Plumbing can be defined as practice, materials, and fixtures used in the installation, maintenance, and alteration of all piping, fixtures, appliances, and appurtenances in connection with sanitary or storm drainage facilities, the venting system, and the public or private water supply systems in residential homes. A home inspection of your Plumbing system does not include the trade of drilling water wells, installing water softening equipment. A plumbing system typically consists of three separate parts: an adequate potable water supply system, a safe, adequate drainage system and ample fixtures and equipment.
The home inspector not only looks for defects such as seepage, leaks, and drips in the system. It helps to be able to inform the customer how the entire system is affected, what repairs are needed, and when actions should be taken.
The home inspector will provide a visual inspection of the setting of fixtures (bathtub, water closet, lavatory, kitchen sink, etc.). The inspector looks for proper fixture setting and alignment, proper caulking around fixtures, and acceptable shower valves, etc.
The plumbing is more than just the pipes. The water has to be turned on and off, the flow rate needs to be controlled, and the water temperature needs to be adjusted.
Finding and fixing leaks will save money on water and energy bills. Furthermore, water damage to floors and the foundation is all too common and must be dealt with to prevent further problems.
Plumbing fixtures, valves and controls are responsible to supply, contain and disopose of water. Some fixtures have a one handle control. Other fixtures have a separate control for hot and cold water. Some bathtub fixtures have additional controls to set whether the water comes out of the tub spout or shower head. Checking a plumbing fixture may seem relatively easy, but it is more than just seeing if the fixture either leaks or does not leak.
Polybutylene (PB) is a plastic manufactured between 1978 and 1994 for use as piping in home plumbing systems. It offered plenty of advantages over other materials such as flexibility, ease of installation, resistance to freezing, and it was inexpensive. Pipes made from polybutylene were installed in 6 to 10 million homes in the Unites States during that period. Despite its strengths, production was ceased in 1994 after scores of allegations surfaced claiming that polybutylene pipes were rupturing and causing property damage. In the homes that still contain this material, homeowners must either pay to have the pipes replaced or risk a potentially expensive plumbing failure.
Copper water supply line is leaking where dissimilar clamp was used to secure line. Dissimilar metals and alloys have differentelectrode potentials; and when two or more come into contact in an electrolyte a galvanic couple is set up, one metal acting as anode and the other as cathode. When there are mixed metals in piping (for example, copper and cast iron), galvanic corrosion will contribute to accelerated corrosion of the system.
Pex style plumbing pipe is a cross-linked polyethylene pipe. After going through several processes, the material becomes durable for extreme temperatures (hot or cold), creep deformation which happens from long-term exposure to stress, and chemical attack from acids, alkalies and the like. All of this makes PEX an excellent piping substance for hot and cold water systems, especially since PEX is flexible and well adapted for temperatures below freezing all the way up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Pex plumbing does not conduct heat as does copper so is more energy efficent, less fittings are used, so is also less expensive to install. Most important PEX resists the scale build-up common with copper pipe, and does not pit or corrode when exposed to acidic water. Copper tends to oxidize and collect minerals on the interior of pipe and after years the build up will reduce water flow in pipes.
In Ontario, beginning on August 2007, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) has adopted new national code requirements regarding the installation of plastic venting systems for gas burning appliances such as water heaters, boilers and furnaces. PVC, CPVC or ABS piping has been used for many years but there have been reported cases of failure due to cracking, melting etc. causing potential unsafe conditions as a result of carbon monoxide leaking into the home. To address this situation the national installation code for natural gas and propane appliances has been revised. The new code stipulates that only plastic piping certified as gas vent (standard ULC S636) can be used for all installations of new and replacement natural gas and propane appliances. Existing applications will not be affected unless there is a safety issue or the existing vent has deteriorated. Prior to having repair work done or your tank replaced it would be wise to ask for quotes on replacement of vent piping as costs can vary considerably between companies.
Drain problems are never good. They disrupt the daily use of plumbing in your home and require immediate attention. One of the worst, however, is when a total blockage of the drain pipes occurs. This is what has happened when you find backed up water in your sinks, bathtubs and toilets. With drainage, the more serious the problem, the more costly it will get for the homeowner. The best way to avoid this is preventive care.
Although it is possible to clear up a simple hairball or grease clog in your local drain yourself, when there is a stubborn blockage do-it-yourself techniques just won't do the trick. Commercial acid-based clog removers (e.g. Draino or Liquid Plumber) can be harmful to yourself, your pipes and the environment, and they rarely solve the problem for very long. If you have PVC pipes, acid products can actually destroy the cement which bonds pipes together, causing much larger problems. Snaking the drain yourself may work, but if the blockage is closer to the city sewer system, a typical local drain snake will not be able to get to the problem.
In every case, depending on the severity of the clog, fixing it can become expensive and time consuming, so the best way to save yourself time and money is through good drain preventive maintenance.
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