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Plumbing Standards of 21st Century

When you live in the 21st century, you’re used to the comfort in all spheres of life. Plumbing is not an exception, especially when humanity can’t give up on this essential part of its everyday routine.

Unfortunately (or just the opposite), we are not born with the knowledge of choosing the best plumbing equipment, and we don’t know how to fix a leaking pipe right on the day we made the first step. 

Luckily (and this is beyond any doubt), we live in such times when we can find any information we need just by clicking the correct button. If you, for some reason, needed to know about the latest plumbing features — congratulations! You’re on the right page.

After reading this article, you will get acquainted with the key features of the plumbing system and the way it works. As well, you’ll know about the essential plumbing adjustments of the new age.

Even if you think you don’t need these water supply details, you never know when pipes in your apartment will surprise you with its leakage. Hence, why not read the article if you can?

PLUMBING AS IT IS

So, what is plumbing?

Plumbing is one of the house’s essential systems, without which a normal life of the house is not possible. It’s hidden in the walls and under the floor, so you may forget it exists until one day something goes wrong. The good thing is that in most cases, you’re able to fix the problem on your own, without calling a plumber, which is good due to you saving your money.

MAIN PROBLEMS WITH THE PLUMBING SYSTEM

  • A broken toilet — perhaps, the most unpleasant problem you may face in your house. Weird noises from the tank, a clogged toilet, toilet tanks dripping on the floor, issues with the ballcock assembly, little water while flushing the toilet bowl — are some of the most common reasons for your toilet anxiety. Luckily, you can solve all of them by yourself. Try to change the seat or the lid (or both of it), clear away the clog using just a plunger (but firstly ensure there is just enough water in the toilet bowl), eliminate the problem with a ballcock assembly of the toilet, buy a new toilet and throw away the old one. A little bit of patience and plumbing stores could be the clue.
  • Leaking pipes — another plumbing issue. Pipes can freeze, leak, sweat, and make loud noises. When it first happens to you, you may feel distressed, not knowing what to do. Insulating pipes is one of the ways of dealing with their leakage and sweat (and your stress caused by it). But before doing it, you have to make pipes as dry as they can be. If you saw water leaking out of the pipe, take off that leaking part of the pipe and substitute it with a new one. Thawing pipes help to unfreeze them. You can use a hairdryer, or heat lamp, or an electric iron for this. To get rid of the noise in pipes, prevent them from banging from whatever they are thumping of. Anything you might need for fixing problems with pipes can be found at the hardware store.
  • Damaged tubs, sinks, and drains — for fixing this, try to clear the sink, seal the tub, or replace the faucet. For eliminating the clog in the drain, you can find a simple remedy on the internet. For example, put ½ cup of baking soda in the drain, and after that, add ½ cup of vinegar. For fixing a faucet, changing the washer, or repairing a seat can be just enough. For fixing a showerhead, use the joint tape to wrap it around that place on the showerhead which is leaking. For fixing a spray hose, clean the aerator from the sludge and dirt. For sealing plumbing fixtures, you can use a bathtub caulk or a silicone caulk to improve the leaking situation. After all, you never know what precisely might help you!

Now, after talking about the plumbing and ways of dealing with the plumbing system issues, let’s cover another topic: two subsystems forming the plumbing system. Two subsystems without which the plumbing system would be pointless.

PLUMBING SUBSYSTEMS

It’s not the secret that the plumbing system is responsible for bringing the freshwater into the house and disposing of the sewage after that. Two plumbing subsystems exist to bring this into action. The existence of one of them completes the existence of another one. Both of them can not work at full capacity without each other.

1.   SUPPLY SYSTEMS

Water, coming into the house, is under pressure, so the pressure must be enough to deliver it even to the furthest corners of your habitation. When water is in the house, it has to cross the counter, which later shows the total amount of water you use on a daily basis. The valve, which is considered to stop the water supply in emergency situations, can be found right near the counter. The great responsibility lies on this valve, as it’s the only thing that can stop the water in a critical moment, thus saving you from flooding not only yours but also your neighbors’ apartments. It’s better to have the valve for each and every plumbing system component (such as tub, sink, or toilet) so even during the flooding of the house, you still have access to cold water where you need it. Think about separate values to remain calm in situations like these.

When it comes to the supply of hot water, the process becomes a bit more complicated due to pipes have to deliver cold water to the water heater. After the water is hot enough, it goes through the pipes to all appliances where the hot water is needed. The average hot water temperature for a home is about 140-160 degrees F (or 60-70 degrees Celsius), but if you want to save your money, 120 degrees F (or 50 degrees Celsius) is more than enough.

