Plumbing is a necessity in today’s world, with almost every building constructed requiring a system. Plumbers are in high demand in Australia, with their hourly rate going up by around 3% in just a year. It is based on basic laws like gravity and pressure, which govern the movement of water. By understanding the working of such systems, one can be self-sufficient in maintaining their home plumbing. Many of the “mysterious” fixes done by plumbers are often actually quite easy. One can also make informed choices when doing maintenance work. Some works have become quite common in certain areas, like pipe relining in the Eastern Suburbs.
Plumbing systems can be understood as a combination of two subsystems. One of these deals with bringing freshwater, while the other disposes of the wastewater. The water that’s coming in is under quite a lot of pressure. This pressure makes sure that the water travels through all the pipes and reaches all parts of the building. A meter is used to calculate the amount of water consumed. A valve that allows the supply to be turned off is also placed near this meter. This prevents major damages in the event of a leak or a broken pipe. These valves are also present for individual fixtures. Heaters are very commonly used to cater to the requirement of hot water. A thermostat is used to control the temperature of the water.
Drains are responsible for taking all the wastewater out of the building. It mainly has two systems – sewer and septic. Septic tanks help in the private treatment of this waste. In comparison, sewer systems are more elaborate and take care of a group of buildings. There are more than 700 sewage treatment plants all across Australia that manage a huge amount of waste. Relining services, like the earlier mentioned pipe relining in Eastern Suburbs, are also a part of maintaining sewers.
Drainage systems do not require high pressure to function. All the drainage pipes are angled downward. This is the case in both sewage and septic systems. Drains also involve other mechanisms like vents and traps. Vents allow air to flow into the system, ensuring the proper flow of water. Traps allow the siphoning of water. Traps are quite common and can be identified by their “S shape”. These traps keep water in them, preventing the gases from the sewers from coming back up the pipes. Toilets already have traps and don’t require additional ones. Drum traps are another kind that has been in use in old bathtubs. These traps also collect hairs and grease, helping in warding off blockage. Since the drainage system involves such parts that work together, it is also known as the drain-waste-vent system.
The supply and drainage subsystems are completely separate. There is no overlapping between them. However, bridges are present, which allow the overlapping of these systems. These bridges are fixtures like sinks and toilets. Washing machines are also considered fixtures. In essence, anything that takes in freshwater and gives off wastewater is called a fixture. It is important to keep shut off valves for fixtures. They are used to shut off the water supply during repairs and maintenance works.
The water required in buildings is sourced mainly in two ways – wells and water lines. Water lines often make use of clean water from treatment plants. This is the case in areas like the eastern suburbs where a lot of water from the Melbourne plant is used. Each city or locality has its water lines, which can meet all the requirements if one has a connection. Wells are also a great source of freshwater. Pumps are required to pump the water out of the wells.