How Does Plumbing Work?

By: John Garcia | Date Posted: November 4, 2022

A home plumbing system comprises three parts: the water supply lines, the drain-waste-vent (DWV) pipes, and the fixtures. As plumbers, it’s easy for us to forget that people need to know these basic things before they can understand their plumbing systems. It makes sense to learn how plumbing works in a home. Once you know how your plumbing system works, you can call a plumber and probably tell them what’s wrong.

How Does Plumbing Work

A homeowner wouldn’t be able to help a plumber figure out what’s wrong with their plumbing without at least a basic understanding of how it works.

How Plumbing Works in the Home

Your home’s plumbing is not as hard to figure out as you might think. You must first understand that water enters one system and exits the other. Both of these plumbing systems can be found in most newer homes. In homes with central heating, a third system of pipes moves hot water from a water heater to the radiators.

A central heating system based on a boiler and heated radiators send a flow of water from the boiler to the radiators and back to the boiler to be re-heated for as long as necessary to keep the home warm.

In addition, all houses have a drain-waste-vent. Although it appears to be plumbing, it is actually only a collection of air that drains and flushes out of the bathroom sink, bath, and toilet due to the volume of water that drains out and flushes out.

Water supply system for intake

This system moves water from your main valve, which is likely buried in the street in front of your house if you get your water from the city. You should be aware that the water entering your home is under a lot of pressure, which means it will reach everywhere. Your water delivery system must give clean, fresh water to all of these areas.

Fresh water enters your home by the “main,” a large pipe that runs parallel to your street and is frequently enormous. To run a shower and to supply water to your faucets, you’ll most likely require a pump if your well is located in a rural area.

In most cases, you’ll find a shutoff valve either before or after your water meter. You can simply turn off the fresh water supply if you have a do-it-yourself plumbing project.

When you live in a home where running water and flushing toilets are essential, your water intake system is essential to your plumbing arrangement.

You’ll need a separate supply line for fresh water for your water heater. As a result of lower energy costs, tankless water heaters have become increasingly common in recent home construction, particularly in apartments and condominiums.

The water intake system is the most important part of your home to ensure that you always have access to clean, fast, cold, or hot water. This includes all of the faucets in your home, including those in the kitchen, bathroom(s), tub, and toilet. Water in your home should have enough pressure to effectively flush the toilet and wash dishes and other food items.

Drain-waste water system

Having flowed through and around your household, the water in your home is now deemed waste and must be removed. The water intake system ensures adequate water pressure, whereas the drain vent system is completely under gravity control.

Pipes that are responsible for transporting waste water out of your property have been slanted downward so that gravity can do the work. The drain-waste system in your home is more complicated than the system for bringing water into the house.

Various vents, traps (and other clean-out mechanisms) are necessary for this system to function properly. You’ll notice multiple vent pipes protruding from the top of your roof shingles. A “trap” (formed like a sideways “P”) is also found beneath all of your sinks. These “traps” are there if you drop something like a ring or an earring down the sink.

This simplified diagram of your home’s waste-drain system includes a roof vent. Once the waste pipe has left your property, it will take the waste water to a sewer or septic tank for treatment or disposal.

A “clean-out plug” is common in most waste-drain systems. You or your plumber may easily unclog even the toughest waste material blockages with the help of these clean-out plugs.

Generally, the drain-waste pipes are larger than the water supply pipes. Because they are responsible for transporting wastewater and other waste materials, larger vehicles are more efficient.

The experts suggest that there should be many more shutdown valves for each fixture and appliance so that DIYers and plumbers may isolate problems without shutting off the main.


No matter how many kitchens or bathrooms a house has, all of its piping systems may be divided into one of two broad categories: water input or waste water outflow. Vent systems need to be near the drains, thus, they should be close together (per local construction regulations). You should turn off the water supply before doing any repairs.

Shut off the water supply at the main if you are cut off “short,” as many older homes are. Incoming water pressure normally ranges from 50 to 60 psi, which means that you’ll be drenched even before you begin the plumbing repair.

