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What Are the Most Common Plumbing Code Violations?

In this day and age, everyone is looking for ways to save a few pennies here and there. There is no shame in looking for a bargain. That being said, when it comes to your home’s plumbing, saving a few pennies could end up costing you a small fortune if your plumbing systems are not up to code.

Plumbing codes are established and consistently updated by plumbing industry professionals in response to real-world problems that occur as a result of faulty plumbing. These codes are in place to protect you and your family from the potential health risks, property damage, and emergency expenses associated with faulty plumbing installations or repairs.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common plumbing code violations and how you can avoid getting swamped by one of these costly mistakes.

1. Incorrect Drainage Slope

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised to learn how often this classic plumbing code violation comes up. The drainage pipes that carry wastewater and waste away from your home and property rely on the force of gravity to work effectively. All too often, the land’s topography, the home’s placement on your land, or the location of the plumbing installation within the home leads to the improper placement and incorrect slope of drainage pipes.

Drainage pipes with an insufficient slope lead to slow-draining sinks, tubs, and toilets within the home and can lead to waste accumulation within the pipes themselves over time. As waste builds up in the pipes, the likelihood of clogs, backups, and ruptures increases, leading to costly repairs down the road.

2. Cleanout Quantity & Placement Issues

Cleanouts are vital to the proper function and maintenance of your home or business plumbing system. Cleanouts allow access to the plumbing system at crucial points and must be readily available when repairs are needed.

The plumbing code dictates that a minimum number of cleanouts be installed depending on the overall size of the plumbing system. Additionally, it is imperative that these cleanouts must be placed where they will not become clogged with debris or obstructed by appliances, furniture, or outdoor landscaping.

Cleanouts should be positioned with ease of access in mind, as these will be the main points of entry for later inspection and repairs. Finally, it is vital to place cleanouts in areas where hazards are minimized. Cleanouts should not be placed near electrical installations, junction boxes, or in regions that are prone to flooding.

3. Incorrect Pipe Traps

The pipe trap is a curved portion of the plumbing system installed directly beneath your interior drains. This curved pipe section is designed to allow a small amount of water to remain pooled in the pipe, preventing dangerous sewer gasses from flowing up through the pipes into your home or business. Sewer gasses are not only putrid smelling, but they are also extremely flammable and can pose a risk of fire or explosion if allowed to accumulate in large quantities.

Older or inexpertly installed plumbing systems may have unvented s-shaped pipe traps. These traps are no longer acceptable as they can create a vacuum that sucks water out of the pipes allowing explosive sewer gasses to enter the structure and build up within the pipes.

4. Incorrect Pipe Size Selection

Incorrect pipe size selection is one of the most common plumbing code violations that we regularly encounter in the field. When installing a drain, the drainage pipe attached to each drain must be the appropriate match for the specific drain. Drainage pipes that are either too small or too large will both constitute a plumbing code violation.

An improperly sized drainage pipe can cause several problems. A drainage pipe smaller than the drain itself or too small for the volume flowing through will increase the likelihood of clogs, build-ups, and slow-flowing drains. Drainage pipes that are too large may not create sufficient pressure and may allow for debris to settle within the pipe leading to clogs and damage to the pipe itself.

It is important to remember that every drain has an appropriately sized drainage pipe to match. Suppose you are unsure of the exact size pairing of drains and their accompanying drainage pipes. In that case, you will need to seek out the assistance of a professional plumber for proper installation.

5. Prohibited Materials

One of the most frequent mistakes DIYers make when they manage plumbing repairs on their own is using inappropriate or prohibited materials. It is crucial that you thoroughly investigate and understand the various plumbing code restrictions in your local area before attempting any plumbing repair. The types of piping and plumbing materials allowed in one region of the country may be prohibited in another due to variances in water pressure, water quality, and the surrounding temperature of the environment.

Additionally, there are some materials that are universally prohibited in most areas, including corrugated pipes and many types of plastics. In areas where a particular piping or fitting material is not prohibited, it is still important to know which type of material is the correct choice for each particular use.

For example, PVC pipes and fittings may be a solid choice for some types of plumbing installations, while copper piping or steel pipes and fittings are required for another. If you need more confidence in your knowledge of the best type of pipe, or the most appropriate fitting for a specific use, it is best to leave the repair or installation to the pros.

Ready To Call In The Professional Asheville Plumbers?

If you want to save yourself the stress and hassle of worrying about passing your next inspection, your best bet is to call in a professional plumber to manage the work for you.

The professionals at Four Seasons Plumbing are ready to be your go-to Asheville plumbers providing expert plumbing maintenance, repair, and installation services in Asheville, NC, and the surrounding areas. Our team of friendly and knowledgeable pros has the experience needed to help you side-step these costly plumbing mistakes and ensure you sail through your next plumbing inspection with flying colors.

Four Seasons Plumbing is always here when you need us, whether for routine maintenance, a standard repair or upgrade, or emergency plumbing in Asheville, NC. Help is never more than a phone call away. Give us a call at 828-216-3894 or fill out our form here.

What Are the Most Common Plumbing Code Violations?
Max Rose - Owner of Four Seasons Plumbing

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Max Rose

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