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Understanding Your Home Plumbing System From Start To Finish

home plumbing
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Even the smallest house can have a complex system of plumbing pipes and pieces. But taking the time to learn about your home plumbing system will bring you up to speed in no time. Here’s a look at what makes up your plumbing system and how each part works.

The Water Supply System

Any home plumbing system consists of two significant parts: The water supply system and the water drain-waste system.

Your water supply system is usually supplied by the city and all your water enters through the main access pipe. All plumbing components such as faucets, baths, and showers generally make use of the same water supply. Controlling the flow of your main access pipe is done by the use of a shut-off valve. The shut-off valve is normally found very close to your water meter outside your home. Your home’s water supply runs along metal or plastic supply lines that end at individual fixtures such as your faucet or shower. Here’s a look at the main water supply parts in your home plumbing system.

Isolation Valve

An Isolation valve allows you to turn off the water supply to a particular faucet without having to turn off the main water supply. This becomes very handy if you need to work on an isolated faucet leak for instance. Isolation valves are usually attached to faucets under your sink and look like a slot-headed screw. Valves are open when the slot is parallel to the arrow sign found on the valve. Turning this valve to a 90-degree position will close the valve which stops the water supply.

Bypass Valve

Another important valve is the bypass valve, which controls the pressure in your plumbing system by diverting excess water flow. In the case of an unbalanced water flow, the valve bypasses water from the pump and directs it back into the reservoir.

Thermostatic Shower Valve

These valves regulate your water temperature. Without them, taking a shower would be a challenging exercise due to constant water temperature fluctuations. Thermostatic valves sense the temperature of the incoming water and adjust the hot or cold flow accordingly. They play the important role of ensuring that your shower is a comfortable experience.

Pressure-Balance Cartridge

Stable water pressure is another home plumbing perk that we take for granted. Pressure-balance valves or cartridges maintain constant water pressure to our showers and bathtubs. They do this by measuring the volume ratio of hot water to cold water and continually adjust the volume to maintain a constant pressure. Think about when your toilet is flushed while you’re showering. Although more water is coming in on the intake supply, your shower water pressure remains constant. This is the beauty of a pressure balance valve.

Fill valve

Fill valves control the water coming into your holding tank. When you flush your toilet, the fill valve opens the water flow and shuts it off again once the tank is refilled.

Fixing valve faults can get complicated when trying to identify which valve is faulty. It’s best to call on a professional plumbing service to diagnose and fix any valve issues you might have.

The Drain-Waste System

The drain-waste pipe system is designed to get rid of used water from your home. All your sinks, toilets, baths, and showers will have waste pipes that lead to the main sewage pipe which transports all your wastewater into the city sewage system. Here’s a look at the main drain-waste home plumbing parts.

Flush Valve

The flush valve is the part inside the toilet that moves the water from the holding tank into the bowl. When you flush the toilet, the flush valve lifts and allows the water to flow through. Flush valves come in different sizes depending on your requirements.


This is the curved section of your drainpipe that holds any nasty sewer odors at bay. Traps play an important hygiene role, and without them, your bathrooms would smell like sewage. Drain fixtures require “P” shaped traps, while toilets require “S” shaped traps. Traps are connected to standard piping via the use of trap adapters.

Drain Vents

Drain vents run from your roof into your drainpipe. They play the important role of releasing air into the plumbing system which ensures smooth drainage. Think about turning a bottle of water upside down and allowing it to drain at once through a small hole. The water flow won’t be smooth at all. Drain vents release additional air which allows for smooth drainage.

The Home Plumbing Experts

Home plumbing systems contain a lot of parts to make everything work smoothly. Trying to diagnose problems can become a daunting experience. Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric cater to every plumbing need. Their licensed plumbers have a comprehensive understanding of home plumbing systems and will be able to diagnose the fix your plumbing problem quickly and easily. Call them today at 1-800-475-1504.

For more tips and helpful guides, check out our Plumbing, AC & Electric Tips blog, or follow Art on Facebook!


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