Definitions

plumbing

plumbing

[pluhm-ing]
plumbing, piping systems inside buildings for water supply and sewage. The Romans had a highly developed plumbing system; water was brought to Rome by aqueducts and distributed to homes in lead pipes—hence the name plumbing from the Latin word plumbum for lead. During the Middle Ages, however, plumbing became almost nonexistent. In fact, London's first water system after the Middle Ages (c.1515) consisted partly of the rehabilitated Roman system; the rest was patterned after it. Modern plumbing began in the early 1800s, when steam engines became capable of supplying water under pressure and cheap cast iron pipes could be supplied to carry it. The common materials used today in water supply pipes are steel, copper, brass, plastic, and lead. Plumbing for sewage is made of cast iron, steel, asbestos cement, copper, and plastic. Water pressure is usually insufficient to supply the needs of tall apartment and office buildings; in such cases storage tanks are installed on the roof, into which a pump lifts water. The water then flows through the piping system of the building by gravity. Smaller buildings may have a pneumatic tank for the same purpose. The tank is partly filled with air, which is compressed when water is pumped in so that it will force water through the pipes. Sewage and drain systems typically have a trap, often a loop-shaped section of pipe, to seal off vapors in the pipes from the rest of the building. Vent pipes lead these vapors to the outside of the building; they also eliminate any suction in the piping and thus prevent the siphoning of water from traps when a nearby fixture discharges. In the 1970s and 80s flexible polybutylene plumbing was widely installed in standard and mobile homes. When unprecedented numbers of these plastic pipes began leaking because of exposure to chlorine and other chemicals in tap water, homeowners brought class-action lawsuits against the manufacturers, which were settled in 1995 for hundreds of millions of dollars.

The basic components of a plumbing fixture include the water-supply pipes, a valve or faucet for elipsis

System of pipes and fixtures installed in a building for the distribution of potable water and the removal of waterborne wastes. Plumbing is usually distinguished from water and sewage systems, which serve a group of buildings or a city. Improvement in plumbing systems was very slow, with virtually no progress made from the time of the Roman system of aqueducts and lead pipes until the 19th century. Eventually the development of separate, underground water and sewage systems eliminated open sewage ditches. Present-day water pipes are usually made of steel, copper, brass, plastic, or other nontoxic material. A building's waste-disposal system has two parts: the drainage system and the venting system. The drainage portion comprises pipes leading from various fixture drains to the central main, which is connected to the sewage system. The venting system consists of pipes leading from an air inlet (usually on the roof) to various points within the drainage system; by providing the circulation of air within the system, it protects the trap seals of fixtures from siphonage and back pressure. Seealso sewage system, water pollution, water-supply system.

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Plumbing, from the Latin plumbum for lead, is the skilled trade of working with pipes, tubing and plumbing fixtures for drinking water systems and the drainage of waste. A plumber is someone who installs or repairs piping 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.

Plumbing also refers to a system of pipes and fixtures installed in a building for the distribution of potable water and the removal of waterborne wastes. Plumbing is usually distinguished from water and sewage systems, in that a plumbing system serves one building, while water and sewage systems serve a group of buildings or a city.

History

Standardized earthenware plumbing pipes with broad flanges making use of asphalt for preventing leakages appeared in the urban settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization by 2700 B.C. 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, and drainage of wastes. Improvement in plumbing systems was very slow, with virtually no progress made from the time of the Roman system of aqueducts and lead pipes until the 19th century. Eventually the development of separate, underground water and sewage systems eliminated open sewage ditches and cesspools.

Materials

Water systems of ancient times relied on gravity for the supply of water, using pipes or channels usually made of clay, lead or stone. Present-day water-supply systems use a network of high-pressure pumps, and pipes are now made of copper, brass, plastic, steel, or other nontoxic material. Present-day drain and vent lines are made of plastic, steel, cast-iron, and lead. Lead is not used in modern water-supply piping due to its toxicity.

The 'straight' sections of plumbing systems are of pipe or tube. 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', 'compression fitting', 'crimping', or for plastics, 'solvent welding'.Plumbing comes from the latin word plumbum

Fittings and valves

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 and valves articles discuss them further.

Fixtures

Plumbing fixtures are designed for the end-users. Some examples of fixtures include water closets (also known as toilets), urinals, bidets, showers, bathtubs, utility and kitchen sinks, drinking fountains, ice makers, humidifiers, air washers,, crappers, fountains, and eye wash stations

Equipment

Plumbing equipment, not present in all systems, include, for example, water meters, pumps, expansion tanks, backflow preventers, filters, water softeners, water heaters, heat exchangers, gauges, and control systems.

Now there is 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:

For their environmental benefit and sizable energy savings hot water heat recycling units are growing in use throughout the residential building sectors. Further ecological concern has seen increasing interest in gray-water recovery and treatment systems.

Firestopping

Firestopping is required where mechanical penetrants traverse fire-resistance rated 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 (cities, towns, etc...) 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 plumbing 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 (WHO) and the World Plumbing Council (WPC) WPC has subsequently appointed a representative to the World Health Organization to take forward various projects related to Health Aspects of Plumbing

See also

References

  • Teresi, Dick; et al. Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science--from the Babylonians to the Maya. New York: Simon & Schuster.

External Resources

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