Plumbing is the collection of carefully constructed piping networks that first bring drinking water into buildings and then safely dispose of wastewater. Two main types of pipes serve a building: supply and drain-waste-vent (DWV). Commercial buildings, office buildings, apartment complexes, and high rises require a robust plumbing system. That is because more people often occupy them and need more outlets for sinks and toilets.
Hubbard Mechanical brings water into a building and removes wastewater. It’s important to provide hot and cold water to faucets, showers, ice makers, and washing machines. It also creates a vital drain and vent system. Today, five types of pipe are commonly used in residential buildings: copper, galvanized steel, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX).
Leaks in the supply line can cause problems throughout the house. That is why it’s crucial to understand how these pipes work, approved materials, and potential issues. This knowledge will allow you to make sound decisions and deal with issues competently.
While bare copper pipes were common in residential homes until the late 20th century, they are now usually replaced with plastic ones like PVC or PEX. These pipes are more durable than their predecessors and can withstand high pressure. They are also less prone to corrosion than their copper counterparts. However, they require regular maintenance to prevent leaks and maintain water quality.
The type of piping installed in a building will depend on the location, construction type, and available water pressure. For example, a corrosive environment may necessitate copper pipes, while high-pressure environments can be managed with PVC. Depending on the building and the needs of its inhabitants, separate piping for potable and nonpotable water can be a good option.
Regardless of the type of piping installed in a home, water supply lines should be properly sized for adequate performance. That will include ensuring they can handle the water needed for each fixture, preventing the pipe from overflowing, and reducing energy consumption. A residential building with an onsite water source, such as a well or lake, must have separate piping from the mains to ensure it is not contaminated.
A plumbing professional should advise you on the best solution for your home. Typically, your plumber will recommend a specific material based on its function, installation requirements, and cost. The right choice will ensure your water line pipes are safe, durable, and reliable.
Drainage is one of the most important aspects of a building. It protects the building from leaking water and other problems with excess water, like flooding, mildew, or mold. The building can avoid structural damage, foundation issues, and more with a good drainage system.
, a building should have a drainage system designed and planned well before construction starts. That will ensure that there is enough room for all the piping that will be needed to make the drainage work properly.
Many different types of drainage systems can be used, depending on the needs of the building and the type of weather that is typical for the area. A specific drainage system will connect several drains to piping to whisk away water during heavy rainstorms. These drains can be surface drains or french drains.
A septic tank is also often part of the drainage system in residential buildings, which treats waste from toilets and sinks before it goes into the sewer system. Having a functioning drainage system in residential buildings is very important because it can help protect the home’s foundation from damage and help prevent problems like flooding and soil erosion.
In high-rise buildings, all the branch lines (the smaller piping that runs inside each unit) usually come from one main line located underground or in the lobby of the building. The main line is generally made of a material such as copper, GI steel, HDPE, or CPVC. CPVC is the preferred choice because it doesn’t get rusted and is easy to install and maintain.
Knowing where the shutoff valves are for each fixture in your plumbing system is important. That is especially important if you are doing maintenance or repairs on your plumbing system because it can help prevent any accidental spills or leaks of water that could damage your property or cause injury. Also, knowing where these valves are can be helpful if there is a problem and you need to shut off the water quickly.
Venting is an important part of the plumbing system because it prevents negative pressure in the drainage system and helps waste gases escape from sanitary traps. It also keeps water vapor from building up in the drain pipes, which can lead to clogs.
The plumbing system in a house or apartment building is a complex network of hot and cold water supply pipes, fixtures, valves, drainpipes, traps, sewer vents, and water storage tanks. This system provides potable water for drinking, washing, cooking, and wastewater disposal. This plumbing system must work correctly and safely. That is why regular maintenance and inspections are required.
The plumbing system is more complicated in an apartment because there are multiple units with individual water needs. However, having a single water source for the entire building is possible. The water is supplied to the building from an underground tank through a network of pipes. It then flows to the overhead tank, and from there, it is fed to the outlets in each unit through gravity.
As a homeowner or tenant, you must ensure that the plumbing system in your apartment building is working properly. You can do this by regulating your water use, ensuring that all toilets are flushed correctly and regularly, and avoiding the overuse of household chemicals. That will help your plumbing system to last longer and function better.
A residential plumbing system must be designed to meet the specific requirements of each household, including the number of people living in it and the water usage per person. It must also be able to cope with the amount of waste each household generates and any environmental restrictions that may apply to water use.
Most residential plumbing systems are made from plastic, cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), polybutylene piping, or black ABS. Some older buildings have metal plumbing systems, but these are now replaced with PEX and other safer materials for the environment.
All drain pipes must have a shutoff valve to allow them to be closed off for repairs or when the household is empty. The valves should be easily accessible to shut off in an emergency. Drain pipes should be as short as possible to reduce the risk of clogs and have smooth bends rather than sharp ones, which are more likely to break down over time.
Gas lines transport flammable, highly combustible gases from a source to appliances that use fire to operate. They are typically buried underground to protect them from damage. A well-functioning system requires regular maintenance to avoid problems like a leak or faulty regulator. You should be able to spot the signs of trouble by looking for dents, cracks, or corrosion on your gas lines and appliances. Call your plumber immediately to prevent further damage if you see any of these.
A residential gas line is designed to carry natural gas or propane from a meter to all of the dwelling units in a building. The piping is typically made from various materials, but some are more durable. A qualified contractor can recommend the right pipe material for your project based on the type of work and where it will be installed.
Newer systems will likely have isolation valves placed at each point in the piping to allow individual sections of the line to be shut off if necessary. Older systems typically have a main valve at the meter that must be closed to turn off the entire system, but this method can be dangerous and inconvenient in an emergency. A newer system will also be insulated to reduce the risk of freezing and other types of damage from the cold.
Some older homes will still have steel piping buried or running inside the house. These pipes will mostly be connected to a meter by a steel riser. There may be a gas shutoff valve at the base of each riser. New polyethylene (commonly called “poly”) piping will be run instead of the steel lines. These lines will be buried in the ground, then rise above the surface with a 90-degree fitting at each end that connects to an “anodeless riser”—these are L-shaped steel sleeves that transition the plastic line into the existing steel piping.
There are many reasons to replace your gas line, including installing a new appliance or repairing an existing one. If you are thinking of doing this, contact a licensed professional to ensure the line is properly installed and meets all required safety standards.