A Residential Plumbing Guide

Residential plumbing or home plumbing can present serious difficulties if you ignore signs of problems for a long time. For example, you may have trouble deciding when to tackle a job yourself or call a professional. Understanding how your home plumbing system works can help you save time and money.


The main purpose of a residential plumbing system is to provide a filtered water supply for the home and to allow wastewater to drain from the house. Its plumbing system connects a series of pipes to clean lines of water supply and sewage. Pipes carry water to all plumbing fixtures, such as sinks and showers. Each pipe system has a main shut-off valve for water supply, and many newer houses have shut-off valves for individual parts.

Inlet water

The incoming drinking water goes through your pressure regulator and water meter if your house has one. Water then directs to your hot water heater, some outdoor accessories and the rest will supply cold water for interior accessories. Plumbing uses various materials to build supply pipes, including copper, PVC pipe or PEX pipe. The main pipes have a diameter of 3/4 to 1 inches while the secondary pipes have a diameter of 1/2 inch.

Sewage water

Sewage drainage, one of the most vital functions of your plumbing system, helps keep your home free of toxic gases and sludge. In modern houses, they are usually made of plastic materials such as PVC pipe or ABS drainage system, although old houses may use cast iron. Plastic pipes, however, usually make more noise than cast iron pipes and because of this, some modern houses still have cast iron pipes.

Trap and ventilation

A fundamental part of the sewage system, the trap, a curved piece of pipe beneath the fittings like in a sink, maintains a small amount of water in the line at all times, which prevents hazardous gases from backing through the pipes and enter the home. Another fundamental safety feature of the plumbing system, the ventilation line, carries the gases from the house sewage through a pipe that extends through the roof.

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