All of Those Pipes Under the Kitchen Sink

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plumbing-home information guruHere’s how to understand your kitchen plumbing

Trying to explain the basics and intricacies of the water system in your home to a novice do it yourself plumber is as difficult to explain as if you were speaking to a man from the moon in Chinese or the Korean language.


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Three basic sets of kitchen pipes complement each other to accommodate the plumbing requirements of a house. The first two are the drain-waste and vent systems or DWV systems; and the last one is the water supply system. These three sets of pipes serve as the standard system for the “sink complex”. This is inclusive of the sink and its related appliances such as the garbage disposal unit and dishwasher.leak under kitchen sink

Before water can enter your home, it is initially held in a main source. This can be in the form of a main source found within your property or a from a public water source. Beginning at the water service entrance, the main supply line branches out into two separate lines. One line leads to a water heater and the other line holds water that remains cold. These two pipes are often positioned parallel and underneath the first floor level of the house. When they reach the section where a cluster of fixtures are located, the lines then run upwards through the floor or a wall.

If you live in an area with hard water – that is water with minerals dissolved in it then you may well find a water softening system as part of your routine. These use dissolved salt to solidify the lime type minerals out of your home water. Otherwise it may well be an expensive repair over time to replace pipes and fixtures clogged up with calcified minerals and hence slow and restricted flow. Sure you can dissolve away these solids in a water kettle with vinegar or a commercial cleaning solution .  However you cannot do this on a wholesale basis with your plumbing system. To save overall costs, reduce maintenance in your home plumbing system and keep the water flowing at a good rate in your pipes and piping invest in a solid water softening system. Also pay attention to its upkeep and maintenance by replacing and renewing the base salt on a regular and ongoing basis. Attention to detail pays not costs.

A detailed map of your current plumbing system must be studied well before you start the change. Ultimately the waste water must be removed from the home. Some such as rain water may run off via gutters to the lawn.  Others which require sewerage treatment systems must be directed to the city or municipal liquid waste disposal systems. Sewage systems function with a primary system whose role is to remove obvious solids be screening and filtering.  Secondary systems use bacteria to break down the mulch to its basic biological and mineral composition and components. Sewer gas gets carried out using the vent pipes. In drain lines and fixture traps, it is essential that atmospheric pressure is maintained before reaching its final destination. Each home has a main soil stack. Think of the setup as having two distinct and different roles. The first one, which is located below the section where fixtures are located, functions as the residence’s primary drainpipe. In the opposite end, it extends beyond the roof, and the stack functions as a vent. Each fixture has its own drainpipe which leads to a larger branch drain. This is linked to the main stack. When a fixture or a group of fixtures is connected to a branch drain, which is a long distance from the main stack, there needs to be a secondary vent stack that rises to the roof.

In the end although home plumbing may seem to be a complex system in nature it helps if you think of it all in simple terms related to plumbing’s basic function in your home, property or business office. Plumbing’s role is to provide water intake and provide an exhaust function for waster water in all its various forms.

Terry S. Vostor –  Furnasman Winnipeg New Homes, FurnaceMans Furnace Standards
By: Terry S. Voster

Watch this video about how to repair a leak under the kitchen sink:

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