Plumbing systems consist of the water pipes which connect from the water supply (usually the town system or utility provider, or from your own source of water such as rainwater tanks or bore) to where it’s required at taps and toilets.
Pressure forces water along the pipes – either pressure from the town system, pressure created by a pump from your bore or tank, or your own raised tank. Water pipes must be able to withstand the pressure of the supply system. Water pipes are available in different grades to withstand various pressures. They are usually 12 to 25 millimetres (half to one inch) in diameter and made from various materials including copper, galvanised steel and various plastics. Because water is forced along the pipes under pressure water pipes don’t have to be installed at a specific level and can go up or down.
The amount of water you get out of a tap or fitting in your house will depend on:
The water supply pipes must have at least one shutoff valve so that the water can be turned off when repairs are required or there’s a leak. But it’s good practice to install valves within the house, ensuring they’re easily accessible. In more than one instance we’ve had pipes burst flooding the house, and the sooner you can cut the water supply the less water will flood your house.
The other component of the plumbing system are the wastewater pipes (sewer pipes) which take wastewater to the town system or your septic tank. These are gravity pipes and must always flow downhill. Drainpipes vary from 40 to 100 millimetres (one and half to four inches) in diameter. Each waste outlet should have a trap, which is a U-shaped pipe which permanently holds water, preventing smelly sewer gases from entering the room. Waste pipes need air to allow the wastewater to move otherwise an air-lock will be created. At the higher end of the system a vent pipe connects to the atmosphere. Since this will release smelly air these vents are usually placed above the roof, although a non- return valve can be fitted which only allows air to enter, while preventing air from escaping.
It’s always advisable to use good quality plumbing pipes and fittings. There have been several cases of imported tap fittings leaching lead into the water supply. Of course lead is poisonous. Also I’ve had flexible hoses feeding taps suddenly burst because they were substandard, flooding the house.
Generally there are codes which govern plumbing materials, and plumbing design and installation.
This is an extract from 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses: Volume 1' from the chapter 'Understanding Building Processes' written by Paul Netscher.
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Paul Netscher has written 2 easy to read books 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses - Volumes 1 and 2'. An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses Volume 1 deals with Hiring Contractors, Managing Construction and Finishing Your Home. and Designing your ideal home Volume 2 deals with Finding Your Ideal Property and Designing Your Dream Home.
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I’m a construction professional, author of several successful construction management books, and a home owner. I’ve made mistakes in construction management, I’ve seen others make mistakes, but importantly I’ve had multiple successful construction projects and I’ve learned from the mistakes. I want to share these lessons and my knowledge with you.
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