Plumbing Systems: Introduction

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From fixing a faucet to putting in a shower, you can learn the steps one at a time. Start with a look at plumbing codes and permits and the tools you will need. Find out about your water meter, vents, traps, sump pumps, and more.

If you’ve hired a plumber lately, you know that it's an expensive proposition. If this guide can help you handle even the simple plumbing problems yourself, it may save you a lot of money over the next few years. Even if you’re not concerned about the plumber’s fees, you may have other good reasons for learning to handle some basic jobs on your own—like the toilet that overflows on Sun day morning or the pipes you want to keep from freezing. Or maybe you just like knowing how to do things for yourself.

It is possible for you to do virtually all the necessary plumbing in your house. Maybe not right now, but with this guide and the will to do a job, even the most complicated plumbing can soon be within your range. Even though the plumbing system of a house is made up of thousands of pieces, it's all put together one piece at a time. Anyone can cement two plastic fittings together— ask a ten-year-old child who builds model airplanes. And with a little practice, sweating copper tubing to a fitting isn't only easy, it’s fun.

Many of the procedures in this guide can be followed exactly in a step-by-step manner. But since every house is different and each manufacturer makes fixtures differently, you must study and plan each project carefully before starting the work.

What Plumbing Involves

Plumbing in a house is a system of pipes, valves, tanks, fixtures, and appliances for the distribution, use, and disposal of water, sewage, and gas. Plumbing also includes the art or trade of installing and maintaining such a system.

Every fixture in your house that holds water is connected to the water supply and disposal systems.

Most homes have three separate plumbing systems: a water supply system, a wastewater or sewage system, and a gas supply system. Each of these systems has unique properties and problems, but they have enough similarities that as you work with one of them, you will be gaining experience that will apply to the others.

The water supply system brings potable water into your house, regulates its pressure, and distributes it to all the places you may want it. This water comes from a public or privately operated water main under the street or from a well, spring, or other private source of your own. This system usually has a means of heating some of the water for you, and it may have the means to purify or change the water in other ways to make it more useful to you.

The wastewater or sewage system collects and takes used water out of your house and delivers it to a public sewer system or your own seepage or septic system. This system also takes the fumes, odors, and gases from the sewage and vents them safely through the roof.

The gas supply system brings natural gas or pro pane into your home from gas-company pipes beneath the street or your own tank and distributes it to appliances throughout the house.

This guide will show you all the plumbing that's hid den under the floors and within the walls of your home, how the pipes and fixtures are put together, how every thing works, and how to repair, maintain, and even ex tend the systems. It will also show you how to remove old fixtures or appliances and install new ones. For each repair or maintenance job, it will tell you what materials and tools you’ll need and give you step-by-step guidance, including simple drawings and diagrams.

Before you start any plumbing project, study each step carefully and be sure you understand it. Gather all the materials and tools you’ll need before you begin. Then proceed in a methodical, step-by-step manner from the beginning to the end. Soon projects that looked hard at first will look much easier, and before you know it, you’ll be tackling projects you never imagined doing yourself.

Friday, December 9, 2011 9:16 PST