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What Are the Three Main Regulations Plumbers Have to Follow?

four season plumbing track

You may have heard a joke about the three rules to being a plumber, which, while amusing, is not the substance of this blog post. (The punchline is usually something like “payday is on Friday, poo flows downhill, and never chew your fingernails.”) 

While these are some relatable and humorous guidelines to live by, those who train and work as plumbers in WNC, including Black Mountain, NC, have three principal regulations to follow. These principles protect clients from accidents, injury, and costly repairs from having to call an emergency plumber. They also protect plumbers from the danger of being sued or even prosecuted. 

The three regulations plumbers keep foremost in mind when working on home, commercial, or industrial projects are regarding preventing backflow, standards in best practice pipework installation, and guidelines around the use of thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs).

plumber at work

Regulation 1: Prevent Backflow 

According to the American Waterworks Association, rules and regulations for developing, operating, and maintaining an efficient and effective cross-connection control program are governed by the United States Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which became law in 1974. Cross-connections are anywhere other substances may get into the potable drinking water lines and contaminate the water people may drink. 

The most important aspects of plumbing codes regarding cross-connections are as follows:

  • To guarantee sufficient pressure at fixtures, the distribution system must be set up using factory-approved parts and according to blueprint specifications.
  • Cross-connection control involves installing backflow preventers on plumbing fixtures and appliances to stop contaminated water from flowing back into the supply.
  • A plumber must perform plumbing work with a valid license (with few exclusions, including landscaping and fire-sprinkler contractors).

When water that has been stagnant or polluted is pulled back into the mains water supply, a severe issue called backflow results. If the pressure in your system suddenly drops below the pressure in your water mains, or if your system runs at a more significant pressure than the water mains, the water will flow backward.

The potential for dangerous pollutants to be sucked back into the potable water supply highlights the need to take the necessary precautions to avoid or defend against this.

Backflow protection devices like Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) valves are necessary in these cases. This assembly can be checked and has built-in testing procedures to reduce the heightened risk of contamination. Back-fed water from a property is sent out to a waste pipe, away from the main supply and drinking network, reducing the danger of contamination in the case of a pressure drop or back siphonage.

If backflow occurs in a residential site, it could be perilous for the people living there. Backflow looks like wastewater coming up through the drain, toilet, or sink, even when you’re not using them. Call an emergency plumber in Black Mountain, NC, if this happens. 

Regulation 2: Standards in Best Practice Pipework Installation

Plumbers, contractors, and people who choose to DIY their renovations must follow the National Uniform Plumbing Code. North Carolina and other states have their own plumbing codes, which may be more stringent than the national code. Before beginning a project, check whether your local or state regulations differ from federal rules. 

Plumbing and health rules provide the bare minimum for building construction, fixture installation, and system operation on the customer’s property to prevent potential health hazards. Four Seasons Plumbing always follows national, state, and local plumbing codes and regulations to protect our customers and their homes. Keep reading for a few essential codes you should follow when installing plumbing fixtures in Black Mountain, NC.

Fit Catch Basins

To comply with most local building requirements, cleanouts must be provided for all plumbing devices within a structure, particularly those that are concealed, such as those found under sinks and toilets.

Slope Drainpipes Correctly

To conform to plumbing regulations, a drainpipe must be slanted toward the closest waste pipe. As a result, there will be no sewage backup into the residence.

Depending on your local codes, the slope should be at least ¼ to 1/8 inch for each foot. 

Avoid Making Notches in the Joists

The joists in your house are the horizontal beams that hold up the floor and the ceiling. They’re the unseen yet crucial building material of your home. Cutting notches in joists is not recommended for plumbing purposes. Cut notches in posts at your own risk since they will become weaker and more likely to fail. 

Install Appropriately Sized Fittings and Pipes 

Plumbing difficulties might arise if the drainage pipes are too small or don’t adhere to the plumbing rules, leading to costly repairs and upgrades down the road. Having your lines professionally measured to ensure free and unobstructed water flow is essential.

Regulation 3: TMV Guidelines

Scalding prevention is an essential feature of any hot water system, and systems that maintain temperatures high enough to kill Legionella bacteria are also desirable.

A Thermostatic Mixing Valve (TMV) must be installed for this purpose. TMVs are controlled by mixing hot and cold water to a predetermined temperature and are subject to laws governing their use. In 2010, TMVs were mandatory for all newly constructed commercial and residential structures, as well as any sites experiencing a “change of use” after 2012.

Due to the critical nature of eliminating potentially dangerous Legionella bacteria and providing potable water at appropriate temperatures, selecting the appropriate TMV is essential. The choice between TMV2- and TMV3-certified valves is crucial, as detailed in Part G of the Building Regulations.

Valves with the TMV2 certification should be used in institutional and public structures. TMVs are required to maintain an ambient temperature of fewer than 48 degrees Celsius at all times and to immediately switch off in the case of a loss of either hot or cold water. Several sinks in a public restroom or a row of locker room showers may all be supplied by a single TMV.

TMV3-approved valves should be selected after a risk assessment is conducted in healthcare settings. A shutoff valve is an absolute need for each water source noted in the audit.

Four Seasons Plumbing Can Help People in Black Mountain, NC!

No matter the project, plumbing codes can be confusing if you are not trained as a plumber. If you have questions or are ready for help, reach out to Four Seasons Plumbing, and we will be delighted to be at your service. You may contact us at 828-216-3894 or by completing the Contact Us Form.

Max Rose - Owner of Four Seasons Plumbing


Max Rose

Max Rose is the owner of Four Seasons Plumbing, a plumbing company in Asheville, North Carolina.