Plumbing

Plumbing

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Plumbing'
Start a new discussion about 'Plumbing'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Plumbing is the system of pipes and drains installed in a building for the distribution of potable drinking water and the removal of waterborne wastes, and the skilled trade of working with pipes
Pipe (material)
A pipe is a tubular section or hollow cylinder, usually but not necessarily of circular cross-section, used mainly to convey substances which can flow — liquids and gases , slurries, powders, masses of small solids...

, tubing and plumbing fixture
Plumbing fixture
A plumbing fixture is an exchangeable device which can be connected to an existing plumbing system to deliver and drain away water but which is also configured to enable a particular use.-Common fixtures:The most common plumbing fixtures are:*Bathtubs...

s in such systems. A plumber
Plumber
A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for potable water, sewage, and drainage in plumbing systems. The term dates from ancient times, and is related to the Latin word for lead, "plumbum." A person engaged in fixing metaphorical "leaks" may also be...

 is someone who installs or repairs piping
Piping
Within industry, piping is a system of pipes used to convey fluids from one location to another. The engineering discipline of piping design studies the efficient transport of fluid....

 systems, plumbing fixtures and equipment such as water heaters. The plumbing industry is a basic and substantial part of every developed economy due to the need for clean water, and proper collection and transport of wastes. The word "plumbing" comes from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 plumbum for lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, as pipes were once made from lead.

Plumbing is usually distinguished from water and sewage systems
Sewage
Sewage is water-carried waste, in solution or suspension, that is intended to be removed from a community. Also known as wastewater, it is more than 99% water and is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical constituents and the bacteriological organisms that it contains...

, in that a plumbing system serves one building, while water and sewage systems serve a group of buildings or a city. Plumbing fixture
Plumbing fixture
A plumbing fixture is an exchangeable device which can be connected to an existing plumbing system to deliver and drain away water but which is also configured to enable a particular use.-Common fixtures:The most common plumbing fixtures are:*Bathtubs...

s are exchangeable devices that can be connected to a building's plumbing system.

Plumbing was extremely rare until the growth of modern cities in the 19th centuries. 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.

History



Plumbing originated during the ancient civilizations such as the Greek, Roman, Persian, Indian, and Chinese civilizations as they developed public baths and needed to provide potable water
Drinking water
Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually...

, and drainage of wastes. Standardized earthen plumbing pipes with broad flange
Flange
A flange is an external or internal ridge, or rim , for strength, as the flange of an iron beam such as an I-beam or a T-beam; or for attachment to another object, as the flange on the end of a pipe, steam cylinder, etc., or on the lens mount of a camera; or for a flange of a rail car or tram wheel...

s making use of asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 for preventing leakages appeared in the urban settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

 by 2700 B.C. The Romans used lead pipe inscriptions to prevent water theft.

Improvement in plumbing systems was very slow, with virtually no progress made from the time of the Roman system of aqueduct
Roman aqueduct
The Romans constructed numerous aqueducts to serve any large city in their empire, as well as many small towns and industrial sites. The city of Rome had the largest concentration of aqueducts, with water being supplied by eleven aqueducts constructed over a period of about 500 years...

s and lead pipes until the growth of modern cities. Until then waste disposal systems merely consisted of collecting waste and dumping it on ground or into a river. In the 19th century, public health authorities began pressing for better waste disposal systems to be installed. Eventually the development of separate, underground water and sewage systems eliminated open sewage ditches and cesspools
Cesspit
A cesspit, or cesspool is a pit, conservancy tank, or covered cistern, which can be used to dispose of urine and feces, and more generally of all sewage and refuse. It is a more antiquated solution than a sewer system. Traditionally, it was a deep cylindrical chamber dug into the earth, having...

.

Most large cities today pipe solid wastes to treatment plants in order to separate and partly purify the water before emptying into streams or other bodies of water. For potable water use, galvanized iron piping was commonplace in the United States from the late 1800s until around 1960. After that period, copper took over, first with soft copper with flared fittings, then with rigid copper tubing utilizing soldered fittings. The use of lead for potable water declined sharply after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 because of the dangers of lead poisoning. At this time, copper piping was introduced as a better and safer alternative to lead pipes.

