Do You Know About The Different Types Of Plumbing Systems?

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Plumbing is a necessity in the modern world. It allows us to remove waste efficiently and safely, have fresh water, and keep ourselves and our items clean. There are some differences between the types of plumbing (residential and commercial) that all property owners should know. Understanding the basics of the subsystems involved can help you catch small issues before they become huge problems.

The two main types of plumbing systems

To understand the intricacies of your plumbing, it can help to know which type you have. Homes typically have residential systems that don’t need to support a lot of people. These include bathroom fixtures, piping, main lines, and gas lines. Commercial plumbing typically must support more people and can often have complicated piping systems.

Residential plumbing

This type features simpler supply lines, gas lines, and exterior lines. Common fixtures that use the supply lines include bathtubs, showers, toilets, sinks, water heaters, and appliances like refrigerators. Gas plumbing fixtures include ovens and furnaces. Most interior pipes are made of copper or polyethylene pipes, depending on local codes and the age of the property.

Outdoor plumbing includes water supply lines for sprinklers, pools, outdoor showers, and hot tubs. Pipes are typically made out of plastic or drip irrigation lines. Drainage pipes are also included in outdoor plumbing.

Commercial plumbing

The major difference between commercial and residential plumbing is that commercial systems are used more often. Think about multi-story offices, hospitals, and schools. These properties need functioning systems at all times because so many people are using water. Here are some of the main portions of commercial plumbing systems.

  • Drains: The pipes that move wastewater from toilets and sinks are usually made from industrial grade materials. Smaller businesses can actually have plumbing that is more like residential systems, but larger properties require more complicated plumbing. Common household issues like clogs and leaks can still happen in commercial drain lines.
  • Water lines: In areas with heavy traffic, like commercial buildings, water lines can be constantly in use. This may not seem like a big deal, but it makes it more difficult to catch issues like minor leaks. This means that maintenance should be done often, not just once a year.
  • Water heaters: Many commercial buildings don’t need water heaters for showering or washing clothes. Instead, they often use instant-hot water heaters for bathrooms and break rooms. Larger, multi-purpose properties use boilers or other systems rather than traditional water heaters.

Subtypes of plumbing systems

We covered some information about the subtypes of plumbing systems above, but it can be helpful to know more about them. Each forms part of the foundation of both residential and commercial systems.

Septic and sewage

The role of these subsystems is to remove waste. The design of each is different and includes full sewage systems, wastewater, and onsite drainage. They operate in a unique way, especially when comparing commercial and residential plumbing. For example, on-site disposal systems use a leaching method, while piped systems drain water through different pipes to a common wastewater facility. It is important to know which type of system you have, but more important to work with a trusted plumber that understands your plumbing.

The water supply

This part of your plumbing includes the potable water that you use daily, whether at your business or home. The mainline, faucets, and appliance connections are all part of the supply chain. Common issues you may experience in residential and commercial plumbing systems are leaks and pressure problems, both of which occur somewhere in the water supply.


This may not sound like a function of a plumbing system, but waste gases build up in your pipes. If the pipes aren’t vented properly, it can cause issues with the system and potentially your health. The best way to prevent problems from occurring in the venting components is to have regular checkups and maintenance done by an experienced company. This entails different steps and schedules for commercial and residential properties.

Looking for professional plumbing services?

If you need maintenance, repair, or installation for your plumbing, Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical is here to help. We are located in Amarillo, Texas but serve the Tri-State area. You can reach us at (806) 376-8345 or Send us an Email for more information about our services.