Plumbing and Your Barrie Home.  The word “plumbing” comes from the Latin word plumbum, which is the element lead, and was so named because lead was used extensively in the development of piping systems. The practice of installing pipes and using the piping materials became known as plumbing.

Plumbing was extremely rare until the growth of modern cities in the 19th century. At about the same time public health authorities began pressing for better waste disposal systems to be installed. Earlier, the waste disposal system merely consisted of collecting waste and dumping it on ground or into a river. Standardized earthen plumbing pipes with broad flanges making use of asphalt for preventing leakages appeared in the urban settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization by 2700 B.C

Copper pipes can develop pin hole leaks from poorly installed plumbing. Correctly installed plumbing appliances will have a copper bonding jumper cable connecting the interrupted pipe sections. Pinhole leaks from stray current corrosion can result in thousands of dollars in plumbing bills, and sometimes necessitating the replacement of the entire affected line. The cause is an electrical problem, not a plumbing problem; once the plumbing damage is repaired, an electrician should be consulted to evaluate the grounding and bonding of the entire plumbing system.

A floor flange should be used in the connection between the drain and the floor outlet plumbing fixture. The flange should be securely attached to the drain and anchored to the structure. A wall-mounted water closet should be bolted to the hanger with corrosion-resistant bolts or screws. Joints should be sealed with an approved elastomeric gasket, a flange-to-fixture connection, or a setting compound. The most commonly used setting compound is a wax ring made of beeswax or synthetic wax.

Every plumbing fixture must have an attached vent. The top of stacks must be vented too, via a stack vent, which is sometimes called a stink pipe. DWV systems maintain neutral air pressure in the drains, allowing flow of water and sewage down drains and through waste pipes by gravity. As such, it is critical that a downward slope be maintained throughout. In relatively rare situations, a downward slope out of a building to the sewer cannot be created, and a special collection pit and grinding lift ‘sewage ejector’ pump are needed. By contrast, potable water supply systems operate under pressure to distribute water up through buildings.

A sewer pipe is normally at neutral air pressure compared to the surrounding atmosphere. When a column of waste water flows through a pipe, it compresses air in the pipe, creating a positive pressure that must be released or it will push back on the waste stream and downstream traps’ water seals. As the column of water passes, air must flow in behind the waste stream or negative pressure results. The extent of these pressure fluctuations is determined by the fluid volume of the waste discharge. Excessive negative air pressure, behind a ‘slug’ of water that is draining, can siphon water from trap seals at plumbing fixtures. Generally, a toilet outlet has the shortest trap seal, making it most vulnerable to being emptied by induced siphonage. An empty trap can allow noxious sewer gasses to enter a building.

The Barrie Home Inspector is trained in inspecting your plumbing system for deficiencies or maintenance problems. Using a professional home inspector can save you money and headaches when purchasing your new home.

Looking to find the best deal on Canada’s Best Project Oversight Inspections, then visit Barrie’s Home Inspector Maintenance Tips to find money saving tips and advice on maintaining your home.