Plumbing is the skilled trade of working with pipes and tubing for fluids such as water, sewage, steam and natural gas. Plumbing originated during the ancient civilizations such as Persian, Chinese, Indian and Roman civilizations as they developed public baths and needed to provide fresh water and drainage. The piping used to convey the water and waste was often made of lead. Because lead is very toxic, nearly all modern manufactured plumbing products and materials are lead free.
Local plumbers install or repair piping systems, plumbing fixtures and equipment such as water heaters and boilers. A plumbing fixture is a device which is part of a system to deliver and drain away water, but which is also configured to enable a particular use.
Your house has several separate plumbing systems: Sinks, toilets, washers, bath tubs, and related fixtures. Plumbing is something we use every day and which most of us know little about. Shopping for your own plumbing fixtures rather than getting them through your plumber allows you choose from a wider selection and save money.
Plumbing systems are composed of pipes and fittings. Metal or plastic pipes are joined by a variety of fittings designed to couple lengths in a straight line, turn corners, branch in two directions, reduce or enlarge pipe size, or connect to some type of fixture. Pipes are made from several different metals and plastics. You often can identify a pipe’s purpose by its size and makeup: indoor water supply pipes generally are copper or galvanized iron pipe.
The plumbing system in your home is designed to direct fresh water and wastewater to where you want it to go, without incident. You want wastewater to leave your home down a drain instead of overflow into your home and you want fresh water to come out of a spout rather than leaking somewhere within the walls. The plumbing trade has adopted a number of basic strategies and conventions to keep water controlled and go where we want it. It is a good idea to understand how your plumbing system works before tackling any plumbing project.
If your plumbing fixtures drain slowly, the problem may be a clogged vent. This happens when vents are improperly located and when birds or animals deposit debris in the vent where it exits the roof.
Whatever your intended plumbing projects, the first step is to familiarize yourself with the water system in your home. At the very least it is important to know where to switch off the mains in case of an emergency.