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In the US, plumbing leaks waste 1 trillion gallons of water annually. That's equivalent to 40 million swimming pools. Most of these leaks don't even need the attention of a professional.
Armed with a wrench and a few plumbing basics, you can fix some of the most persistent leak problems. Fixing leaks yourself is economical, but you also need to know when to call in the plumbers.
The DWV has three main components:
Components of the Drain Water Vent System
These downward angled pipes rely on gravity to move water from the fixture and into the sewer line. By observation, you'll tell this system is more complex than the water supply system: Reliance on gravity has its downsides.
Their size allows them to carry waste without blocking.
Drain traps, also called P traps, are U-shaped pipes that prevent backflow in a plumbing system. These pipes also hold water consistently, thanks to their curvature.
How Does Plumbing Work:
Home plumbing is pretty straightforward. A casual gaze at the interwoven mesh of pipes and valves may seem overwhelming but bear with me. Understanding a few plumbing basics will see you navigate the mesh-like a pro.
House plumbing consists of two systems:
Water supply system
Drain-water vent system (DWV)
House Plumbing Basics: Water Supply System
Water supply is a system of pipes that brings freshwater into the home. The system is highly dependent on pressure. Water in these pipes come from one of two sources:
City water enters your house from a humongous pipe, 'the main pipe' that's usually parallel to your street. If your connection to the main has a problem, call a professional. Damage to the main can result in civil lawsuits and hefty fines.
Running showers and faucets are usually the first victims of low pressure—factors affecting pressure range from leaks to blockages. If a loose connection causes the leak, it's easily handled in-house.
Let's move on to the following system:
Plumbing Basics: Drain Water Vent (DWV) System
The two home plumbing systems don't overlap and for a good reason. However, there are bridges all over the home where the two systems meet. Plumbers call these bridges fixtures.
If you turn a bottle of water upside down, the water flow is rather hectic. That's what happens when water flows through a closed system; it's just not smooth. That's where drain vents come in.
Essential Plumbing Tips: Maintaining the DWV System
Clogging is the biggest problem associated with DWV water systems. Hair is the most common cause of clogging in the bathroom, but grease takes it in the kitchen. To mitigate the risks of choking, frequently empty clean-out plugs.
Leaks also cause structural damage. It doesn't hurt to call a professional plumber to look through your piping system for leaks. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there: 10% of US homes lose 90 gallons to leaks every day.
basic plumbing at the sink
Home Plumbing Systems
Plumbing in the home is focused on two areas:
Let's take a closer look at these two systems:
The Kitchen Plumbing System
The kitchen's plumbing is primarily hidden in the walls. The water supply system brings both hot and cold water to fixtures. Plumbing in the walls is another task best left to the plumbers.
The Bathroom Plumbing System
Bathrooms are heavily reliant on pressure. This system also has separate hot and cold piping systems. If pressure ever reduces to the point of concern, call a plumber.