If you’re like many other homeowners, you may not understand how the various components of your plumbing system work together. Learning how the system’s two different types of pipes function can help you cope when a clog, leak, or other plumbing emergency occurs.

Drain, Waste, and Vent Pipes

This portion of the system is comprised of the drain lines that transport waste water from your home’s fixtures and appliances, the sewer lines, as well as the vent stacks that run vertically up through your roof. Depending on when they were installed, your DWV pipes are likely fashioned from either cast iron or plastic.

  • Cast iron was used in homes until about 1960. Iron pipes are tremendously durable and typically last for decades, but they can eventually rust through and need partial or complete replacement.
  • Plastic pipes and fittings made from PVC or ABS became the standard for residential systems in the 1970s. During installation, they’re easily cut to length and cemented together by an experienced plumber.

Supply Pipes

These pipes deliver hot and cold water to the various fixtures and water-using appliances in your home. Since they carry water that’s under greater pressure, supply pipes are smaller in diameter and have thicker walls. The most common supply piping materials are:

  • Galvanized steel. If you have an older home, it’s likely that you have galvanized steel supply pipes. The galvanized coating protects the outside of the pipes, but over time the inside rusts and corrodes.
  • Copper piping replaced galvanized steel as the material of choice for residential supply pipes because it doesn’t rust. Although high copper prices make it a costly alternative today, this type of piping is still used in new plumbing systems.
  • Cross-linked polyethylene piping, or PEX, is a fairly recent innovation that’s faster and substantially less expensive to install than copper. Although a specialized crimper is needed for installation, this flexible material is easy to work with and it’s also resistant to deterioration from acidic water.

For expert help solving plumbing problems in your Indianapolis home, contact us today at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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