Before you Start your Next Plumbing Project, Review These Must Know Plumbing Codes
When household plumbing goes wrong, it can cause a wet, smelly mess. However, before you start tackling pipe problems yourself, make sure you have a good understanding of plumbing codes and regulations. Not adhering to the codes could result in you ending up with worse plumbing issues later down the line.
Check the National Uniform Plumbing Code Before Starting Work
The National Uniform Plumbing Code is a comprehensive guide to plumbing design and installation. It covers everything from the construction of your home to the proper maintenance of your water heater.
The code is an excellent resource for homeowners who want to learn about plumbing basics, such as how to maintain pipe sizes and where to locate septic tanks.
Slope Drainpipes Correctly
The plumbing code requires that all drainpipes be sloped toward the street or other points of disposal. A 3/4-inch per foot slope is sufficient, but many local regulations provide for a steeper slope of 1/2 inch per foot.
The purpose of the slope is to allow rainwater to flow through the pipe at a rate sufficient to prevent clogging by leaves and other debris. The slope also aids in draining water away from buildings and structures.
The plumbing code requires that cleanout openings be located to be accessible for inspection, repair, and replacement. The following are some of the more common situations where a cleanout is required -
- In a drainage system that includes storm drains.
- At the base of a stack or chimney where it passes through an exterior wall.
- At a point where multiple pipes or drains join together in a single pipe.
- At any point where there is more than one trap on the same vertical section of pipe (such as where two fixtures are connected to one drain).
Avoid Cutting Notches in Joists
Avoid cutting joists when plumbing is always a good idea, but it's especially important when working with older homes. Cutting a notch in a joist weakens the entire structure of your house. It can cause serious damage if not done correctly by an experienced plumber.
Make Sure You Have the Right Size of Fittings and Pipes
When installing drainage pipes in your home, know what size is required by code — not just for toilets but also for tubs and showers. Plumbing codes specify how much water must flow through a pipe at a given rate. If too much water flows through the pipe, then the pipe can burst or clog up with sediment.
Ensure you Have the Right Material for Your Pipes
Copper pipes have specific requirements that must be met. For example, they must be installed using soldered joints or compression fittings, not threaded. The maximum allowable length of copper pipe is 150 feet.
PVC pipes do not need to be soldered or joined with any other technique before being installed. However, PVC pipe must meet specific requirements for thickness, which vary depending on where the pipe is located.
Water Pressure Must be Adequate
The water pressure in your home depends on the number of fixtures in your house and the type of water supply. If your home has many fixtures, such as faucets and shower heads, you must have adequate water pressure to prevent flooding or clogging.
Vent Pipes Correctly
The venting system removes vapors, gasses, and moisture from your plumbing fixtures and appliances. It's made up of pipes and vents transporting these substances outside your home. This keeps the air within your home clean and healthy.
If you're not sure if you have a proper venting system, here are some signs to look for -
- Foul odors in or around your home
- Mold growth or mildew
- Excessive condensation on windows or walls
- Stagnant water in drains or toilets
Proper Fixture Placement and Spacing
Plumbing fixtures need to be spaced apart, so each has its own water supply line and drain line. A good rule of thumb is that two fixtures should not be placed closer than 4 feet from each other, but this can vary depending on the type of fixture.
The most important thing to remember when spacing your plumbing fixtures is that some plumbing fixtures require more water than others. For example, toilets use more water than sinks or showers, so they should be installed farther away.
Remember to Maintain the Structure of the Building
If you have decided to install new plumbing fixtures, you must understand the impact this will have on the structure of your home. Plumbing fixtures can add considerable weight to a building's load-bearing walls, floors, and ceilings. If these walls, floors, and ceilings were not designed for this extra weight, they could collapse under the strain.
Still unsure about the plumbing codes for your local area? Contact our North Valley plumbing experts for more information.