In every home, plumbing is an intricate network of pipes. Every sink, tub, toilet, and shower is connected to a necessary spot to channel water out. When remodeling, asking, “Do the toilet and shower use the same drain?” is common.
The general answer is yes. That is, it is possible for the shower and the toilet to share the same drain (but not connected directly to each other). However, they must not share the same waste trap (a pipe designed to prevent unwanted flow).
Are you considering remodeling your bathroom or simply looking to work on your bathroom? This article explains how toilet and shower drainage work and why they work that way. So continue reading to learn more.
Are the toilet and shower drains connected directly?
There are a lot of misconceptions about whether the toilet and shower drains are connected directly. The simple answer is no; they are not connected directly, as it is unsafe.
The plumbing for the toilet and shower is separate, but they are connected to the same drain system. This drain system is termed the main drainage for homes where all house drains or sinks are connected.
This includes your kitchen, tub, sinks, bathroom, utility room, etc. All the wastewater from your home connects to the drain system, eventually ending up in the sewage system or septic tank.
Why aren’t the shower and toilet connected directly?
Generally, the high toxicity of both water is the primary reason why the shower and the toilet are not connected directly. This is crucial to help prevent cross-contamination.
Some areas usually allow bathroom and toilet water to go to the sewer. In other areas, they require each to go to separate pipes. The wastewater from the shower is termed grey water and the water from the toilet is termed black water.
What is grey water?
Grey water is the water that comes from the shower drain or washing machine. This water will likely come with diseases but not as much as black water. Therefore, regulations for grey water are not as tight as those for black water.
That said, rules still exist. And that is, you cannot dispose of grey water in any location used as a drinking source. This includes lakes, streams, rivers, etc.
In most areas, the water from the shower is connected to a drainage pipe that eventually goes to a septic tank. This tank differs from where the black water goes, so it doesn’t contaminate the water.
The grey water is then repurposed to water plants (not fruits), wash clothes, wash cars, etc. However, certain factors are considered before using it on plants, such as; the type of chemical used in the soap or detergent.
What is black water?
Black water is the water content from the toilet. The rules surrounding them are stringent, containing urine and feces. This means the water could carry disease and pose a significant risk to all living things.
The regulations ensure that black water doesn’t end up anywhere it can harm people. That means they are sent directly to the sewer or in a septic tank (different from where the grey water goes) and sent to sewage treatment facilities.
Now, back to the question, why isn’t the shower and toilet connected directly?
The combination of black and grey water is highly toxic. It may lead to cross-contamination and expose home residents to diseases, e.g., cholera.
This is why the shower and bathroom drains must be properly set up. That means ensuring the drain pipes aren’t connected directly and that both drains have separate waste trap arms.
Can you put a toilet where the shower is?
Yes, you can. However, you must note that this comes with some issues. It may require extensive repiping and is not a simple DIY job. Therefore, you will need the service of a professional plumber.
Where does the water that leaves your toilet and shower go?
Depending on your area’s building code, they may go directly to the sewer or separate septic tanks.
How often are septic tanks emptied?
The rule of thumb is usually every three to five years.
Conclusion – Do the toilet and shower use the same drain?
Yes, the shower and the toilet use the same drain, but they aren’t connected directly. They only share a drain used by other wastewater outlets in the house, like the washing machine, kitchen sink, etc.
Once they get to this drain, they eventually go to the sewage system or septic tanks, depending on your area’s building code. This is because most areas use water from the shower drainage for other purposes, which I highlighted in this article.
If you are considering remodeling your bathroom, it is best to seek the help of a professional. Mainly because if the drainage system for your shower is not properly set, it exposes you to various waterborne diseases.
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