Materials


Water systems of ancient times relied on gravity for the supply of water, using pipes or channels usually made of clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

, lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, bamboo wood or stone. Another material used for plumbing pipes, particularly water main, was hollowed wooden logs wrapped in steel banding. Logs used for water distribution were used in England close to 500 years ago. The US cities began using hollowed logs in the late 18th through the 19th centuries.

Present-day water-supply systems use a network of high-pressure pumps, and pipes are now made of copper, brass, plastic, or other nontoxic material. Lead is not used in modern water-supply piping due to its toxicity. Drain and vent lines are made of plastic, steel, cast-iron, and lead.

The "straight" sections of plumbing systems are pipes or tubes. A pipe is typically formed via casting or welding, where a tube is made through extrusion. Pipe normally has thicker walls and may be threaded or welded, where tubing is thinner-walled and requires special joining techniques such as brazing
Brazing
Brazing is a metal-joining process whereby a filler metal is heated above and distributed between two or more close-fitting parts by capillary action. The filler metal is brought slightly above its melting temperature while protected by a suitable atmosphere, usually a flux...

, compression fitting
Compression fitting
Compression fittings are used in plumbing and electrical conduit systems to join two tubes or thin-walled pipes together. In instances where two pipes made of dissimilar materials are to be joined , the fittings will also be made of one or more compatible materials appropriate for the connection...

, crimping, or for plastics, solvent welding.

Components


In addition to the straight pipe or tubing, many fittings are required in plumbing systems, such as valves, elbows, tees, and unions. The piping and plumbing fittings
Piping and plumbing fittings
Fittings are used in pipe and plumbing systems to connect straight pipe or tubing sections, to adapt to different sizes or shapes, and for other purposes, such as regulating or measuring fluid flow...

 and valve
Valve
A valve is a device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically pipe fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category...

s articles discuss these features further.

Plumbing fixture
Plumbing fixture
A plumbing fixture is an exchangeable device which can be connected to an existing plumbing system to deliver and drain away water but which is also configured to enable a particular use.-Common fixtures:The most common plumbing fixtures are:*Bathtubs...

s are designed for the end-users. Some examples of fixtures include water closets (also known as toilet
Toilet
A toilet is a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human excrement, often found in a small room referred to as a toilet/bathroom/lavatory...

s), urinals, bidet
Bidet
A bidet is a low-mounted plumbing fixture or type of sink intended for washing the genitalia, inner buttocks, and anus. It was originally a French word.-History:...

s, shower
Shower
A shower is an area in which one bathes underneath a spray of water.- History :...

s, bathtub
Bathtub
A bath , bathtub , or tub is a large container for holding water in which a person may bathe . Most modern bathtubs are made of acrylic or fiberglass, but alternatives are available in enamel over steel or cast iron, and occasionally waterproof finished wood...

s, utility and kitchen sink
Sink
A sink is a bowl-shaped plumbing fixture used for washing hands, for dishwashing or other purposes. Sinks generally have taps that supply hot and cold water and may include a spray feature to be used for faster rinsing...

s, drinking fountains, ice makers, humidifier
Humidifier
A humidifier is a household appliance that increases humidity in a single room or in the entire house. There are point-of-use humidifiers, which are commonly used to humidify a single room, and whole-house or furnace humidifiers, which connect to a home's HVAC system to provide humidity to the...

s, air washers, fountain
Fountain
A fountain is a piece of architecture which pours water into a basin or jets it into the air either to supply drinking water or for decorative or dramatic effect....

s, and eye wash stations.

Equipment


Plumbing equipment, not present in all systems, include, for example, water meters, pump
Pump
A pump is a device used to move fluids, such as liquids, gases or slurries.A pump displaces a volume by physical or mechanical action. Pumps fall into three major groups: direct lift, displacement, and gravity pumps...

s, expansion tanks, backflow preventers, filters, UV lights, water softeners, water heaters, wrench
Wrench
A wrench or spanner is a tool used to provide grip and mechanical advantage in applying torque to turn objects—usually rotary fasteners, such as nuts and bolts—or keep them from turning....

es, heat exchangers, flaring pliers, gauges, and control systems.

