The Basics of Plumbing

The drain unter your sink

Hello Plumbworld customer

A shout out from Bruce!

In the wake of COVID 19, Plumbworld is experiencing its own transformation and I wanted to connect with you all again and tell you that not only is it business as normal for Plumbworld, but we have expanded our services substantially and would love to give you a free quote, should you be interested in any of the new services.
We have decided to start from scratch with our newsletter and blogs and explain the ‘ins and outs’ of plumbing, so when you do have a problem, you have some idea of what could have gone wrong.

Water coming in

The waterworks of your home have 2 completely separate subsystems…the in…. and the out.
One system brings fresh water in and the other…separate, thank goodness…takes waste-water… and all the er…waste…out. (whew).

The ‘in’ water is under pressure because it may have to travel upstairs, or even uphill,- if you live on one, and on its way into your home it goes through a meter, so the water department can see how much you use and bill you accordingly.  What is helpful to note is that if you have a burst pipe, and water pouring over your floor, the main shut-off tap will be located near the meter.  (Pause here while I recommend you go and check to see where yours is).  This is what you will turn off, while you wait for us to rush to you. (Some fixtures have individual valves that we can turn off to work on the problem, so you can still pour water into the kettle and have that much needed cup of ‘destress’ camomile tea).

The cold water that comes in from the main lines, can be used immediately, but in order not to freeze your….toes…off, some of the water, for comfort and warmth, is diverted into your geyser for heating, and then more pipes take the hot water to the hot water fixtures.

In order not to waste electricity, or endure luke-warm showers, there is a thermostat located at your geyser, where you can set the temperature. (Around 120 degrees F, or 48.9 degrees Celsius). To save money you may want to adjust this a touch and turn it down in summer.

Appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines have their own thermostats, so draw in only cold water, and heat it within the appliance.  Dishwashers particularly, need very hot water to cut the grease.
Water (and stuff) going out
Under your basin or sink, is a weird shaped, curved pipe, that acts as the drain.  The reason it has the loop in it, is so that one can rescue important items like wedding rings that we may inadvertently wash down the drain and need to recover, before they join the wash of waste and are gone forever. (Actually, there is a more important reason explained later)

Basin drains look like the picture below.
Not all traps have that useful clean-out plug though.
Even homes that have French drains or septic systems, run on the same concept.
Unlike water coming in, drainage is not under pressure.  This is a great relief because we have all seen those fountains spewing water all over the road… and fortunately this is clean water.  The drainage spills tend to seep more slowly. (Not slowly enough as any cyclist riding through suspicious water will tell you). But what this means in the house, is that all sewage and drainage pipes need to be sloped, or angled downwards, so the waste can flow towards gravity.

Waste flows down towards the main sewage lines or towards your septic tank.  Good when the run is clear… not so good when it is blocked with unmentionables. (Wait… I better mention them after all: sanitary towels, nappies, wet wipes, used condoms, sweetie papers and other non-degradable items.  Always better to wrap and throw those away in special baggies, so you don’t scare the dustbin collectors).

Of course, I have oversimplified this.  Plumbing isn’t that easy, otherwise you wouldn’t need us at Plumbworld. (There are air vents and overflow valves and other important, but obscure plumbing gadgets).
A bit more interesting information about the design of sink traps

These are very important and the shape is essential.  We want enough water to flow out through the drain pipe but some water must remain in the shaped trap, to prevent smelly sewage gas from leaking into your home.  Every fixture must have this trap.
Toilets are self-trapped so don’t need another trap and baths also have a different trap… called a drum trap, that will prevent smelly gas, and also catch hair and toenail clippings.  Note to self: Very important to clean out the plugs regularly.  It’s a bit icky but just use some toilet paper to clean the plug and then throw it away (don’t flush it down the toilet).
Anyway, enough about toilet matters. I will see you again in a few months. 

Don’t forget to check out our services.
Chat soon

Author: Plumbworld

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