Pipes are hollow cylinders that transport fluids and gases. Commonly used in industrial settings, pipes can transport liquids over long distances, or for irrigation purposes in agriculture. They are used in commercial buildings and homes, and are also used as exhaust pipes in cars, and for other engines and stoves to carry smoke and fumes out of enclosed areas.
Origins of Plumbing
The term plumbing comes from the Latin word for lead��plumbum, which until recently was the material of choice for pipes for many centuries. Because it was discovered that lead is toxic if ingested, virtually all plumbing is now lead-free.
Plumbing, in some form, has existed for centuries, with the first pipes being made of clay and straw. Regardless of the changes in materials and technology, the purpose has remained the same: to provide clean drinking water to homes and a pressurized waste removal system.
The first step in any plumbing job is to decide where the pipes will go, which is dependent on where the home fixtures will be located. It will be necessary to lay the pipe in relation to:
- Where they will be vented
- Where they will drain (the sewer or septic system)
- The water supply system (cold water storage and hot water heater).
Next the drain, waste, and vent system must be installed with a series of increasingly large pipes that are placed so as to work with gravity to drain waste out of the house. The placement of additional pipes may be needed to accommodate laundry rooms, extra bathrooms, outside sprinkler systems, even hot tubs and swimming pools.
Sometimes, pipes will make funny banging and knocking noises while in use. The most frequent cause of this is called water hammer, which occurs when water is suddenly turned off and excess pressure is created. This can damage pipes and joints over time, and can be corrected with water hammer arresters. Faulty toilet valves and faucet washers are often to blame, as well as water pressure problems.
There are ways to diagnose all these problems and also ways to fix them yourself. The Internet has a wealth of information on all matters concerning plumbing installation, maintenance, repairs, as well as access to buying different types of pipes, the needed accessories, how-to advice, and troubleshooting tips.