Plumbing by definition is a system of pipes, valves, drainage fittings and equipment installed in any building or house for the purpose of distribution of water. Plumbing usually involves laying down pipelines, distribution of water for drinking or washing, removal of wastes and providing a means of transportation for the fluids. It has always been there since 8000 years in one form or the other, initially it involved troughs and pipes made of clay or straw. The materials that were then used in plumbing systems have come quite a long way, but still the basic principles remain the same. Usable, clean water under pressure is brought into the house and is used at a fixture. This water then exits the house through a drainage system by gravity pull.
In earlier times, the water system entirely relied on the gravitational force, using pipes usually made out of clay, bamboo, stone, wood or sometimes lead. Also, hollow wooden logs encased in steel banding were used as plumbing pipes. The plumbing industry has now advanced in every aspect. The present day water supply system uses a wide network of high pressure pumps. Also, the pipelines in buildings are now of copper, brass, plastic or other non toxic materials.
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The pipes are typically manufactured by using casting or welding methods. Pipes of the plumbing system normally have much thicker walls and may be threaded or welded. Also, there is yet another type of transport line used for water, called tubes. These are thin walled and require certain special joining techniques such as brazing, solvent welding, compression fitting or crimping.
The entire plumbing work of populated areas is regulated by the government or else quasi government organizations. Since this part of our society has direct impact on the public health, safety as well as welfare, so the government follows a very strict set of rules and regulations. The plumbing installations and the repair works on any residential area must be done according to the plumbing and building codes set by the government. There is a requirement of permit by the government for any type of plumbing work. This is all followed in order to protect the inhabitants of the residential area and to ensure safe construction keeping in mind the future buyers.
Equipments involved in plumbing are usually hidden behind the walls or in utility spaces away from public eyes. Some of them can be listed as water meters, backflow arrestors, water filtering devices, pumps, expansion tanks, UV lights which help in sterilization, softeners, heaters, gauges and heat exchangers.
Certain specialized plumbing equipments include wrenches for pipes, flaring pliers, pipe bending machine, pipe cutter, etc. There are other joining tools for example, soldering torches and crimp tools. Research and innovation in this field is continuous so that it is convenient for the plumbers to fix problems. Some of the new efficient tools discovered and introduced in the market are – use of video cameras for inspection of hidden leaks, using hydro jets and connecting pressurized hydraulic pumps to the steel cables so that there is a trench less sewer line replacement.
Steps Involved In Plumbing:
Firstly the water supply system brings cold water under pressure into the house. The water is introduced through a main supply pipeline, which is usually 1 inch to 1 ½ inches in diameter. The water filtration or the water softening system is usually placed close to the point of entry of the water supply. On entry, a part of the water is diverted towards the water heater in cold weather areas. Furthermore, small supply pipelines of about 3/8 inches diameter carry the water from the stub towards the fixtures.
Once the water has been used, it is then carried out of the house with the help of pipes ranging in size from 1 ¼ inches to 4 inches diameter. There are varied sizes of drainpipes and it usually depends on the size of their fixtures. Now, each fixture drain has been attached with a trap. Traps are used to hold a small amount of water which acts a stopper that keeps sewage gasses away from the house. These fixture drains are also equipped with vents, which help relieve the pressure and allow water to flow out freely.
Cleanouts are something that gives you direct access to DWV system, and you would not have to cut the pipeline. Cleanouts are usually installed at the end of the horizontal drain and close to the point of exit of the main drain or the sewer line.
The plumbing industry is a very basic and crucial part of every developed or developing economy. It is this part of economy which tends to the need of clean water, good sanitary conditions and transport of wastes. Hence, it is a substantial part of our civilization.