4 Technical Aspects of Plumbing
Before we discuss the technical aspects of plumbing, let’s familiarize ourselves with plumbing. We use plumbing to describe the work done to support and install plumbing fixtures and systems in a building.
People use plumbing jobs to install drainage, waste, and vent systems (DWV) for commercial buildings. This definition includes work on piping that carries water, such as copper or plastic pipe.
“Plumbing” can include a broader range of applications, including process piping, instrumentation systems, central plant systems, radiant heating systems, fire sprinkler systems, swimming pools, and spas.
The International Plumbing Code® (IPC®) defines plumbing as “the science and art of installing and maintaining pipelines carrying water, steam or air.”
The plumbing industry is a trade that involves the design, installation, maintenance, and repair of piping systems that carry water, sewage, and gas. Plumbing installation includes the piping, fixtures, and fittings in buildings.
Plumbing includes all piping related to health and safety as well as comfort. However, several technical aspects of plumbing may not be apparent to the average person.
The primary purpose is to give you an overview of some of the technical aspects of plumbing.
Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater
Water comes from two sources: groundwater and surface water. Surface water is the water that flows in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds.
Groundwater is water that occurs below the earth’s surface, and we can tap it through wells. Therefore, we often refer to groundwater as groundwater or sub-surface water.
Humans may have previously used the water in rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds as drinking water or wastewater (sewage).
If we previously used it as drinking water, we can treat it at a wastewater treatment plant before discharging it into a river or stream for use as a recreational area.
We previously used it as wastewater. We can treat it at a wastewater treatment plant before discharging it into a river or stream for use as a recreational area.
Stormwater refers to rain runoff from streets, parking lots, roofs, and other impervious surfaces (those that do not absorb water).
People don’t treat storm water before discharging it into a river or stream for use as a recreational area. The drainage systems in commercial buildings handle both water and wastewater.
The drainage systems in residential buildings handle both water and stormwater.
We often refer to the stormwater in residential buildings as rainwater and collect them in rain barrels for future use as drinking water.
Plumbing fixtures include devices connected to a drainpipe or supply pipe, such as sinks, toilets, bidets, bathtubs, showers, faucets, and similar appliances.
We connect these devices using joints that we have installed using appropriate means of connection, such as soldering or brazing.
The authority has jurisdiction (AHJ must approve fixtures) before installation. People have designed and tested many fixtures to meet the requirements of specific codes and standards.
For example, the Water Efficiency must test and approve the toilets Labeling Program (WELP) before selling them for public use. The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water (FPT administers the WELP).
WELP don’t require testing and approval for fixtures but may still need them to meet other testing and approval requirements before you can install them in a building.
These fixtures include water closets, urinals, bidets, shower valves, faucets, kitchen sinks, and similar devices.
A water heater provides hot water for bathing, washing dishes, laundry, or any other use that requires hot water. It comes in two primary forms: electric and gas-fired.
People may install the water heater inside or outside of a building. When you install them outside of a building, we call it an outdoor water heater.
A properly designed water heater will have adequate insulation to protect it from freezing temperatures.
It will also have a good vent pipe to allow combustion gases (carbon monoxide) to escape safely from the home or building. For example, we vent gas-fired water heaters through the roof of a building.
Gas-fired water heaters have an open combustion chamber surrounded by a combustion chamber shield (mantel).
How to Install a Combustion Chamber Shield?
People design and install the combustion chamber shield following the manufacturer’s instructions. The combustion chamber shield must be strong enough to contain the heat generated by the burning gas.
The water heater is located inside the combustion chamber shield. You can do it to protect the water heater from damage if it is located outside of the combustion chamber shield.
They vent electric water heaters through a wall or ceiling of a building. Electric water heaters have an enclosed cabinet and do not require a combustion chamber shield (mantel).
Plumbers must insulate the interior surfaces of electric water heaters to prevent condensation from forming on these surfaces and causing them to become slippery.
These wet surfaces may cause injury if you touch them or contact another object, such as another person, furniture, etc.
In addition, if these wet surfaces come into contact with combustible materials, they may cause fires because of sparks generated when two objects rub together.
In addition, plumbers must vent electric water heaters to the outside of a building through a wall or ceiling. It would help if you screened the vent pipe to prevent insects and other small animals from entering the home or facility through the vent pipe.
You must also design and install the vent pipe per the manufacturer’s instructions.
National, state, and local governing bodies write the plumbing codes. They write these codes to ensure that the plumbing systems in buildings meet specific safety standards.
In addition, they wrote these codes to ensure that these plumbing systems will be safe for use by the public. We usually refer to these codes as building codes or building regulations.
Organizations have developed the plumbing codes, such as the International Code Council (ICC), the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and other organizations.
These organizations write and maintain these plumbing codes by their respective standards and guidelines. In addition, some of these organizations include a full-time staff of technical experts who work on code development.
Other organizations rely on volunteer technical experts who serve on committees to write, review and update the various plumbing codes.
How Important is Plumbing Code?
TAll municipalities must adopt these plumbing codes before the government can enforce them in a particular city or county within a state or province.
They do it to ensure uniformity regarding the requirements for buildings within each municipality or county within a state or province.
There may be differences between municipalities within a state depending on the type of government.
They revise periodically these codes to keep them current with technology and other changes in the building industry.
They must revise the plumbing codes in each municipality or county within a state or province to include the most recent revisions from these organizations as they become available.
These governing bodies usually write local laws and regulations for the revisions.
Sometimes, it may take several years for local governments to incorporate all the latest revisions into their laws and regulations because of staffing issues, budgetary constraints, etc.
You finally know what the technical aspects of plumbing are! On the HandyWork platform, you can find the best plumbing tips to read and the services available for hire on weekdays and weekends.