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Types of Plumbing

Apex Plumbing involves installing and maintaining pipes for water supply, waste removal, and venting. It is a highly specialized trade that requires extensive training and knowledge.


A plumbing plan is a blueprint that shows the location and layout of pipes in a building or house. It also includes the estimated length of supply pipes and their sizes.

The pipes that carry water to and from fixtures in a home are the backbone of a plumbing system. They deliver water, remove waste and handle both hot and cold water. Pipes come in many different materials, shapes and sizes, and can be a variety of thicknesses. The pipes themselves are typically threaded at both ends to allow them to be screwed into each other. Pipes can be welded together, or joined using fittings like elbows and tees.

The most common type of pipe used in residential plumbing is plastic. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes are familiar to most people, and are used as part of the water supply line, as well as in drain lines for sinks, toilets and bathtubs. These pipes are durable and can withstand water pressure and high temperatures. PVC is also easy to work with, and can be cut and bonded without the need for soldering or gluing.

Another common type of plastic plumbing pipe is PEX pipe, or cross-linked polyethylene. This is a newer, more flexible form of plastic pipe that has gained popularity among plumbers and DIYers over the past three decades. This type of plumbing pipe is typically used for water supply lines, and can be bent around corners to reduce the need for pipes to make awkward turns. This can lead to fewer leaks and easier installation, as well as lower costs.

Other common types of non-plastic plumbing pipes include copper and galvanized iron. While these are still used in some installations, they have been largely replaced by more durable and environmentally friendly options. Copper is durable and can withstand high temperatures, but is more expensive than other non-plastic pipes. Galvanized iron is similar to copper in its durability, but is more prone to corrosion and can rust over time.


Pipe fittings connect the pipes in a plumbing system, and they aid in changing the direction of flow, combining or dividing fluid flows, and changing pipe size. There are many types of pipe fittings, including elbows, tees, crosses, reducers, unions, plugs and caps. The right kind of fitting is crucial to a smooth, durable plumbing system. The most common types of pipe fittings are made from copper, CPVC, PVC and steel.

Pipe elbows are installed between long pipe runs for changing the angle or direction of the pipe run, and they come in two types – 90 degree and 45 degrees. They can also be straight or swept, depending on the sweep required.

The tee, the most popular plumbing fitting, combines or divides fluid flow and comes in a variety of sizes and materials. It is called an equal tee when its three connections are equal in size, and unequal tee when it has different sizes of connections. A cross is similar to a tee but has one inlet and two outlets set at an angle to the supply line. A reducer is a half coupling that maintains a diameter but is smaller than a full-sized coupling.

Caps and plugs close the ends of a pipe temporarily or permanently. They can be attached by soldering, glue or threading. Unions are another type of pipe fitting that perform the same duties as couplings, but they can be disconnected at any time. Clean-outs are a plumbing necessity, and they allow an auger (or plumber’s snake) to be inserted down the drain to clear out blocked or slow-moving clogs. These are typically located at regular intervals along a plumbing system and outside the building.


Valves are an integral part of household and industrial plumbing, used to regulate or modify water flow and shut off the supply in case of an emergency. They come in a variety of designs and styles, each meant for a specific function. The internal valve parts that come into direct contact with the flow medium are called Valve trim and are designed to withstand different forces and conditions.

Ball valves, for instance, are simple to use and relatively inexpensive. They work by letting water flow through two ports in the body when the valve is open. But if the valve is closed, it blocks the flow of water, preventing any backflow.

Gate and butterfly valves are more complex, but they offer greater control over water flow and pressure. The spherical valve body holds a fixed ring seat, and a disc-shaped mechanism sits on top of it. When the handwheel knob is cranked, the disc-shaped mechanism moves away from the ring seat, freeing up a larger opening to let water pass through. The valve also has a thin fin or wing on either side, which can restrict the amount of water that flows through.

These valves are used in a wide variety of industries, including pharmaceutical factories, oil and gas companies, and car production. They are essential in regulating and directing the movement of chemicals through pipes and systems. To ensure that they perform their functions well, they must be properly chosen and installed. Choosing a valve that is too large or small for the available space can increase costs and lead to system failure or inaccuracy in flow control. This is why it is important to learn the various types of valves and how they work before deciding which one is right for you.


Pumps come in a wide range of types and sizes to accommodate different applications. They all work by creating a difference in pressure that pushes or pulls liquids or gasses through the system. The most common type of pumps are centrifugal pumps, which transfer mechanical energy into the fluid flow through rotating impellers, causing them to increase their velocity and exert an enhanced force on the entire volume.

Other types of pumps include positive displacement pumps, which use the reciprocating movement of a piston in the pump cylinder to change the volume of the sealed pump cavity and realize suction and discharge of the liquid; and diaphragm pumps, which employ a flexible hose with one head open for air and the other closed so that electro-mechanical movement flexes it, allowing the fluid to enter and leave the chamber through a set of non-return valves. Positive-displacement pumps are typically used for transportation of oil emulsion without solid particles and mineral sludge, while diaphragm pumps are commonly employed when acids, bleach or caustics are involved.

When selecting a pump, it is important to consider the flow rate and pressure required for your system, as well as the liquid’s temperature, viscosity and any abrasive or corrosive substances present. You should also evaluate the pump installation and maintenance requirements, as well as the cost and energy efficiency. Energy usage accounts for more than 35% of a commercial building’s total water and wastewater utility costs, so it is crucial to choose efficient pumps. For instance, running two or more pumps in parallel can reduce the overall demand by allowing you to operate them at off-peak times. You can also control the speed of your pump to adjust the flow rate and to save energy by limiting its operation when demand is low.


Filters are a vital part of your plumbing system that remove contaminants from the water supply. They are available in a wide variety of designs and materials to meet your specific filtration needs. The most common type of filter is the sediment filter, also known as a sand or sediment mesh filter. These filters catch the larger pieces of sediment in the water and help prevent clogs in your plumbing. They can be placed anywhere in the plumbing system, but are most often installed prior to the appliances in your home that need a clean water supply.

A sediment filter works by using mechanical filtration to block out sediment, dirt and any other debris while tiny pores allow water to pass through. There are many different types of sediment filters, ranging from a simple fine screen to a ceramic filter with a very complex pore structure that removes microscopic pathogenic bacteria such as Giardia and cryptosporidium.

Another type of water filtration system is the carbon filter, which uses activated charcoal to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemical contaminants from drinking water. The resulting water is healthier for your body and the environment, and it can be used in all appliances in your home.

When choosing a filter, be sure to read the label carefully and check the manufacturer’s claims against the NSF database for independent verification. Sales people may be able to recommend a model, but it is important for you to make your own selection. In some cases, multiple filters are needed in series to ensure the optimum filtration level is achieved. This is best done with isolation valves added to the inlet and outlet of each filter, allowing one to be serviced without disrupting the operation of the other.