spot the difference, soil and waste pipe analysis

Waste pipes and soil pipes are important elements of the infrastructure for any building and it is important not to get the two confused. While dealing with soil and waste pipes is best left to the professionals, knowing the differences is useful.

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Eliminating confusion

While both waste and soil pipes provide a way of getting rid of unwanted material from a home to a sewerage facility, a soil pipe is responsible for taking soiled fluids from bidets or toilets to the sewer, while a waste pipe takes used water from washing machines, showers, basins, baths and kitchen sinks. As pipes and plumbing can be confusing, for some basic tips on how things work, see this report in The Guardian.

A soil pipe will often carry fluid mixed with solids and is sometimes called a soil vent pipe. It will have a radius large enough to allow solid items to pass through it, and because of the gases that might build up within the pipe, it is vented in a particular way. The venting is generally near the top of the pipe or building to allow any gases to pass safely into the atmosphere. Safe venting is often a part of regulations when refurbishing or constructing a building.

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Configuration and specifics

A waste pipe does not need to be vented in this way as gas in the pipe is very unlikely. It may also be a smaller width of pipe, as it only carries water. While properties that are older generally have separate waste and soil pipes, some new properties may be fitted with a single system. With a single system, there may be what’s called a soil stack to assist venting.

Whatever system you have, it is a good idea to look after your pipes. Pipe protectors can help with maintaining the integrity of your plumbing system. If you want to know more about pipe protectors and their uses for your property, it would be worth contacting reputable suppliers such as, where you can get quotes and advice.

Using the right pipe for the right purpose, and having the entire system configured properly, is extremely important. If your pipes are blocked or leaking, it may be worth consulting a professional before attempting any DIY repairs that could lead to costly mistakes.