In order to maintain your home’s plumbing running smoothly, the water intake and outtake systems work together. Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly “handy,” you should be able to figure out which part of your home’s plumbing system is malfunctioning now that you’ve learned so much about the fundamentals of the trade.

When buying a new house, it’s important to understand how each system works together and which ones may malfunction if you’re a first-time homeowner. Your first home should function well; this guide will help you get there.

Plumbing Tools & Equipment Recommendation

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1. DrainX Power Pro 35-FT Steel Drum Auger Plumbing Snake with Drill Attachment | Use Manually or Powered | Heavy Duty Drain Cleaning Cable with Work Gloves and Storage Bag Included

DrainX Power Pro 35-FT Steel Drum Auger Plumbing Snake with Drill Attachment | Use Manually or Powered | Heavy Duty Drain Cleaning Cable with Work Gloves and Storage Bag Included


  • Brand: ‎DrainX
  • Item Weight: ‎5.33 pounds
  • Size: 35 FT
  • Color: ‎Blue

With the drill adapter, you may use an electric drill attached to the spindle to power the snake, or you can use the knob to manually power the snake to quickly and effectively unclog domestic drain obstructions without hiring a plumber. Drain cable with a spiral tip designed to fit 1-1/4″ to 3-inch pipes is 1/4″ in diameter. Using this drum auger to clear a toilet blockage is not suggested since the snake may damage the porcelain. Another potential problem with a 3/4 inch pipe is that the 1/4 inch drain wire may get tangled up in the huge diameter The tip is 9/16 of an inch or 0.56 inches in diameter.


Drill Attachment for Drain X 25-Foot Pro Drain Auger Plumbers of all skill levels can benefit from the Plumbing Snake. Before you spend a fortune on a plumber, try these four ways to clear a clogged drain on your own. To unclog your pipes, simply grip the handle and turn the knob to drive the plumbing snake. Ideal for all types of drains, including those in the kitchen and bathroom, in bathtubs and showers, and in pipes leading to the sewer. Quality steel is used in the construction of our Drain Auger.

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  • This product makes it super easy to snake down the drain
  • The product is great
  • A very good investment


  • The auger wasn’t even attached
  • Cheap plastic.

2. Gorilla Grip Slip Resistant All Purpose Work Gloves

Gorilla Grip Slip Resistant All Purpose Work Gloves


  • Material: Nylon
  • Recommended Uses For Product: Plumbing
  • Special Feature: Heavy Duty
  • Reusability: Reusable
  • Size: Large (Pack of 15)

In wet, dry, and greasy circumstances, the polymer palm covering drives grease and fluids away from the glove’s core to improve grip. Superior dexterity and breathability in a pair of gloves Multi-Pack of gloves developed with the work team in mind: great for plumbing, oil changes, and wet surface work


From light tasks to heavy-duty projects, Gorilla Grip patented gloves are your go-to. Gorilla grip gloves are constructed of nylon and dipped with a specialized coating to keep your hands protected no matter the application wet, dry, or oily, we have you covered.

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  • These gloves are perfect for delivery guys.
  • These gloves are not heavyweight 
  • It protects your hands well


  • Low Quality and Poor Fit Compared to Retail Version
  • These were too small, and the quality was not as good.

3. EZ-FLUID Plumbing 1-1/4″ C X C Lead-Free Copper Tee, Pressure Copper Fittings with Sweat Solder Connection for Residential, Commercial Copper Pipe (1)

EZ-FLUID Plumbing 1-1/4" C X C Lead-Free Copper Tee, Pressure Copper Fittings with Sweat Solder Connection for Residential, Commercial Copper Pipe (1)


  • Size: 1.25 Inch
  • Material: Copper, Lead
  • Brand: EZ-FLUID
  • Color: Copper
  • Connector Type: Tee
  • Exterior Finish: Brass

Products with electrical plugs are designed for use in the US. Outlets and voltage differ internationally, and this product may require an adapter or converter for use in your destination. Please check compatibility before purchasing.


