they are often found running along the same paths throughout a home, branching off only at a fixture's controls. The exception being for locations that do not require hot water, such as outdoor connections or a toilet.
 
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