Once, state-of-the-art in plumbing was cast-iron drains and brass supply pipes. Now, those materials have been replaced with PVC plastic, copper, and flexible cross-linked polyethylene, known as PEX. But whether the pipes are plastic, metal, or a combination of the two, it’s the plumber’s skill that determines how well the system works. A lot is at stake: One leaky joint can be devastating financially. An undersized, improperly sloped drain will continually clog. And supply pipes that are not anchored every 6 feet or so will rattle and thump every time a faucet is turned off. Plumbing is your house’s circulatory system, running unseen behind the walls and under the floorboards, mysteriously carrying water to and fro. The first hint of trouble may send you running for the list of plumbers in your phonebook.
There is more to proper plumbing than just following the codes and rules. Planning and installing a system that’s quiet, efficient, and leak free is something of an art. You’ll see it in the way a good plumber arranges pipes and valves for ease of maintenance, avoids wasting material or weakening framing, and takes care to wipe joints clean.
Clean water enters a house at a pressure of 50-60 psi through the supply lines; dirty water, pulled down by gravity, exits through the drainpipes, while air coming through the vents keeps the drains flowing smoothly. Valves may wear, hoses may break, and appliances will fail, but the underlying network of pipes should last as long as the house itself.
Codes dictate the proximity of vents to drains, and the rules should never be ignored. Modern plumbing has made it easier than ever for us to get clean water—and to waste it…which is the best reason for making certain that your plumbing is up-to-date and current. Many plumbing projects are ideal for the do it yourselfer, especially with all of the tutorials and guides online. There are times, however, when calling a professional plumber is the best option. Even some seemingly easy projects are best handled by a pro. Shower valve replacement and main line blockage should never be handled without a professional. Depending on the situation, it is not recommended to work on your own water heater without experience or proper guidance. There are a lot of things that can go wrong during a water heater repair. An apparently simple adjustment may end up making a leak worse or causing more damage.
Modern plumbing has made it easier than ever for us to get clean water—and to waste it…which is the best reason for making certain that your plumbing is up-to-date and current.
Source: “Plumbing.” www.HowStuffWorks.com Web. 29 July 2013.
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