Knowing the basics of the plumbing system of a house is useful if you own your home. While homes are built to last, things do break down over time and eventually need fixing and replacing.
The most basic aspect of any plumbing system is going to be water that comes into your property and then also leaves it. That means that your home has two connections to a water source. In many cases, the connections are two municipal water supplies and a sewer service, but you might also draw water from a well and then only connect to sewer disposal. In a rural area, you might just have a well and a septic tank, and not have any connections to other sources.
Once in your home, water is routed in two different ways. The first is the breakdown of hot versus cold. Cold water should be available to all fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms, as well as the laundry area and any outdoor hoses or sprinklers. Some water would also be sent to a hot water tank that heats water for sinks and showers, and possibly a washing machine.
In most cases, all wastewater is treated the same and just sent together to the septic tank, municipal connection, or other disposal solution.
Knowing where all these pipes are in your home matters, as it can help you determine if wet spots or leaks in ceilings and walls are from plumbing or leaks in the roof or foundation. In many cases, you can just get under a cabinet or tweak a fixture and stop water at the source. In other cases, contractors might need to come in and remove drywall that might not last longer by dry, and fix the pipes themselves before putting drywall back up. That can involve losing the use of room for a while, moving furniture, and even repainting a whole room once done. However, such issues must be dealt with for a home to stay safe and up to code.
Knowing the basics of the plumbing system of a house is not just useful information for homeowners. Even if you rent a home, condo, or apartment and are not personally responsible for the maintenance of the property, being able to spot issues in advance and prevent them minimizes any disruption to your comfort and lifestyle.