Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an older one, the process of plumbing installation should be thought out carefully. You’ll need to know what kind of system you want, what pipes are best for your home, and of course, you’ll need a plumber you can trust.
Types of Plumbing
There are three types of plumbing: sanitary drainage, stormwater drainage, and potable water. Each system is important and plays a role in the plumbing of a home.
Sanitary drainage systems carry waste from your house, like when you use the bathroom or do laundry. This waste is then brought to the sewer system.
Stormwater drainage systems carry extra water away from houses. They are characterized by drains, usually found on sidewalks, so water can drain through them. This water used to be taken to a sanitary drainage system, but today, rainwater is brought to a storm sewer.
Gutters also help take rainwater away from houses. If your gutters are not maintained properly, you can have issues such as:
- Paint peeling off the house
- Cracked or split gutters
- Water damage
Potable water is the system that allows people to use water within their houses. It is a system of pipes connected to a single system that contains safe, drinkable water.
Building a New Home?
If you are building a new home, it will need plumbing. Be sure to hire a licensed, experienced plumber early in the process to eliminate problems with plumbing installation before they happen. It’s important to make sure you also get the system you want.
There are some things you must consider when installing plumbing into your new home:
While sewer accommodation stubs are set before the foundation is poured, most plumbing takes place later. This includes installing drains in floors, fittings for tubs and sinks, and water supply pipes. You want a plumber who will handle each step of the process in a timely manner.
Because they are so large, tubs and shower/tub units are usually set before the doorways and walls are framed. Cover them with tarps, blankets, or other materials to protect them from damage and dust.
Consider a manifold water supply system. This lets you shut off the water to one fixture rather than turning off the supply to all fixtures.
Drain traps connect to the bottoms of sinks, showers, or tub drains. They should always contain some water to keep sewer gas from backing up into the house. If you notice a strange smell coming from any room where a drain is, sewer gas may be escaping. This may mean the drain trap is dry. To fix this, simply run water down the drain to fill it back up.
Separate pipes carry waste to the sewer line and provide ventilation for appliances and fixtures. You will need to choose the right piping for every type of plumbing system you decide to install, as each pipe material has different pros and cons.
Renovating an Older Home?
Renovating an older house is a great way to preserve character and history while adding modern conveniences to improve quality of life.
One of the challenges you may face is plumbing installation, so here’s a rundown of issues you may want to consider:
Until about 60 years ago, people installed galvanized pipes, but they are subject to corrosion and leaks. If you’re upgrading an older house, trade in the galvanized pipes for modern pipe materials such as copper, PVC (Polyvinyl chloride), CPVC (Chlorinated Poly Vinyl Chloride), or PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipes.
At Freedom, we will be glad to give you a rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of each material.
Inheriting Bad Plumbing
Leaks, aging, and improper plumbing installation mean you may face remodeling troubles.
You may find mold, perhaps from leaky pipes or from a leaky roof. Dry rot is another issue that may be plumbing-related due to leaks onto wood that never dry properly.
Foundations may also lose some stability if leaks have been allowed to run a long time.
Bathrooms are a source of plumbing problems, especially if older drains and pipes have lost their seal and effectiveness.
Bottom line: Include a plumber in your planning for major home renovations.
Picking The Best Pipes for Plumbing
Ask a plumber which pipe is best and chances are they will answer: “It depends.”
That’s true. The best pipe for your home’s plumbing will depend on its use, the homeowner’s budget, and other factors.
Here’s a basic primer on common plumbing pipes:
- Brass plumbing pipes, especially the red brass variety, are long-lasting and excellent for resisting rust.
- Cast iron plumbing pipes are heavier than other pipes. They normally are used underground as the main pipe for water distribution, drainage, and sewage.
- Copper pipes are popular because they are reliable and long-lived, in addition to resisting corrosion. But make sure your plumber is adept at soldering, a necessary skill when installing copper pipes. They are also expensive.
- Galvanized pipes fell out of favor many years ago because they are vulnerable to rust. However, they can be used for “non-potable” water — water that is not of drinking quality but is still useful for other purposes.
- PEX pipes are growing in popularity because they are so flexible and quick to install, although they may cost more than some other pipes. They are leak-proof but can’t be used outdoors because the sun can damage them. (Pex stands for cross-linked polyethylene).
- PVC pipes offer a variety of thicknesses and configurations and they can be used for cold and hot potable water and sewage.
- Stainless steel pipes are great at resisting corrosion and people like their looks, but they can be costly.
Different types of piping also have different lifespans, according to Houselogic. Piping can last from 20 to 100+ years depending on the material and what it’s being used for.
Brass – 40-70+ yrs
Cast iron – 75-100 yrs
Copper – 50+ yrs
Galvanized – 20-50 yrs
PEX – 100+ yrs
PVC – indefinitely
Stainless steel – 50 yrs
Got questions about plumbing? Contact us or call Freedom at (205) 444-4444 You can also visit our plumbing services page for more information. We can help you with anything from leaks and installations to drainage problems and any other plumbing-related issues.