Have you ever stepped into a hot shower, hoping to relax a little after a hard day’s work, but those annoying and intrusive thoughts stop that from happening? You just want to wash away the stress of the day, but you can’t help but wonder if there is a difference in the plumbing of your shower and sink. And there are– but what exactly are those differences? Well, we’re here to help you settle that pesky shower vs sink plumbing debate once and for all.
Is There a Difference?
In short, yes. There are, of course, differences in the plumbing of your shower vs that of your sink, but they aren’t huge differences. Both your shower and sink are connected to DWV systems, also known as drain-waste-vent systems. A DWV system is attached to all drainage systems in your home: the toilet, the shower, the sink, the bathtub, and other appliances. The drainpipes collect and drain the water from your appliances to the sewer or septic system; the waste pipes do the same with water and solid waste from your toilet; and the vent pipes allow fresh air to enter the pipes, exhausting gases coming from the sewer or septic system, and allowing water to flow more freely through the pipes.
Both showers and sinks also have P-traps, curved pipes in the shape of the letter P that hold standing water in them. This standing water is what exhausts any sewer gases coming up from the pipes of your sewer or septic system and stops the smell from leaking into your house. However, it’s not just the smell from the sewer or septic system that could be bothersome. Sewer gases can contain methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide, among other potentially deadly gases. P-traps keep those harmful gases from your home.
So What Are the Differences?
The main difference in the plumbing of your shower vs your sink is that shower drain pipes have to be 2” in diameter, while sink drain pipes are typically only 1 ½” in diameter. One of the main reasons for this is the rate at which water can or should drain in a shower vs a sink, as well as the rate at which the water falls. Because of the amount of water that falls during a shower, the water must drain in real-time. No one wants to stand in an inch of dirty water while they’re showering. Sinks, on the other hand, have a much slower rate of water-fall and a lower rate of pressure, and therefore do not need the same size pipe to drain in real-time as a shower does.
Shower drains also tend to be wider to make their cleaning easier. Shower pipes can easily get clogged with hair and soapy build-up, while sinks aren’t typically used for the same things. We’ve all pulled masses of soapy hair from our shower drains before. It’s not fun, but it’s a part of life.
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