How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home

How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding and Maintaining Your Home

by Charlie Wing

Paperback(Third Edition)

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The updated and highly illustrated guide to understanding how just about everything in your house works!

The revised and updated third edition of How Your House Works is a hands-on guide that gives you the low-down on why your faucet is leaking, your dishwasher is overflowing, or your furnace is on the fritz. This comprehensive book is your reference to virtually everything in your house with richly illustrated explanations of electrical systems, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, major household appliances, foundation, framing, doors, and windows. This must-have book answers most questions homeowners face when repairs are needed or when a new house or addition is in your future.

How Your House Works is filled with easy-to-understand illustrations that show how things should be put together and how they function. The book also highlights issues outside the house as well as clock thermostats, ventless gas heaters, moisture and mold, and passive solar heating. Using the illustrations and the author’s clear explanations might save you the expense of calling a professional. This invaluable guide:

  • Offers a colorful resource to home electrical systems, HVAC, plumbing, major household appliances, foundation, framing, doors and windows, sustainability, and much more
  • Includes easy-to-follow information for troubleshooting problems
  • Contains dozens of new full-color illustrations
  • Presents new chapters on solar power and smart home technologies
  • Helps homeowners save money on many common household repairs

Written for homeowners with little or no knowledge of home maintenance or repair, How Your House Works is your illustrated and updated guide to understanding how appliances, electrical, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and more work!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119467618
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 07/18/2018
Series: RSMeans Series
Edition description: Third Edition
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 112,633
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

CHARLIE WING, PHD, is a nationally recognized authority on home building and remodeling, home repair, energy conservation and boating. He specializes in translating and illustrating technical information into easily understood layman's terms. He cofounded the nation's first two owner-builder schools, developed the first DOE-approved computerized home energy audit, and wrote and hosted the national PBS TV series, Housewarming with Charlie Wing.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi

About the Author xiii

A Note from the Author xv

Chapter 1. Plumbing 1

The Supply System 2

The Waste System 4

The Vent System 6

Private Septic System 8

Lavatory Pop-up Drain 10

Sink Drain 11

Plunger-Type Tub Drain 12

Pop-up Tub Drain 13

Older Gravity Flow Toilet 14

Water-Saving Toilet 16

Traps & Vents 18

Ball-Type Faucet 20

Cartridge-Type Faucet 21

Disk-Type Faucet 22

Compression-Type Faucet 23

Tempering Valve 24

Tub/Shower Control 25

Hose Bibbs 26

Pitcher (Hand) Pump 27

Jet Pump 28

Submersible Pump 30

Sump Pump 32

Pressure Tank 33

Electric Water Heater 34

Gas Water Heater 35

Electric Tankless Heater 36

Gas Tankless Heater 37

BoilerMate™ Water Heater 38

Charcoal Cartridge Filter 39

Tank Filter 40

Reverse Osmosis Filter 41

Water Softener 42

UV Purifier 44

Fire Sprinkler 45

Chapter 2. Wiring 47

Electrical Circuit 48

Ohm’s Law 49

Using a Test Meter 50

120 & 240 VAC 52

Circuit Breakers & Fuses 53

Service Drop 54

Electromechanical Meter 55

Smart Meter 56

Circuit Grounding 57

Electrical Panels 58

Receptacle 60



Single-Pole Switch 64

3- & 4-Way Switches 66

Ceiling Fan/Light Switch 68

Dimmer Switch 70

Motion-Activated Switch 72

Flush-Mount Light Fixture 74

Hanging Ceiling Fixture 75

Floor & Table Lamps 76

Fluorescent Lamps 77

Compact Fluorescent Lamp 78

LED Lamp 79

CO Detector 80

Battery Smoke Detector 81

Wired Smoke Detectors 82

The Smart Home 84

Chapter 3. Heating 87

Gas Warm Air Furnace 88

Gas Hot Water Boiler 89

Oil Warm Air Furnace 90

Oil Hot Water Boiler 91

Oil Burner 92

Fuel Oil Filter 93

Air-Source Heat Pump 94

Ground-Source Heat Pump 96

Ventless Gas Heater 98

Direct-Vent Gas Heater 100

Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace 101

Pellet Stove 102

Air-Tight Wood Stove 104

Electric Baseboard 105

Hydronic Distribution 106

Warm Air Distribution 107

Hot Water Radiant Heat 108

Bimetallic Thermostat 109

Digital Clock Thermostat 110

Chapter 4. Cooling 111

Natural Ventilation 112

Ceiling Fan 113

Whole-House Fan 114

Window Air Conditioner 115

Central Air Conditioner 116

Ductless Air Conditioner 117

Evaporative Cooler 118

Chapter 5. Air Quality 119

Moisture & Mold 120

Humidifier 122

Dehumidifier 123

Furnace Filter 124

Electronic Air Cleaner 125

Air-to-Air Heat Exchanger 126

Chapter 6. Appliances 127

Dishwasher 128

Front-Loading Washer 130

Top-Loading Washer 132

Electric Dryer 134

Gas Dryer 135

Electric Range/Oven 136

Gas Range/Oven 138

Coffee Makers 140

Microwave Oven 142

Garbage Disposer 143

Refrigerator/Freezer 144

Icemaker 146

Trash Compactor 147

Vacuum Cleaners 148

Chapter 7. Windows & Doors 151

Double-Hung Window 152

Low-E Windows 154

Window Insulating Panel 156

Cylinder Lock 158

Deadbolt & Keyed Knob 159

Garage Door Opener 160

Chapter 8. Foundation & Frame 161

Footing 162

Drainage 163

Radon Abatement 164

Slab Foundation 165

Crawl Space Foundation 166

Grade Beam Foundation 167

Full Foundation 168

Pier Foundation 169

Forces on the Frame 170

Beams in Bending 172

Framing Members 174

Post & Beam Frame 176

Plank & Beam Frame 177

Balloon Frame 178

Platform Frame 179

Advanced (OVE) Frame 180

Chapter 9. Outdoor Equipment 181

4-Cycle Gasoline Engine 182

2-Cycle Gasoline Engine 184

Gasoline Chain Saw 186

Gasoline Lawn Mower 188

Gasoline String Trimmer 190

Gasoline Leaf Blower 191

Cordless Equipment 192

Lithium-ion Batteries 194

Pool Pump & Filter 195

Lawn Sprinkler System 196

Chapter 10. The Solar Home 199

Passive Solar Heating 200

Solar Pool Heater 202

Solar Water Heater 203

Photovoltaic (PV) Power 204

A Homeowner’s Tool Bag 209

Index 215

Customer Reviews