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How to inspect your plumbing


There are two basic kinds of pipes in a plumbing system: supply pipes and drain pipes. Supply pipes are always full of water under pressure and drain pipes (which include vent pipes that only move air) are empty when not in use. Supply pipes usually are 1/2” or 3/4” in diameter and drain pipes are any- where from 1½” to 4” or more. The largest drain pipes are the main drain stack (multi-level houses) and horizontal house drains fed by branch lines.

 

In your basement, branch drain lines run horizon- rally at a very low slope and ultimately feed into the main drain stack or house drain. They enter the basement through the floor, usually directly under walls. Look for moisture or discoloration around joints. On copper supply lines, visually inspect the soldered joints for pinholes or other signs of deterioration.

 

Trace hot water pipes from the water heater (the outlet side will be labeled “Hot” on the appliance). Hot supply lines will be hot to the touch when the fixture they connect to is in use.

 

To identify which supply pipes feed which fixture, you can sometimes measure from the fixture to a heating register. Then, locate the ductwork directly below the register and measure our from it and look for supply lines.

 

 

 

 

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