How Your Home’s Plumbing Works

There are two basic systems to your home’s plumbing: the one that gets the clean water in and another that takes the dirty water away. They are connected in the middle by your fixtures: sinks, showers, toilets, and appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. Once it’s in your home, your clean water supply gets divided into the cold water and hot water systems.

Your wastewater network is also made of two systems: the pipes that take the water away and the venting pipes that keep sewer gas from getting into your home. Together, they keep your home’s water supply flowing safely for your health and comfort.

This home plumbing diagram illustrates how your home should be plumbed

The different colour lines in this drawing represent the various plumbing pipes used.

  • The blue lines are the freshwater supply entering the home.
  • The red lines are the hot water supply after it has left the hot water tank.
  • The black lines are waste pipes (greywater and sewage).
  • The yellow lines are the venting pipes; these enable air and gasses to escape the system.

Depending on how old your home is and how many owners it has had, the plumbing may not be as straightforward as this picture shows. This is why sometimes a “simple” plumbing issue may not be as simple as first anticipated, as, unlike in this picture, we have walls covering most pipes.

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