Plumbing systems deliver water to and extract wastewater and sewage from a building. These systems are designed by engineers, but must be understood by designers to know when locating or moving a fixture is reasonable or not.
Water is supplied by pressure through vertical pipes, called risers, to bathrooms and kitchens or wherever water is needed. These pipes are small in diameter and can go unnoticed within the thickness of a standard stud wall.
The riser connects to a horizontal pipe that then connects to a fixture. The more challenging counterpart is the drain, which uses gravity to mobilize waste down to the sewer connection. Drainpipes always travel downhill at a slope that is regulated by the building code for different fixtures.
The vertical drain that carries wastewater from sinks and baths is referred to as the waste stack; its diameter is small enough to fit within a typical stud wall.
The drain that connects to toilets is called a soil stack; it is twice as large in diameter and does not fit within a standard wall construction. Both the waste and soil stack must rise vertically through a building to the roof for proper ventilation.
Each plumbing fixture has an S-shaped pipe, called a trap, that prevents the water from draining or rising. The trap also prevents odours in the drainpipe from entering the room.
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