In many ways, technology has enabled us to turn our homes from a simple structure with four walls and a ceiling into something that operates much in the same way a living organism does. This means there are various different systems within a house that all work together to make the house as comfortable and as livable as possible. Take away any of these systems, and you have a house that few people in developed countries would deem as acceptable to live in, while at the same time, when these systems are working properly, it often means that they are easy to take for granted. As a homeowner, it's your responsibility to know the systems that make up your home, as well as ensure they are properly maintained year-round.

Here are all of the systems inside of your home that can be visualized almost like internal organs:

The Plumbing System

When it comes to the plumbing system, it can be simplified down to two distinct systems - a system for bringing water in and a system for taking water out. The water entering your home is pressurized so it can crawl up the tubes and throughout the entirety of your home. The beginning of the process involves water passing through a meter that tracks your water usage. This is used by the utility company to bill you each month.

Any water that comes into the house is cold right off the hop, so if you want to use hot water, it means the water needs to be diverted from the cold water system toward your water heater. From there, the water heater leads to all fixtures and appliances that have a demand for hot water.

Now, what about the water leaving your home? That's entirely another story. Drainage systems typically aren't pressurized, with all drainage pipes having some degree of downwards angle to let gravity do all of the hard work when it comes to getting wastewater out of your home. A few things need to be figured out if this system is going to work properly, however.

Firstly, there are vents on your roof that allow for air to enter the pipes to ensure there's a constant unimpeded flow. Without these vents, manual siphoning would be required. Plumbing traps are the second important feature of your drainage system. These traps being referred to are the S-shaped sections of piping you can find underneath your sinks and drains. How the traps work is that water can flow through them and out of your home, but a little bit of water remains which functions to prevent sewer gas from backing up into your home. The drainage system uses a lot of natural physics knowledge to function properly, if that wasn't already readily apparent.

Thanks to these two systems working in conjunction, our homes have a seemingly infinite ability to bring water into our homes and dispose of it when it's no longer necessary. Our water can be heated and delivered anywhere in the home, where it might be necessary. Without this system, we'd still be stuck going to outdoor wells for our water.

The Electrical System

Electricity is a vital resource in our modern world, as it powers our lights, charges our phones, as well as helps all of our appliances run so we can relax, as opposed to slaving away all day with chores.

Your electrical system truly starts with the power company. Power is generated at a plant, and then transferred to transformers around where you live. From there, the power goes from the transformers into the many power lines you undoubtedly have in your neighborhood. Then, this power line goes into the meter you have at your home, which is used to measure your usage and bill you accordingly.

From there, the power goes into your main service panel. You might better know it as the breaker box. Electricity is supplied “hot” from the utility provider, and returns to the utility provider on a neutral wire necessary to complete the electrical circuit.

Within the service panel, you'll find your main circuit breaker. Typically, these panels provide for a 200-ampere limit before things start tripping. When the breaker is tripped, the electrical circuit is broken, and no electricity will flow. If you were to turn off the main breaker, all of the electrical equipment in your home would lose power.

All of the individual circuits are controlled by a single branch circuit breaker. These allow you to have control over specific subsystems of your electrical system so you can turn off one or more circuits at a time, while keeping the rest at full power. More often than not, it's these individual circuit breakers that trip as opposed to the main circuit breaker. If you've ever had to reset a breaker after using the toaster, the microwave, and a kettle at the same time, you've laid hands on a branch circuit breaker.

Moving away from the branch circuit breakers within the main service panel, there's wiring coming from each branch circuit breaker leading to different areas within the home. The wiring coming from here goes directly to things like light fixtures, appliances, switches, and electrical outlets.

Our electrical systems have been perfected over many years to be as safe and reliable as possible, with codebook changes coming out once every five years or so based on currently acceptable practices. Because of all of this development, electricians are highly trained professionals that utilize a lot of science and advanced understanding of electrical flow to accomplish any given job.

HVAC System

It can be easy to overlook just how much effort has been put into making sure that our ventilation systems consistently bring in fresh, crisp air, and also how hard they work to heat or cool the air they're circulating. Everything that has to do with the movement of hot or cold air throughout your home can be connected back to the HVAC system in some way, shape, or form.

Let's cover the heating system first. Hot air first starts at your furnace/boiler/heat pump. This piece of equipment functions to actually do the warming required. Then, this heat moves through the ductwork throughout your home through a series of supply/return ducts to whatever room hot air is necessary for. The heat moves to the heating distribution system, either by forcing the hot air throughout the home with vents or bringing them to radiators, which then exchange the heat with the surrounding area. The final aspect of any heating system is the control unit, which most often takes the form of a thermostat that can be set to whatever setting you'd like.

When it comes to air conditioning, it's the inverse of heating. With air conditioning, heat is taken from one place and moved to another. Central air conditioners work to circulate cool air through a system of supply, as well as return ducts and can help change the climate of an entire home. The same exact ductwork used by your heating system is used by the cooling system. It's just that the starting point is the central unit, and the ending point is a vent/fan as opposed to a radiator.

HVAC systems tend to last about 15-20 years at a time, but sometimes, some minor touch-ups are necessary. It's recommended to get your entire HVAC system assessed about once a year, with things like fittings or other small pieces similar to those offered by being replaced as a form of preventative maintenance. Thanks to your HVAC system, you're able to enjoy a comfortable temperature inside your home year-round. 

Maintenance of HVAC systems also typically includes the cleaning of air filters found around the system. This can often fix problems of poor airflow within a home. Whenever it's harder for the HVAC system to do its job in regulating the temperature of a room, more energy will have to be used to attain that temperature, which will result in higher bills at the end of the month.


These are the three major systems inside of your home that work together to allow you to live your life to the fullest. Without these systems, we would be spending a lot more time worrying about our basic needs, such as visibility, temperature control, as well as things like cooking and cleaning. It can be hard to conceptualize, but we've only had these systems for a relatively short period of time in our history. Just a little over a hundred years ago, people weren't able to take advantage of everything these powerful systems do to keep our lives moving along at a brisk pace. When you consider the fact that cooking dinner used to be an eight-hour affair in front of a cauldron, having to pay an electrician to fix a few things every so often sounds like a minimal price to pay.