How to Make it Work?

To make the supply system work for you, use pipes which are made from such materials as PVC or copper. Also, check the pressure, as it has to be approximately 50-90 psi to make it possible for pipes to deliver water to all plumbing fixtures (such as toilet, watching machine and etc.). For your comfort, provide the valves in addition to each and every fixture, so you can protect yourself and your apartment from possible future issues with the plumbing system and the water supply.

You have to make sure that pipes are buried 4’ deep to protect them from freezing when it’s really cold outside. Having pipes from copper is a good idea but not a cheap one, so you can use PVC as the main material for them as it is cheap.

It is important to create all conditions for a good water supply and to keep the temperature on the acceptable level as too hot water can lead to such an unpleasant situation as Legionnaires disease. It’s called that because the bacteria Legionella causes such health problems as pneumonia. This disease can even lead to death if you won’t notice it on time and won’t take measures to clean the water from the bacteria. Don’t forget to clean your tube as often as the manufacturer requires this from you.

2.   DRAINAGE SYSTEMS

Compared with supply systems, this type of plumbing system doesn’t need pressure for its functioning. The main idea of drainage systems is to settle pipes under the right angle to let gravity do all the dirty work (we mean, literally). Under the force of gravity, down the sewer pipe, wastewater goes right into the cesspit. And that’s why the plumbing system exists, right?

Gravity is not the only element of drainage systems. Cleanouts, as well as vents and traps, are equal parts of it. Vents are needed for the free entry of the air into the drainpipes. Otherwise, the sewage won’t flow out of the pipes fully, and you’ll have to pump the water out of the traps again and again.

Now, the function of the vents is clear. But what about the function of the traps?

Perhaps, traps are an essential part of the drainage system. You can find them under every sink in your apartment. They look like bent pipe under the drain. You surely saw them a hundred times, but did you think about why they have to be there?

As it is clear from its name, traps are made for trapping something unwanted in the supply of the water to ruin the plumbing system functioning.

What Makes Traps so Useful?

For example, they prevent wastewater gas to pull back to your apartment. So, every plumbing item can’t be set up without a trap. Except for toilets, as they already have traps, and you don’t need to settle another one at the drain.

Usually, bathtubs also already have traps not only for blocking wastewater gas from entering your bathrooms but also for collecting dirt and hair to prevent drain clog.

Sinks in the kitchen must have traps to collect not only hair and dirt but also grease. They help to prevent the clog of the drain and make your access to the unwanted elements in pipes are a lot easier.

For the normal functioning of the drainage system, make sure all of its elements work in the right way. Check pipes downstairs to help yourself to better understand the way the drainage system works. 

THE COLLABORATION OF SUPPLY AND DRAINAGE SUBSYSTEMS

Though both drainage and supply plumbing subsystems work in a different way, bridges exist between them, which makes the idea of the plumbing system complete. These bridges are called fixtures.

What can be called fixtures?

  • Tubs;
  • Sinks;
  • Toilet;
  • Washing machine;
  • Outside faucet

In other words, fixtures are every device that carries fresh water and releases sewage. They are an important part of the plumbing system as they divide drainage and supply systems.

Though all fixtures have different sizes, designs, colors, and textures, in most characteristics, they are the same. Don’t be afraid of the variety of the fixtures on the market as legal standardization protects all customers buying one or the other fixture. You can be sure of the quality of the plumbing fixture you’re about to purchase.

Pay special attention to the purchasing of the tanks for hot water as we’ve already mentioned the danger which might occur there. We’re talking about Legionnaires’ disease, of course. To protect your hot water tanks from any bacteria, take the consultation of a professional plumber and, with his help, choose the best plumbing fixture for you.

Also, as we’ve already covered this and as you already know, every fixture (not only hot water tanks)  has its own valve, so in the case of emergency, you may close the valve of one fixture and not of all them, which seems like a good decision for your comfort and your household. Also, wanting to make your life and the life of your family more peaceful, somehow label the main valve placed in your house to make the process of finding it a bit easier.

Please note that before every plumbing manipulation, you have to stop the water supply of that fixture, which you believe has to be repaired. The same applies to the main valve. Also, don’t forget to check regulations on the plumbing process in your town before replacing or fixing pipes in your apartment. It’s extremely important to know what you can do and what you can’t do under any circumstances.

If you understand that your actions don’t contradict local instructions, you can call yourself a lucky man as you have an opportunity to fix plumbing issues on your own. It means you’re saving money, not calling for a plumber. Of course, you can’t solve the problem with a plumber’s assistance, but in some situations, you can do it yourself.

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