The plumbing system in any home is a complex network of pipes, drains, hoses, and appliances. Without following proper procedures in installing or repairing plumbing, a lot can go wrong, causing immense damage. That’s why plumbing codes exist; to help prevent such disasters.
If you have a DIY attitude, you may think you can repair or replace plumbing elements on your own. While that may be possible, it’s also risky if you don’t do it right. Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid problems, if you try to sell your house, it most likely won’t pass inspection.
Common Plumbing Mistakes
A well-intentioned amateur might believe that their plumbing job went well. But when you review the code requirements, it’s easy to forget some of the details stipulated in them. Here are some of the problems that typically occur when a reputable professional plumber is not involved.
1. Inadequate Drain Slope
The required slope of a drain line can vary in order to meet code, but it should usually be ¼ inch for every foot of pipe. This slope is necessary for the lines to flow at the right momentum to carry solid waste and scour the side walls. If there is either too little or too much slope in the lines, it will lead to frequent clogs
2. Improper or Inadequate Venting
A plumbing trap is the part of a pipe that curves at the bottom. It holds water to prevent gases from rising from the sewer end of the pipe. There used to be both “P” and “S” styles of traps in the early 20th century, but only P traps are allowed now because there were problems with the S traps working properly. If the trap isn’t vented correctly, the water in the trap will be siphoned out, negating their effectiveness.
3. Insufficient or Inaccessible Cleanouts
Cleanouts are areas that allow access to plumbing to unclog drains. There should be enough cleanouts available and in accessible locations to ensure sufficient access for repairs. Another issue will arise if you’re using your main sewer line as a drain. The cleanout should remain sealed unless the main sewer line is clogged.
4. Improper or Illegal Materials
It’s important to use the right plumbing materials to avoid a code violation. If you’re installing or replacing any plumbing fixtures, always make sure they will meet code requirements.
5. Improperly Sized Drainage Piping
Every drain needs a pipe that’s a specific size. If you use one that’s too small or too large, leaks will occur. If the right size isn’t used, the pipes won’t do the job that they are supposed to and you’ll be in violation of code.
6. Pressure Relief Valves Improperly Installed
Your water heater has a temperature and pressure relief valve that prevents it from exploding. When it’s installed correctly, it will release water to relieve the pressure. If it’s leaking, it needs to be replaced. Never plug the valve to stop the leak! You could not only be at risk of code violations, you’re at risk of a deadly disaster.
7. Insufficient Space Around Toilet and Other Bathroom Fixtures
There are requirements for the area around a toilet to have sufficient room. The minimum space also applies to bathroom sinks and cabinets. This requirement can vary depending on the location, so you’ll need to check your local codes for the specifics.
8. Nonfunctioning Water Shut Offs
The main water shut off valve is important to stop the flow of water and prevent further damage if you have a major leak. If the shut off isn’t working properly, it not only violates code but can cause extensive water damage to your home.
Avoiding Plumbing Code Violations
The most foolproof way to make sure your plumbing system is up to code is to always hire a reputable plumber to install and repair your plumbing. If you’re not certain that your current system meets requirements, Simply Green Plumbing, Sewer & Rooter can inspect it for you. We’ll give you a breakdown of any areas that need attention.
Simply Green always complies with local and international plumbing codes. To prevent plumbing code violations from happening in the first place, call on us for any repairs or replacements you need. We offer maintenance programs where we’ll check the system on a scheduled basis for vulnerabilities. You’ll save money on water and utilities and avoid water damage by keeping your plumbing system in good working order.
Finally, because plumbing emergencies will happen, we’re available 24/7 for your convenience. We’ll be there as soon as possible at no extra charge to you.