Copper 3-Way Tee EZ-FLUID Plumbing Lead-Free Stainless Steel or Copper Fitting. Cupro-Chromium Tee Compression Snug fit between two sweatshirts Copper PipeTubing Types M, L, and K.  POTABLE WATER SAFE; NSF-61 Approved EZ-FLUID Copper Pipe Fittings Made of Lead-Free Copper For Residential, Commercial, Plumbing, Potable Water And More and a copper sweat solder socket ends to fit a copper tube

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  • It works very well for plumbing
  • The quality was very good
  • Value for the cost


  • The copper was slightly damaged
  • The size was too small

4. POPULO Electric Drain Auger,25Ft Plumbing Snake Drain Clog Remover Tools, Cordless Drain Cleaner for Toilet, Sewer, Bathroom, Sink, and Shower 3/4″-2″ Pipes

POPULO Electric Drain Auger,25Ft Plumbing Snake Drain Clog Remover Tools, Cordless Drain Cleaner for Toilet, Sewer, Bathroom, Sink, and Shower 3/4"-2" Pipes


  • Manufacturer: ‎POPULO
  • Item Weight‎: 8.8 pounds
  • Package Dimensions: ‎18 x 9.85 x 7.5 inches
  • Voltage: ‎20 Volts
  • The 1.5Ah Lithium Ion battery pack designed with an anti-slip rubber extends the runtime and longer life has no memory, and is compatible with other tools in the Populo 20V Max system.
  • Clear clogs from drains up to 2 inches from ¾ inch wide.
  • Cable Auto feed and back, lock settings for easy operation.
  • Fast charger to get this battery fully charged from empty approx. 60 minutes ( for 1.5Ah battery)
  • Dual handles with rubber over-molded increased better control.


Populo 20V Max Lithium-ion Cordless Drain Auger is a significant improvement to manual or corded type drain cleaners, very convenient to use, and is perfect for clearing the clogs from the kitchen or bathroom pipes up to 2 inches. It is equipped with a 25 Ft. reinforced flexible cable (7.0mm), which will minimize kinking and can reach those hard-to-reach places, suitable for complex ‘S’ or ‘L’ pipes. This unit is a part of the Populo 20V Max System.

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  • Easy to clean.
  • Variable speed
  • Great for the nonpro.


  • Odd connection for the battery charger
  • Tried several times and just could not feed in.

5. Duct Clamps Extra Large 12-inch Stainless Steel, Gear Drive, with #2 Phillips Extra Strong 9/16 inch Adjustable Band for Plumbing, Duct Work, Dryer, Agricultural, and in the Home, Pack of 4

Duct Clamps Extra Large 12-inch Stainless Steel, Gear Drive, with #2 Phillips Extra Strong 916 inch Adjustable Band for Plumbing, Duct Work, Dryer, Agricultural, and in the Home, Pack of 4


Material:Stainless Steel
Brand:Color:Tech TeamSilver
  • 12” #2 Phillips or 5/16” drive geared-style stainless steel band.
  • 9/16 Inch wide #The 304 stainless-steel band fits hoses from 10 3/8” to 13 1/2” in diameter hoses.
  • #2 Phillips head or 5/16” drive screw mechanism allows for tightening in confined spaces for a leak-proof seal.
  • Pack of 4.


12” key tensioner-style stainless steel band for 12-inch dust collection hoses and 12” inch dust vent hoses. #2 Phillips head or 5/16” drive screw mechanism ensures a good repair with a tight fit. 9/16” inch wide stainless-steel band fits hose diameters from 10.375-inch diameter up to 13.5 inches. Pack of 4. Clamps should be doubled up on both ends of a hose. One with the key/screw on the left and one on the right. This ensures uniform tension and a tight connection in applications with heat and vibration.

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  • They do the job they were purchased to do.
  • This one does and clamps up tightly and is easy to use. 
  •  It opens and closes easily to put it over flexible ducting.


  • Much bigger than a description
  • Worthless in terms of money

Thank you for reading!


John is the founder and chief editor of Homienjoy. With over 15 years of experience in the home improvement industry, John is passionate about helping homeowners confidently tackle their projects. Holding a civil engineering degree and working as a contractor, project manager, and consultant, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Homienjoy community.

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