Now there is more equipment that is technologically advanced and helps plumbers fix problems without the usual hassles. For example, plumbers use video cameras for inspections of hidden leaks or problems, they use hydro jets, and high pressure hydraulic pumps connected to steel cables for trench-less sewer line replacement.

Systems


The major categories of plumbing systems or subsystems are:
  • Potable cold and hot water supply
  • Plumbing drainage venting
    Plumbing drainage venting
    In modern plumbing, a drain-waste-vent is part of a system that removes sewage and greywater from a building and regulates air pressure in the waste-system pipes, facilitating flow. Waste is produced at fixtures such as toilets, sinks and showers, and exits the fixtures through a trap, a dipped...

  • Septic systems
  • [Rainwater, surface, and subsurface water drainage
  • Fuel gas
    Fuel gas
    Fuel gas can refer to any of several gases burned to produce thermal energy.Natural gas is the most common fuel gas, but others include:* Coal gas or Town gas* Syngas* Mond gas* Propane* Butane* Regasified liquified petroleum gas* Wood gas...

     piping


For their environmental benefit and sizable energy savings hot water heat recycling
Hot water heat recycling
Water heat recycling is the use of a heat exchanger to recover energy and reuse heat from drain water from various activities such as dish-washing, clothes washing and especially showers...

 units are growing in use throughout the residential building sectors. Further ecological concern has seen increasing interest in grey-water
Greywater
Greywater is wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands...

 recovery and treatment systems.

The New York City steam system
New York City steam system
The New York City steam system is a district heating system which takes steam produced by steam generating stations and carries it under the streets of Manhattan to heat, cool, or supply power to high rise buildings and businesses...

 is an example of a large district heating system.

Firestopping


Firestop
Firestop
A firestop is a passive fire protection system of various components used to seal openings and joints in fire-resistance rated wall and/or floor assemblies, based on fire testing and certification listings....

ping is required where mechanical penetrant
Penetrant
Penetrants, or penetrating items, are the mechanical, electrical or structural items that pass through an opening in a wall or floor, such as pipes, electrical conduits, ducting, cables and cable trays, or structural steel beams and columns...

s traverse fire-resistance rated
Fire-resistance rating
A fire-resistance rating typically means the duration for which a passive fire protection system can withstand a standard fire resistance test. This can be quantified simply as a measure of time, or it may entail a host of other criteria, involving other evidence of functionality or fitness for...

 wall and floor assemblies, or membranes thereof. This work is usually done worldwide by the insulation trade and/or specialty firestop sub-contractors.

Regulation


Much of the plumbing work in populated areas is regulated by government or quasi-government agencies due to the direct impact on the public's health, safety, and welfare. Plumbing installation and repair work on residences and other buildings generally must be done according to plumbing and building codes to protect the inhabitants of the buildings and to ensure safe, quality construction to future buyers. If permits are required for work, plumbing contractors typically secure them from the authorities on behalf of home or building owners. In the United Kingdom the professional body is the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering
Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering
The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering is the professional body for the United Kingdom plumbing and heating industry...

 (educational charity status) and it is true that the trade still remains virtually ungoverned; there are no systems in place to monitor or control the activities of unqualified plumbers or those home owners who choose to undertake installation and maintenance works themselves, despite the health and safety issues which arise from such works when they are undertaken incorrectly; see Health Aspects of Plumbing (HAP) published jointly by the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO) and the World Plumbing Council (WPC)
World Plumbing Council
The World Plumbing Council is an international organization which aims to develop and promote the image and standards of the plumbing Industry worldwide....

. WPC has subsequently appointed a representative to the World Health Organization to take forward various projects related to Health Aspects of Plumbing.

