Types of Plumbing

Plumbing is the system that conveys water for a wide range of applications. Its components include pipes, valves, fixtures and tanks.

Cleveland Plumbing systems work by gravity, allowing wastewater and sewage to flow down from fixtures into larger sewer pipes. Vent pipes are also integral to the drainage system, preventing vacuum scenarios that can stop the flow of water.

Pipes transport water throughout a home and carry waste to the sewage system. The pipes also connect to fixtures like kitchen sinks, toilets, washing machines, and lawn sprinklers. Plumbing pipes must be able to handle a high volume of pressurized water at different temperatures. As such, residential plumbing pipes are available in a wide variety of materials and sizes.

Some of the most common types of pipes in a plumbing system are PVC, PEX, ABS, and copper. All of these pipes are designed to withstand water pressure, although PVC and PEX are the most popular choices for residential plumbing systems because they offer a combination of affordability and durability. Copper pipes are also a good choice for water supply lines, but they can be more expensive than other options.

When choosing a pipe size, it’s important to consider the type of threading that’s on the end and whether the pipe has a plain or special end. Threading is made up of small ridges around the outer edge of a pipe that fit into male or female adapters. This can be easily spotted by looking at the ends of a pipe or using a tape measure. Non-threaded ends are flat and glued, soldered, or welded to the pipe.

Another important consideration is the amount of pressure that will be placed on the pipe. Larger pipes can hold more pressure, but they are less flexible than smaller ones. This means they may be more likely to kink or crack under stress. For this reason, it’s important to only use pipes that are rated for the pressure you’re planning on using them for.

Other types of pipes include tee-type fittings and unions. A tee-type fitting is a piece of pipe in the shape of a T with one inlet and two outlets. It’s often used to join two pipes together, allowing the flow of water to be divided between them. A tee-type fitting can be purchased in a variety of lengths and materials, and the number of outlets it has will depend on the diameter of the inlet.


Pipe fittings are the parts that connect the pipes together. They can be made from a wide range of materials. There are three basic types of pipe fittings: couplings, tees and elbows. Couplings join two small sections of pipe together by threading one end of the pipe into the other. They are available in different sizes to match the diameter of the pipe. They can also be rated to handle a certain amount of pressure. The size of a coupling is determined by measuring the inner diameter (ID). Using this information, the correct coupling can be ordered. A coupling is sealed with a rubber washer or a metal gasket.

A tee connects the end of a pipe to a branch pipe that goes in another direction. A tee can have an inlet at either side of the intersection or a single port in the middle. The tee is usually spot-welded, but high-pressure systems may require a double combination wye to minimize wastewater flow through the inlet.

An elbow bends a pipe at 90 or 45 degrees. It can be used to route a pipe through a wall, to reduce turbulence or to reduce the deposition of entrained solids in long pipes. Elbows can be made from a wide variety of materials including acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyvinyl chloride, or copper and are available in a large range of sizes.

Some plumbing fixtures and fittings are made from brass, which is durable and corrosion resistant. Other fittings are made from plastic, which is lightweight and easy to work with. Some plastic fittings are made from a softer material that can be melted and reshaped to fit into a tight space.

The flange fitting, which is often used in hydraulic systems (such as those found on bulldozers and backhoes), has a flat surface that seals against the inside of a hole. This type of fitting is designed and rated for much higher fluid pressure than is encountered in general plumbing, so it must be carefully installed to ensure leakproof connections. It is commonly welded to the pipes it connects, although in some cases a special gasket or packing may be used instead.


While you probably don’t like to think about the putrid sludge moving through pipes under your house, sewers play an important role in ensuring that wastewater and waste are collected and safely transported away. These underground networks of pipes hold sewage (which is mixed with human waste), water run-off from drains and stormwater, and then convey this waste to wastewater treatment plants or disposal points.

There are three main types of sewer systems: sanitary, combined and storm. Sanitary sewers are designed to capture sewage and other wastes, while storm drains are intended for water run-off. The sanitary sewer system typically includes pipes, manholes, pumping stations, and screening chambers.

The layout and design of a sanitary sewer system is often determined by the topography of the service area. A well-designed sewerage system takes into account the natural slope of the terrain and makes every effort to minimize pipe grades. It also accounts for the necessary range of flow velocities to ensure adequate scouring of solids and to prevent abrasion of the pipe walls.

In many cases, it’s not practical or cost-effective to reduce the slope of a sewer line. To overcome this, engineers can use a technique called inverted siphoning. This involves lowering a section of the pipe beneath a depressed topographic feature, such as a river or stream. It then rises back up to the hydraulic grade line.

Despite their vital functions, buried sewer pipes are rarely seen by homeowners. Getting a close look at them is usually only required when one of your toilets won’t flush or you notice wastewater backing up from a drain.

While most sewer pipes are buried, they aren’t immune to damage and wear over time. Sewer pipe maintenance is an essential part of extending the life of your plumbing system and minimizing downtime caused by damage or blockages.

At Lowe’s, we have everything you need to keep your sanitary and storm sewer lines in good condition. In addition to plastic sewer pipe in a variety of lengths, we carry fittings, including elbows, tees, adapters and couplings. We also have sewer covers, which are used to cover and protect openings in a sewer system. These covers can help deter vandalism and intruders, and they’re available with a variety of lockable options to protect your privacy.


Drains are used in the treatment of infection or abscesses. They are typically percutaneous, meaning they are placed through the skin and then connected to a collection bag that creates negative pressure that draws fluid out of the body. They may be Jackson-Pratt or hemovac drains and are usually left in place for one day to three weeks depending on the surgery (1). These drains require close monitoring for signs of infection at the insertion site and emptying when directed. They should be monitored for drainage, color, odor and other symptoms such as fever, pain, swelling or redness (2).

Infection at the drain insertion site is a significant risk. Nursing responsibilities are to observe the site daily, change the dressing and empty the drain when directed by the surgeon (3). Nursing also is responsible for maintaining proper aseptic technique while changing the drain and keeping a record of the time the drainage tubing is removed from the patient (4).

There are several different types of drain fittings including long-sweep elbows, straight tees, and sanitary tees. Long-sweep elbows make a 90-degree bend in a longer arc than traditional elbows for smoother water flow. Straight tees perform the same function as regular tees for water lines but are commonly used in vents and for connecting vertical drains to horizontal ones (5). Sanitary tees, known as a santee, have a “sweeping” port that promotes water flow in the direction of the sweep and are traditionally used to connect horizontal waste to vertical stacks (6).

The ends of all drains shall be sealed. This is done by using a sealant that complies with ASTM D 2657 or the manufacturer’s instructions. Mechanical joints in drain piping shall be made with tools specifically designed for the operation. All joints in the drainage system shall be heated to a melting point, melted and allowed to cool before being clamped together (e).

The ends of all drains and the bottom of building sewers must be terminated with an approved plug or cap to prevent backflow. Dead ends in drain piping are prohibited unless they are approved by the architect and constructed to comply with ASTM D 3034 and CSA B602. The exception is for cleanout extensions and approved future fixture drainage piping which are not permitted as a dead end.