There is two types of plumbing that can be used to service a house. The drain-waste ventilation pipes and the water supply pipes. Other specialized plumbing systems, such as central vacuum systems, natural gas piping and central vacuum systems, are also available.

Water Supply Pipes

The main water supply pipe connects either to the main of your water company, or to a well on your property. This water supply pipe supplies water to your home. If you’ve ever seen a fire hydrant, then you are familiar with the pressure it exerts on water.

Water is drawn to your home and split into two systems. One for hot water and one for cold. Gravity is used for draining waste into the sewer. It is a vertical run of 3 to 4 inches of pipe that transports waste to the main drain. This drain is used to empty into the sewer or septic tank.

Vent pipes keep the sewer gases out your home and traps-water-filled bends in pipes-keep them escaping down the drain. Vent pipes can be connected to soil stacks or directly through your roof.

Different types of pipes

All plumbing systems have one thing in common. Pipes form the basis of home plumbing. A pipe’s size and material can indicate its intended purpose. Some galvanized, black and flexible copper pipes may still carry gas.

Large-diameter cast-iron, copper, and black pipes are used for drain-waste vent systems. Cast iron or plastic pipes with a diameter of at least 4 inches are used to service the main soil stack. This is where the waste and vent lines for toilets, other fixtures, and other equipment.

For venting other waste, pipes with a diameter greater than 1 1/2 inches are best. Vacuum-cleaning systems can use light-gauge pipes measuring 1 1/4 to 1 1/2″ in diameter.

Copper tubing, or plastic tubing, with a smaller diameter, is used to supply water supplies to hot water dispensers and ice makers. Brass fittings or plastic fittings are also available. You can also find flexible (sometimes ribbed) pipes. These include small wall valves, toilets, and faucets as well as flexible piping that can deliver gas from valves into water heaters or dryers.

There are many fittings that can be used for joining metal and plastic pipes. These fittings can be used to attach to any type fixture, turn corners or branch in two directions, reduce the pipe’s size, or increase its length.

Take a closer look at the most common types of pipes.

Rigid Copper Pipe

The rigid copper pipe is an excellent choice for water supply piping. It can handle both hot and cold water. Hard supply pipes come in three thicknesses: M (thin walls), L (medium wall thickness) and K (thick wall thickness). Type m is the most popular type of above-ground plumbing.

Soft Copper Pipe

Even though soft copper pipe can be more expensive than hard copper, it can still be routed with fewer fittings.

The two types of copper pipes are easily joined with either permanent soldered fittings or flare/compression fittings that can be disassembled.

Galvanized Steel Pipe

Galvanized steel fittings were used in water supply plumbing before 1960. These fittings are still common. However, they can get clogged up with mineral deposits and eventually corrode.

Threaded fittings can be used to make watertight connections. Vent plumbing may be possible in houses that have larger diameters of galvanized pipe. To prevent electrolysis corrosion, a dielectric union must be used whenever copper is connected to steel pipes. Although black iron pipe is similar to galvanized Steel it is not resistant and can be used to run gas lines in homes.