Plumbing - simple definition
Plumbing (which comes from the Latin word plumbum, which means lead, as pipes were once made from lead) is the job of working with pipes, tubing and plumbing fixtures for drinking water systems and getting rid of waste. A plumber is someone who fixes or puts in piping systems, plumbing fixtures and equipment such as water heaters. Many plumbers are construction workers. The plumbing industry is an important part of every developed economy because people need clean water and safe ways to move and store waste.
Plumbing also refers to a system of pipes and fixtures put in a building to move water and the get rid of waste that is in water. Plumbing is different from water and sewage systems because plumbing system serves one building, while water and sewage systems serve a group of buildings or a city.
Plumbing - what materials are we using?
Water systems in ancient times used gravity to move water. They used pipes or channels usually made of clay, lead, bamboo or stone. Today, water-supply systems use a network of high-pressure pumps, and pipes are now made of copper, brass, plastic, or other nontoxic material. Drain and vent lines are made of plastic, steel, cast-iron, and lead. Lead is not used in pipes today because it can be poisonous.
The 'straight' sections of plumbing systems are of pipe or tube. A pipe is usually made by casting or welding, where a tube is made through extrusion. Pipe usually has thicker walls and may be threaded or welded, where tubes have thinner walls, and needs special joining techniques such as 'brazing', 'compression fitting', 'crimping', or for plastics, 'solvent welding'.
As well as the straight pipe or tubing, many fittings are required in plumbing systems, such as valves, elbows, tees, and unions.
Plumbing fixtures are designed for the people who use the water. Some examples of fixtures include water closets (also known as toilets), urinals, bidets, showers, bathtubs, utility and kitchen sinks, drinking fountains, ice makers, humidifiers, air washers, fountains, and eye wash stations.
DIY - plumbing, and why it's not easy
When it comes to professional repairs done by specialists, you often wonder - "ha, I could do that myself, but now I need to pay anyway...". It is common enough way of thinking, but is it really true?
Experts in their fields make it look like it is easy, but only because they have years of experience. Because of it, they were able to deduce what the problem is quickly, and if it is easy to fix, they make it look like it's nothing. It may escape your attention, but they more often than not, use special tools when doing so.
Simple wrench and hammer are common household items, but what about thread seal tape? Or do you really want to buy whole package od putty, just to seal one small hole? These are the things that seperate experts in their fields from weekend handyman. Other than that, they are also the reasons why you call in a real plumber, once in a while.