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Preventing Plumbing Problems (Part 1)

Water is a vital element of any home or business, but if the wrong circumstances prevail, then you may end up with a real plumbing nightmare. Water damageproblems can easily cost thousands of dollars and a lot in the way of time in order to properly correct. Thus we begin our series on how to avoid water damage from plumbing problems.

For starters, don’t use galvanic connectors with copper plumbing. Mixing the two with nithing more than a little sealant or plumbing tape means that you can have a trouble free connection, or one that begins to corrode almost immediately. Instead, use a dielectric union to connect copper to galvanized steel. The steel collar is for the steel side and the copper collar is for the copper side with isolation bushings to keep them separated.

Prevent backflow.  Backflow occurs whenever there is a sudden and severe drop in water pressure that allows water to flow back through the pipes in the opposite direction from which it normally flows. You can use a vacuum breaker fitting on the end of a garden hose bib (the valve on the exterior of the house). This will prevent the hose from backflowing in the event of a shift in pressure. Some areas and communities actually require these to be installed.

Use all the right connectors. Even gas lines are considered plumbing, and as such it is important to have al the right components when installing a new unit in your home. Use a universal connection kit for dryers and gas ranges, as they come with a variety of adapters to compose the transition from the pipe/fitting that is supplying the gas to whatever unit will be making use of it.

Know the location of all of your pipes. You do not want to inadvertently drive a nail or a screw into hidden copper pipework.  An inexpensive stud sensor will do much to aid you in this endeavor. Unfinished basements are easier since they allow you to see exactly where studs and pipes are located. You can also cut a test hatch in drywalls to find the plumbing that is behind it.

Familiarize yourself with the various codes for your area as they apply to plumbing….pipe size, fixture spacing, and other related issues.  A copy of the International Plumbing Code or Uniform Plumbing Code can be invaluable when it comes to such matters, and Code Check is a booklet that is updated as changes are made to building codes, and it is written to cover those things that even the professionals get wrong from time to time.

In our next installment, we will look at some more methods by which to avoid a  water damage plumbing system nightmare.

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