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Residential homes come in a variety of sizes, designs, and shapes so it would be hard to categorize them all. This is why residential plumbing is categorized instead. It is much easier to break down the different plumbing that is within the walls of the home. When categorizing residential plumbing there are two main types, which include branched and series home plumbing. Each of these brings water to the showers, tubs, sinks, and toilets but in different ways. Both have their concerns and benefits for a plumber. A plumber can easily test them to determine which type is in the home.

Branched residential plumbing

This system can have a variety of different designs but they will all share a similarity of the cold and hot pipes splitting and going into different directions. One example is a home where the cold and hot water come from the same place but split off for into pipes for the first floor of the home and then split off in a different direction to create separate cold and hot pipes for the second floor fixtures. This residential plumbing system is more efficient for providing hot and cold water to the fixtures that are far away but it does make it more complicated for plumbers to make repairs.

Series home residential plumbing

This is the simplest method of residential plumbing. With this system, the hot water comes from a hot water heater and the cold-water come from a ground supply. The pipes that the water runs through are side-by-side but separate. The pipes run the hot and cold water to the nearest fixture and then these same pipes run it to the next fixture and so on. Because this system is so simple it makes it much easier for a plumber to detect issues like leaks. It just requires a process of elimination because all of the water lines both hot and cold, are connected. One of the main drawbacks to the series home system is that it can take a long time for the fixture from the hot water heater to get hot water.


It is simple to test to see which residential plumbing system your home has. The first thing is to turn on each hot water outlet individually to see how long it takes hot water to reach the last faucet. Next, you will allow the pipes to cool down and then turn on the sink faucet that is the furthest from the hot water heater. Turn the faucet off and repeat the first two steps. If the hot water gets to the last sink faucet faster the home has a series home residential plumbing setup. If there is no change, it will be a branched system.

Types of Residential Plumbing