What Is a Plumbing System

Real Estate Agent with RealMax Realty

Your plumbing system brings clean water into your home and whisks away waste. It’s a complex network that needs regular inspections and maintenance from a qualified plumber. 

Understanding how your plumbing system works can help you avoid clogs, hiccups and property damage. Here are three of its most important components: water supply, drainage and sewer. 

Water Supply 

The potable water supply system carries fresh, clean drinking water into homes. This water comes from the city via a water line, which is buried underground and usually made of copper, galvanized iron, or plastic. It arrives at your home pressurized, which is necessary to ensure that it will travel through your plumbing system without contaminating itself or your home’s fixtures. This water line needs regular inspections and maintenance from professional plumbers to prevent back pressure hazards, cross-piping, and back siphoning. 

A water supply system may consist of a series of pipes, pumps, and tanks that provide homes with potable water. It may also include a distribution network, water treatment systems, and other auxiliary equipment. In large cities, the main lines in this network can be arranged in either a gridiron or circular pattern. The former has a redundant design, while the latter is better suited for dense urban areas. The piping used in this system is typically made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is less vulnerable to corrosion than steel piping, but it must still be maintained and monitored regularly for any cracks or holes that can allow contaminants to enter. 


Drainage is the part of a plumbing system that whisks away water from sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. It's important because it prevents flooding and other serious problems in residential buildings.

Like water supply lines, drainage pipes are sized to accommodate the amount of water they carry. These pipes are downward angled and rely on gravity to move wastewater from fixtures into the sewer line or septic tank.

These systems also use traps, which prevent foul odors from wafting through the house. The DWV (drain, waste, and vent) pipe that connects each fixture to the sewer line is specially shaped to hold debris in place without blocking the drain.

The piping for a drainage system is usually more durable than that used in the water supply system because it has to stand up to corrosive chemicals and high temperatures. Still, it may experience clogs and other problems over time, which is why periodic property inspections and maintenance from a plumber in Geelong is so important.

Sewage Disposal

Besides supplying water, a plumbing system also delivers wastewater and handles sewage disposal. Sewage systems usually consist of a network of pipes connecting the building to a municipal sewer line or an on-site septic tank. It also includes a venting system, which keeps sewer gases from backing up into the structure.

The sanitary drain system removes wastewater generated by toilets, baths, sinks, and laundry appliances. Wastewater flows into the septic tank or a cesspool, where solid wastes are decomposed by microorganisms. The liquid waste flows out of the septic tank through a leach field, which is a series of underground tanks or pipes that absorb and filter the sewage water.

Because the sewage system involves hazardous substances, it requires regular inspection and maintenance from qualified plumbers. A faulty sewage system can cause toxic liquid waste to overflow into the ground, creating a health hazard. In addition, overflows can pollute the surrounding environment with harmful bacteria.


A plumbing system consists of pipes that carry clean water into and away from homes and businesses. It also removes wastewater and directs stormwater runoff. Residential plumbing systems typically link to city water lines or to private wells.

If your home is connected to city water, your plumbing system's main line connects to the municipal water supply and your meter. From there, water flows to various fixtures throughout your home. The main water line is usually made of cast iron or galvanized steel, and it should be replaced if you notice corrosion.

If your home is new, you may have a gravity-based sanitary system that relies on downward angled pipes to transport wastewater to the municipal sewer system or a personal septic tank. Most sanitary systems also include a trap that should be inspected regularly to prevent clogs. Vent pipes are installed to ensure proper ventilation of the sewage system. These are most commonly located in the attic, cellar, or garage.

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