See also



  • Active fire protection
    Active fire protection
    Active fire protection is an integral part of fire protection. AFP is characterised by items and/or systems, which require a certain amount of motion and response in order to work, contrary to passive fire protection.-Fire suppression:...

  • Coupling (piping)
    Coupling (piping)
    A coupling is a very short length of pipe or tube, with a socket at one or both ends that allows two pipes or tubes to be joined, welded , brazed or soldered together....

  • Double-walled pipe
    Double-walled pipe
    A double-walled pipe is a secondary contained piping system. It is a pipe within a pipe, or encased in an outer covering, with an annulus between the two diameters. The inner pipe is the primary or carrier pipe and the outer pipe is called the secondary or containment pipe...

  • Elbow (piping)
  • Heat pipe
    Heat pipe
    A heat pipe or heat pin is a heat-transfer device that combines the principles of both thermal conductivity and phase transition to efficiently manage the transfer of heat between two solid interfaces....

  • Nipple (plumbing)
    Nipple (plumbing)
    In plumbing and piping, a nipple is a fitting, consisting of a short piece ofpipe, usually provided with a male pipe thread at each end, for connecting two other fittings....

  • Passive fire protection
    Passive fire protection
    Passive fire protection is an integral component of the three components of structural fire protection and fire safety in a building. PFP attempts to contain fires or slow the spread, through use of fire-resistant walls, floors, and doors...

  • Pipe cap
  • Pipe fitting
    Pipe fitting
    Pipe fitting is the occupation of installing or repairing piping or tubing systems that convey liquid, gas, and occasionally solid materials...

  • Piping
    Piping
    Within industry, piping is a system of pipes used to convey fluids from one location to another. The engineering discipline of piping design studies the efficient transport of fluid....

  • Piping and plumbing fittings
    Piping and plumbing fittings
    Fittings are used in pipe and plumbing systems to connect straight pipe or tubing sections, to adapt to different sizes or shapes, and for other purposes, such as regulating or measuring fluid flow...

  • Plastic pipework
    Plastic pipework
    Plastic pipework is used for the conveyance of drinking water, waste water, chemicals, heating and cooling fluids, foodstuffs, ultra-pure liquids, slurries, gases, compressed air and vacuum system applications.- Materials used :...

  • Plumbing & Drainage Institute
    Plumbing & Drainage Institute
    The Plumbing & Drainage Institute is an association of American manufacturers of engineered plumbing drainage specialty products. Such products include floor drains, roof drains, sanitary floor drains, cleanouts, water hammer arresters, swimming pool drains, backwater valves, grease interceptors,...

  • Street elbow
    Street elbow
    A street elbow is a type of plumbing or piping fitting intended to join a piece of pipe and another fitting at an angle. The difference between a street elbow and a regular elbow is the nature of the connections on either end.A regular elbow has a female hub or FIP connection on both ends...

  • Trap (plumbing)
    Trap (plumbing)
    In plumbing, a trap is a U-, S-, or J-shaped pipe located below or within a plumbing fixture. An S-shaped trap is also known as the S-bend invented by Alexander Cummings in 1775 but became known as the U-bend following the introduction of the U-shaped trap by Thomas Crapper in 1880. The new U-bend...

  • Trap primer
    Trap primer
    A trap primer is a plumbing device or valve that adds water to traps. The water seals in traps are needed to prevent sewer gases from entering buildings, but because this water is exposed to the air, it is subject to evaporation over time in infrequently used floor drains, leading to the release...

  • Union (plumbing)
  • Valve
    Valve
    A valve is a device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically pipe fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category...

  • Victaulic
    Victaulic
    Victaulic is a developer and producer of mechanical pipe joining systems. Victaulic provides products for Fire Protection, Data Centers, Shipbuilding, Commercial Buildings, Mining, BioFuels, and Industrial Manufacturing....

  • Water pipe
    Water pipe
    Water pipes are pipes or tubes, frequently made of polyvinyl chloride , ductile iron, steel, cast iron, polypropylene, polyethylene, or copper, that carry pressurized and treated fresh water to buildings , as well as inside the building.-History:For many centuries, lead was the favoured material...


External links