Have you ever wondered what takes place when you flush a toilet or wash your hands in the bathroom? Sadly, most people just know that they entered the bathroom to do X, Y, Z, what happens next was never something they even thought about! If you are a homeowners or even renting, knowing how things work in your house is part of the responsibility about being conscious of the things that surround you and your family. When a plumber walks into your house for example, he knows what he is about, but do you have the first clue as to how is will fix a leak in your bathroom or better yet how your bathroom plumbing system is outlined?
The proper functioning of your bathroom revolves around water and gravity. When water gets to your bathroom it can either get there by direct or indirect means. When it is distributed throughout your house directly, this means that it comes from the main source and is delivered throughout the different outlets in the house.
The indirect system however is when the water reaches your house from the main source is stored and them pumped to different areas of your house. Knowing if the water source is direct or indirect is important when it comes to calculating pressure and making certain allowances for the water to reach certain areas in your house. The type o pressure you get in your bathroom, kitchen etc., will tell a plumber if your water supply is direct or indirect.
The water that leaves your bathtub, shower and sink are all carried through a special line until it meets the waste that comes from your toilet. This line does not have any waste material and once an ideal slope has been applied to it, it will not allow any waste from the toilet to back up in it. You will notice from the figure below (fig.1) that the diameter of the pipe that takes the water from the sink, bathtub and shower is considerably smaller that the one that takes the overall waste from both lines. This is primarily due to what is known as ‘flow’. The tube that will receive all the waste material has to have a diameter that allows everything to pass. This calculation can be made from a worse case scenario or based on the guides that are outlined for diameters based on the flows that run across them. A worse case scenario is one in which all fixtures are being used at once, and seeing this is very unlikely most Toronto plumbers usually project the diameters to be used in a bathroom based on the overall flow that will pass each tube.
Fig1: Outline of a bathroom plumbing system.
The vent stock that is seen in fig 1 is installed to allow gases that build up in the lines to go out to open air. These gases are a build up of bacteria action in the lines and as such to avoid unpleasant smells, vents lines are installed to remove foul odor.
General layout of a plumbing system used in a home