The Main Types of Plumbing Systems for Your South Carolina Home

Types of Plumbing Systems

Plumbing pipes will last at least 50 years, but this number could go up to 80 years or more. However, the longevity of your plumbing system will vary based on its type and the pipes that are used.

Many people don’t understand plumbing systems and how they work. However, it can be useful to know a thing or two about the different types of plumbing systems. Furthermore how they work together for use and waste disposal. This will help you make the right installations and replacements.

In this guide, we’ll tell you about the main types of plumbing systems that can be used in your South Carolina home.

Types of Plumbing Systems

There are 3 main types of plumbing systems that are used residentially. Here’s what you should know.

Potable Plumbing Systems

As the name suggests, a potable water system provides drinkable water to a household. However, the water from this type of system can serve many other purposes as well such as cleaning or bathing.

This type of system moves water throughout a building and consists of many different pipes that connect to a central location. The system connects to a local water supply and distributes water throughout a building.

Supplied water will be treated by the city and then passed onto a home for use. This potable water will be used by your sinks, showers, toilets, and other fixtures in your home. You can cut off a potable water supply when needed with the use of a water valve. After it’s shut off you then can measure usage with the help of a water meter.

A potable plumbing system will make use of many different types of pipes in the transfer and movement of water. This could include straight pipes, tee section pipes, elbows, and brass and gate valves.

Sanitary Plumbing Systems

A sanitary plumbing drainage system is a municipal system that moves wastewater to a wastewater treatment facility. The facility will then clean the water and move it to bodies of water.

After it’s cleaned, the water will transfer to a river or another body of water. However, some of it may be reclaimed and go back into your local community. This usually is only if itโ€™s up to the standards of potable water.

Wastewater includes any water in your home that can help with the many different activities that you do in your home. Water that’s used when doing the laundry, washing dishes, or using other home features will move into this plumbing system and transfer to your local sewer system.

Keep in mind that there are several types of sanitary plumbing systems that a home may have. This includes gravity systems that move water with the help of natural ground sloping. It also includes alternatives such as low-pressure systems and vacuum systems that use either electrical pumps or vacuums to move wastewater.

Stormwater Plumbing Systems

A stormwater plumbing system works only to move rainwater away from a home or building.

This system will include everything that works in harmony to move the rainwater away from a house and its driveways, walkways, and surroundings. This will include the roof along with gutters, pipes, and storm drains which successfully move water away from key areas of a home and divert it away.

Water that moves away from a home may go to a local treatment facility, but it may also transfer directly to a body of water. If you have a stormwater plumbing system that moves water directly to a body of water, then it’s important to be very careful not to pollute the water before it reaches its destination.

In most cases, stormwater plumbing systems rely only on gravity-based systems, but they may also make use of pumps to move the water to its destination.

Types of Plumbing Pipes

There are many different types of plumbing pipes that a plumbing service may install as part of a plumbing system. Here are the main types to be aware of.


Perfectly suited for water supply lines, cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is an affordable and durable type of plastic tubing.

These pipes don’t leave rust or corrosion in the water and are simple to install, so they can be a great choice for home plumbing systems. PEX pipes are also usually color-coded for hot and cold water, so this can add convenience to your plumbing system.


Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes consist of white plastic and are a good option for waste lines. They’re typically best suited for low-pressure and low-temperature applications and work well for drainage and waste.

The installation of PVC pipes is fairly simple and they’re also affordable and durable, so they can be a good choice for a home.


Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a type of pipe that’s made of thermoplastic resin and serves as a good alternative to PVC pipe.

These pipes are black and can serve well in similar applications to PVC such as for vent and drain line applications. These pipes are durable and cost-effective but shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight.


Copper pipes are a good choice for water supply lines and are typically used with sinks and showers. Durable copper pipes are safer than piping made of plastic since they won’t leak any chemicals into the home’s water.

However, unlike other types of plumbing system pipes, copper pipes are fairly difficult to install since, ideally, they’ll be soldered. They’re also on the expensive side compared to other types of pipes as well.


Although galvanized pipes were once used more frequently, they’re not as common in newer homes.

Galvanized pipes are typically used for water supply and drain lines, but they have issues that have made them fall out of favor compared to other options. Although they’re very durable, galvanized pipes are prone to rusting, and installing them will be more difficult than alternatives.

Understanding How Residential Plumbing Works

Whether you’re building a new home in South Carolina or you’re making a full replacement, you should have a basic understanding of residential plumbing systems. Potable plumbing systems, sanitary plumbing systems, and stormwater plumbing systems will work together to provide your family with the water it needs.

Do you need plumbing work done in Columbia, SC? Contact us today to learn how we can help with your South Carolina plumbing needs.

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