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What Is Residential Plumbing?

Freedom Plumbing includes the pipes inside your home that carry fresh water to fixtures like sinks, faucets, and toilets. It also carries wastewater away to the sewer line.

Plumbing Services

Residential plumbers usually work in homes or apartment complexes. They may also work on commercial properties. Regarding commercial plumbing, things can get a lot more complicated.

The water supply pipes in a home bring fresh water into the house and remove wastewater. They are the foundation of residential plumbing systems that support everything from toilets and showers to sinks and washing machines.

The main supply line connects to the water meter, where the water supply is measured, and the main shut-off valve is located, which shuts off your entire water system in the event of an emergency. Water lines from your meter then branch out to hot and cold water supply paths for all the appliances and fixtures in your home.

Water service pipes must be durable enough to withstand high water pressures and a wide range of temperatures. They must also be able to run through walls and other obstacles without becoming clogged or burst. For these reasons, a wide variety of pipe materials are used in residential plumbing.

For example, copper pipes are a common choice for water supply lines because they are strong and durable. However, they are expensive compared to other plastic pipes.

More recently, PEX pipes, which are made of a type of flexible plastic, have replaced copper for many household water supply lines. They are easy to install, inexpensive and resistant to corrosion. Additionally, they are easier to bend and maneuver around obstructions than rigid copper pipes.

These pipes are typically colored to identify their contents, such as red for hot water and blue for cold. They also have a smooth inner lining that prevents rust and sediment from leaching into drinking water. The durability of PEX pipes also makes them a popular choice for remodels and re-pipes.

Ductile iron pipes are another option for water supply lines, but they are heavy and require special skills to install. They are commonly found in older homes and should be replaced with more modern options because they corrode easily, contaminating your drinking water with toxic metals.

Other types of non-flexible pipes are available for residential plumbing, including galvanized steel and ABS. These pipes are less durable and tend to lose their flexibility over time, making them difficult to install in tight spaces.

Water Distribution Pipes

From your kitchen taps to basement toilets, a complex network of pipes makes up the residential plumbing system. These pipes, from 1/2-inch to 2-inch in diameter, carry water supply and waste disposal lines in your home.

Copper: A versatile piping material, copper pipes are durable and offer excellent thermal conductivity. They also resist corrosion and are a popular choice for water-supply lines in many homes. Copper tubing is typically sold in 10-foot lengths with diameters of 1/2-inch to 1-inch. These tubes join with sweat or solvent-based fittings, which can be installed by plumbers using simple hand tools.

PEX: The most common type of piping for water supply lines in new construction and retrofits, PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is rigid enough to hold pressures but flexible enough to weave through walls, ceilings, crawl spaces, and basements. These pipes are also less expensive than copper, making them a popular alternative in many homes. PEX pipes are typically color-coded red for hot water and blue for cold water, as well as marked with the water temperature.

Rigid pipe may be made from a variety of materials, including galvanized steel, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), or CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride). CPVC is often used for DWV drain and vent pipes, as it is resistant to damage from highly chlorinated household water. Plastic piping is becoming increasingly common for water-supply and water-heating lines, as it’s a good alternative to copper and other rigid pipe materials.

The main water supply line in a house connects to the public water system, which may be either a city water line or a private well water line. From here, the water supply line leads to a metering device and then splits into one path for cold water and another to reach faucets and showers. It may also run to outdoor water pipes for garden and lawn irrigation. The waste drainage system, meanwhile, channels waste to the sewer line through a soil stack and a vent pipe. Vent pipes prevent sewage gases from entering the house and are usually located near the roof, along with drains that trap waste.

Drain Pipes

The drainage system in your home carries waste matter away from sinks, toilets and showers to a sewer system or septic tank. Unlike supply pipes, drainage pipes don’t operate with any pressure, relying instead on gravity and the pitch, or angle, of the pipe to move waste materials along. There are a variety of drainage pipe materials available, each with unique properties to suit different drain and wastewater applications.

For example, you’ll find polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, pipes used in drains and venting systems, while copper pipe is preferred for plumbing supply lines. Each pipe has a different function, but both are known for their durability, resistance to corrosion and ability to stand up to high water pressure.

In addition to PVC and copper, you’ll also see galvanized steel and cast iron pipes in older homes. While they may be durable, these old pipes should be replaced as soon as possible to reduce the risk of leaks and water contamination.

If you notice signs of a drain or sewer line clog, it’s important to contact your plumber immediately. Not only will this help prevent a sewage backup, but it can also minimize damage to your pipes and your property.

Clogs are often caused when improper items are flushed down a drain. For example, food particles can get trapped in a kitchen sink without a garbage disposal, or hair strands and other debris can build up in shower drains. In some cases, large insoluble objects can even slip into toilets and cause major blockages.

A plumber will assess your home’s drainage system to determine the type of pipes it uses. A thorough assessment includes looking at a number of factors, including how long the pipes have been in place, their condition and whether they’re prone to rust or corrosion. Having this information can help your plumber recommend the best maintenance or repair strategy.

Sewer Pipes

Unlike drain pipes, sewer pipes carry waste away from your home. When you flush your toilet, that waste travels through the main sewer line to the city sewer line underneath your street, or if you have a private septic tank, it carries it to your septic system. The main sewer line can be made from various materials, but PVC pipe is currently the most popular for residential use. PVC is simple to install, inexpensive, and durable. It also has the advantage of fitting together tightly, which makes it harder for tree roots to enter the joints.

Other popular types of residential plumbing pipes are copper and polyethylene (PEX). Copper is a more expensive material but is stronger, doesn’t rust or corrode, and resists temperature changes. PEX, on the other hand, is flexible, easy to install and inexpensive. It can be used for hot or cold water, and is more resistant to damage from chemicals or sharp objects than other types of pipes.

Where drainage piping of different sizes meets, the joints shall be caulked with an approved sealant or by threading. Joints between cast-iron and other pipes, or between a PEX and another type of piping, may be made with an approved adapter fitting.

Any drain, building sewer or building drain connecting to a toilet, urinal or similar fixture shall be provided with a backwater valve. Building drains connecting to a macerating toilet assembly shall be provided with a sewage pump or a sewage ejector that automatically discharges waste from the fixture to the drainage system.

Sewage or other waste from a plumbing system that could be deleterious to surface or subsurface waters shall not be discharged on the ground or into any waterway unless it has first been rendered innocuous by an approved method of treatment.

The size of a drainage pipe depends on the amount of waste it will be carrying. For example, toilet drains are generally 3 inches in diameter while washing machines and laundry sinks use 2-inch drain pipes. It is important to make sure the piping is properly sized to prevent full-bore flow, which can cause the pipes to overflow and become clogged.