Understanding the Basics of How Plumbing System Works


Most people will admit to knowing little about plumbing. At the mention of plumbing systems, what comes to mind is the complex network of fittings, pipes, tanks, and heating systems in buildings. You just need to turn the tap on and water comes out, or flush the toilet and waste water goes away. These seemingly simple tasks are supported by an elaborate system.

The Plumbing System

Plumbers hold the opinion that it is always advisable to engage professionals for residential or commercial plumbing works because plumbing systems can be complicated and costly. Plumbing systems designed and installed by professionals have fewer problems. Laws of nature like pressure, gravity, and water seeking its own level are some of the basics of plumbing.

London Plumbers hold the opinion that it is always advisable to engage professionals for residential or commercial plumbing works because plumbing systems can be complicated and costly.

All plumbing systems fall into two broad categories, namely:

  • Water supply system
  • Drain-water vent system

Water Supply System

This is also known as the potable water system. It incorporates all the pipes and distribution channels that bring water into a residential or commercial building.

Water Supply System Sources

Community Water

Community water like a town or city water distributes water to clients within a specific area through the main source. The water in the pipes is usually at high pressure. Individual structures use a single pipe to access the water from the main.

Underground Wells

Freshwater pumped at high pressure from underground wells is used by those who cannot access community water.

Water Supply System Components

Water Meter

Water meters are fitted on the pipe that brings water from the main. They keep track of how much water has been used. In most cases, the water meter is owned by the utility company that supplies the water.

Water Main Shut-off Valve

This is a valve on the main that allows a user to shut off their water supply when necessary. It is necessary to know where this valve is and how to safely shut it off in case of emergencies.

Stop Valves

Individual stop valves are located near plumbing installations like sinks, tubs, or toilets. You can turn these valves off without turning off the water supply for the whole house.

Drain Water Vent System (DWVS)

All wastewater coming from a building is drained by a drain water vent system. Wastewater comes from the kitchen, laundry water, and water flushed in toilets or water from sinks. The drain water vent system does not overlap with the water supply system, and according to All Service Plumbers, the obvious reasons are that one supplies fresh water while the other system evacuates wastewater. The two systems meet on fixtures like sinks and faucets.

The drain water vent system is heavily reliant on gravity to evacuate wastewater. Points of disposal for evacuating waste include private or public sewage treatment plants or a sewer line.

Components of DWVS

Drain Traps

These are portions of plumbing pipes that are U-shaped. The curved part of these pipes usually retains a small amount of water. Drain traps prevent backflow and also trap escaping gases from the drain pipes to prevent them from entering into a building. Additionally, drain traps prevent plumbing problems like debris clogging your drain pipes.

Drain Vent

Drain vents are pipes vertically running from the roof into the drain pipes. They allow air to enter the drainage system for it to operate at atmospheric pressure. Air let into the system ensures drainage runs smoothly.

Drain Pipes

Drain pipes are usually angled downwards to effectively drain wastewater. Gravity is the main factor while laying drain pipes. Correct angles have to be used while laying these pipes for effective drainage. They are also usually bigger than water supply pipes to prevent blocking while draining waste wastewater. 

Stormwater Drainage

Modern structures have integrated systems that drain rainwater into disposal points such as sewers. Water is one of the strongest natural destructive forces. Stormwater can have devastating effects on structures if not drained properly.

Components of Stormwater Drainage


These are structures fitted along the eave edges of a roof to collect and discharge rainwater. Gutters are commonly made of materials like PVC and aluminum and have downspouts that redirect water away from a structure. Gutters help to prevent structures from damage arising from standing water.


Pipes running underground drain the stormwater into community disposal points like sewers.


These are mostly invisible because they run underground.

Engaging the services of a professional plumber will save you from future extra costs to fix leaks. When plumbing systems are installed properly, there is good sanitation, structural damage is minimized and the risk of accidents is also reduced.