Building codes are created for a reason. They keep us safe and protect our homes and office buildings. As professional, licensed plumbers, following code isn’t a choice – it’s part of our job. The same can’t be said for many DIY installers, handymen, or contractors.
Whether due to inexperience or a desire to save money, important plumbing codes can often go ignored. In many cases, we are brought in to fix the problem caused by someone who didn’t follow the appropriate building codes.
Here are five common plumbing code violations that you should look out for and avoid.
1. Improper bathroom venting
An exhaust fan is an effective way to remove steam and smells from a bathroom. The fan is supposed to be connected to a vent to goes to the roof or side of the building. Unfortunately, we often see the vent improperly installed so that it ends inside, such as in an attic or other unfinished space that you typically won’t see. The problem is that heat and humidity can get trapped in the space, causing moisture damage, mold, or mildew.
2. Insufficient space around toilet
When installing a toilet, there needs to be at least 15 inches from the center point to a side finished wall. This actually isn’t that much space when you consider that the toilet is going to take up around half of that. But in a very small bathroom this code needs to be considered, especially if the toilet is going in before drywall is installed.
3. Improper slope of drain pipes
Drain pipes rely on gravity to move wastewater to the appropriate sewage system. If the pipes are not sloped downward, the contents will not be able to properly drain –in fact, sewage may even drain backward. The standard slope for drain pipe is 1/8 inch per foot pitch for pipes 3 inches or larger.
4. Incorrect installation of water heater pressure and temperature relief
Every water heater should have a safety device called a pressure and temperature relief valve. If the temperature or pressure builds up and reaches an unsafe level inside the water heater, the valve is designed to drain water out of the tank until the proper levels are reached. If the relief valve is installed incorrectly or removed, there’s a risk that the water heater could explode. This obviously would be very dangerous and cause significant damage in the home.
5. Faulty GFCI protection
This is technically an electrical issue but since it relates to kitchens and bathrooms, we think it’s important to mention. Ground-fault circuit interrupters (or GFCIs) are electrical outlets that automatically cut the power of there’s too much moisture or a change in electrical current. This can prevent a major electrical issue, injury from electrical shock, or damage to home appliances. GFCIs are required in kitchens, bathrooms, outdoors, and other areas where water may be present. To check if your outlets are up to code, you can use an inexpensive GFCI tester tool.
Trust the plumbing pros
To keep your home safe and comfortable, plumbing codes should never be ignored. Get the quality service you deserve by contacting the top plumbers in Amarillo at Pratt Plumbing. To schedule an appointment, call us at (806) 373-7866.