plumbing basics

04 Mar. 20

Plumbing 101: The Basics You Should Know

The Plumbing Basics Everyone Should Know

A plumbing system can look and sound complicated, however, you’d be surprised that the basics of a plumbing system are pretty simple. Something so crucial to your home shouldn’t be so difficult to understand. At All State Plumbing & Heating, we want to help homeowners better understand their plumbing so that when it’s time for a fix or a renovation, you’re more aware of what actually goes on. As they say, knowledge is power!

Here are some plumbing basics for you to know as a homeowner.

Plumbing Basics: Two Systems You Should Know in Your Plumbing System


In terms of plumbing, your home has two plumbing systems. The water you use comes in under pressure as it needs to be able to rise to where it will be accessed. The main water line is usually located on your first floor or basement, typically it comes through your home’s foundation near the water meter. Also, it’s important to note that your main shutoff valve is usually located right where the pipe enters your home. 

It’s important to know where the shutoff valve is in case you have an emergency such as a serious leak or pipe burst. If either of the scenarios happens all you need to do is turn the main shutoff valve into the “off” position and water from the water main outside will stop entering your system.

Incoming water is divided into two lines. The water that comes into your house is cold and is immediately ready for use on one line. However, a good plumber runs another line that routes water to your water heater, which has a return line that carries the hot water to your appliances that use hot water.  

Remember that the hot water heater is regulated by a thermostat. So, you can adjust if the water is too hot or not hot enough. Our advice for the best economy setting is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. 


Wastewater is the water that leaves your home to a sewer line or to a septic field. This water is not under pressure; so, it flows because the waste pipe system is pitched downward. 

Here are some important things you should know about the wastewater, often called the drain wasted vent system.

The wastewater system uses open pipes that rise from your roof to allow proper air into the drain pipes. This allows the flow to occur in your plumbing system. The best example is when you place a straw into a cup filled with water but hold your thumb against the top. When you do this and pull the straw out, the water doesn’t drain out of the straw. However, the second you remove your thumb, the water quickly drains out of the straw. Your home drainage system works the same way!

You’ve probably noticed the S-shaped pipes under every sink. These are vital to proper drainage. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on them. When water drains from the sink, it does so with enough force to pass through the trap. The trap also collects grease and hair. The two most common problems in a clog.

While waterlines and wastewater systems are completely separate, plumbing fixtures are where the two systems interact. 

The simplest way to think of a fixture is that it draws freshwater from the waterlines and releases wastewater through the drainage system. Many of the most common household plumbing appliances have their own shut off valves but not all of them do. Since hot water and cold water come to a fixture as separate lines, there is a shutoff valve for each under the sink. So if you need to work on a fixture, remember to shut off the appliance water or shut off the water to the entire home if needed.

Plumbing Problems: Leaks

At this point in this article, we want to make an important mention of leaks. Hidden leaks are some of the worst and most expensive issues to deal with. They can damage important infrastructure in your homes like wooden beams, drywall and sometimes even pipes and other plumbing accessories. You don’t have to wait until you think there is a plumbing problem. Regular checks can help you spot problems early!

Fix a leaky faucet

Leaky faucets are very common and sometimes the needed fix is a new o-ring or washer. So, if you’re planning on fixing it yourself, first turn the shutoff valve into off position for the waterlines to the sink and stuff a rag into the drain. This is to prevent debris and other small objects to fall into the drain and cause more issues. Once you loosen the assembly, you’ll see the washers underneath the faucet handles and spigot. 

Sometimes they can become dried or chipped and then leak water around the sink, or they can shut off loosely and leave a drip at the faucet. Take the old ones with you to the hardware store, so you can find an exact match for your sink. 

Call The Best Plumbers

There will be times when you have to call an expert to fix your plumbing system. All-State Plumbing & Heating is the best plumber in Danbury, New Milford, Brookfield, Ridgefield and Newtown, CT. We guarantee results with our high-quality services such as:

We’re the perfect solution to all your problems in your residential or commercial building. So, if you’re looking for the best plumber in the area,  give us a call now at (203) 994-5202 or click here for more information.