Basic Bathroom Plumbing
The water comes into your home either from a well or a city water system. Inside it feeds into two different pipes, one for hot water and one for cold. The water is heated by a hot water heater or a hot water boiler before going to your bathrooms, kitchens, laundry room and other rooms where you have water access. Both the hot and cold water pipes travel side by side throughout the house. Plumbing without fixtures connected is known as “rough plumbing”. All fixtures have standard rough-in dimensions.
Water travels under pressure. It is important to know your water pressure when adding or changing your fixtures, since you have to know if you have enough pressure for what you want to install. You also have to check to see if the pipes are big enough to supply the water needed to existing fixtures as well as new ones.
Pipes can be copper, plastic, brass or galvanized steel. It is important to check with your local building inspector and your local codes to find out what is allowed in your city and state. Older homes had a lot of galvanized pipe, but because of its tendency to rust and corrode, it is not favored anymore. Brass pipes as well as steel pipes are subject to leaks.
Copper pipes are preferred for water, but plastic has become more common. Some housing codes will not allow plastic, so make sure you check before installing any new pipes.
As the water pipes proceed throughout your home, they take various turns. Each turn has a fitting. That is where two ends of pipe are joined together.
All water pipe systems have valves. They control the water supply. It allows you to turn off water in one area without having to shut off water in the entire home. Usually sinks and toilets each have their own valves.
The waste system in a house is known as a drain-waste-vent system or the sanitary drainage system. The lines connected to sinks and tubs are called drain lines. The line from the toilet is called a waste or soil line.
The waste system works by gravity. The waste moves in pipes that are sloped downward. The system also includes traps which are designed to prevent gases and vermin from entering the house through the line openings at the fixtures. Traps are designed to be opened to clear blockages. They have a curved shape, so they can get clogged.
The main drainage line known as a “stack” is usually made of cast iron but can be made of plastic or copper. The branch lines may be galvanized steel, copper, brass or plastic.
Before starting a renovation or replacement of pipes, make sure you check with your local building department to make sure you are following the codes. If you don’t, you will have to go back are replace pipes before you will pass your housing inspection.
For steps on how to install most common pop-up drains please visit this tutorial on pop-up drain installation.
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