Plumbing and Your Home

Bathtubs and lavatories can have overflows installed. These two fixtures are often used without close observation. A person preparing to take a bath will typically turn on the water and leave while the tub is filling up. If left for a long time, the tub water may rise to a height where the overflow will take the excess water to the drain, preventing flooding of the area. Many tubs are capable of supplying water at rates greater than the flow rate of the overflow. With such fixtures, overflowing and flooding may not be prevented.

The bidet is a small bathing fixture used by both sexes. It is not designed for the elimination of human waste, but for cleaning the perineal area, and other body parts, including feet. It is typically equipped with a water spray that directs water upward in a jet towards a body part.

Sink waste outlets should have a minimum diameter of 1-1/2 inches (38 mm). Most kitchen sinks have an opening of 3-1/2 inches (89 mm) in diameter. A food waste grinder has a standard opening of 3-1/2 inches (89 mm), and so do most kitchen sink basket strainers. A strainer or crossbar should be provided to restrict the clear opening of the waste outlet.

Bathtubs are made from many different types of materials, including enameled cast-iron, porcelain-enameled steel, and plastic. Plastic tubs are made from materials such as ABS, PVC, fiberglass, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, acrylic, and cultured-marble acrylic. Bathtubs that are equipped with shower fixtures should be manufactured with slip-resistant surfaces. Bathtubs should have a drainage outlet (tailpiece) with a minimum diameter of 1-1/2 inches (38 mm). Every tub should be equipped with a stopper. The bathtub should have an overflow outlet installed. The overflow prevents flooding if the tub is being filled while unattended, and prevents overflow of the water when a person enters a tub that is full.

Fully open the hot and cold water faucets and fill the whirlpool tub with water at least 1 to 3 inches above the whirlpool jets. Do not operate the pump until all jets are submerged. Direct the jets downward before activating the pump. Inspect the amount of bubbling with the controls. The suction inlets typically have very small openings, less than 1/8-inch in diameter, to prevent catching hair and pulling someone’s head under water.

Many injuries in a dwelling are related to accidents in the bathtub or shower. The minimum opening requirements for access and egress allows an adult enough room to safely step into and exit the shower area without having to twist or turn through a narrow opening. The shower opening (or access and egress opening) should be at least 22 inches (559 mm) of clear and unobstructed finish-width. The 22-inch width is based on the approximate shoulder width of an average-sized adult. This minimum opening dimension also provides comfortable access to service the valves, showerheads and drain. It allows for emergency response and rescue access, and emergency egress.

The Barrie Home Inspector is trained to inspect your homes complete plumbing system. He will inspect your supply lines to waste drains and check all your plumbing fixtures. Protect your next real estate purchase by having a professional home inspection.

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