Plumbing codes exist to protect us. As plumbing technology has grown and evolved, we have learned what works and what does not. When we learn that a particular practice, material, or component doesn’t work properly or creates additional risk when installed in a certain way, rules change in order to prohibit that mistake from happening again. These rules are known as plumbing codes, and they are updated every two years or so in order to accommodate for changes and discoveries.
However, just because the rules change doesn’t mean your plumbing does. And that means there’s a strong chance your property may violate one or more of these rules. Is this a big deal? Not always, but in some cases you should have the issue rectified right away. Here are four common code violations we see regularly as plumbing professionals.
Clogs are a part of life. No matter how much you try to care for your drains, after a while the debris and waste that goes down the drain in an average home will eventually cause that drain to jam up and clog. However, where the drain line clogs is another story. In some cases, the clog might be hundreds of feet into a drain line, or in a place where an average drain cleaning tool simply can’t reach it (such as behind a garbage disposal). This is why plumbing codes dictate that the average home should have a sufficient number of cleanouts, or openings in your drain lines that can be used to get to a clog somewhere in the system.
The number of cleanouts you are required to have will vary on a number of different factors, and a professional plumber should be able to help you determine if you have a suitable number. Generally, newer homes will be more than sufficiently supplied with cleanouts. However, one common code violation with older properties is not enough of these cleanouts to allow for proper clog removal.
Improperly Placed Cleanouts
In addition to not having enough cleanouts, older properties often do not have cleanouts in the right places. An improperly placed cleanout is one that is hard to get to, making it difficult or even impossible for a plumber to get a snake, auger, or jetting machine into the cleanout to properly deal with your issue. Cleanouts can be moved, but the process is rather difficult and requires the skill of a professional.
Some common examples of improperly placed cleanouts include:
- Cleanouts near electrical panels: It isn’t uncommon for a plumbing service in a cleanout to get rather messy and splatter water everywhere. Mixing water and electrical equipment generally isn’t a good idea, so plumbing codes dictate that cleanouts need to be a suitable distance from any electrical panels.
- Cleanouts located near sensitive areas: Cleanouts should be nowhere near the vicinity of any area that requires stringent cleaning standards. This includes kitchens or medical facilities.
- Improper materials: There’s a strong temptation to mix modern, copper materials with old, cast-iron pipes that have been installed for quite a while. However, these cleanouts often create unreliable connections, and this could lead to an unsanitary mess.
Fittings are what plumbers use to connect various runs of piping in order to allow them to go around corners, split off into different areas, and more. However, if you run out of a proper type of fitting, there’s a strong temptation to go digging through your materials and find something that will do the job, perhaps with a little bit of additional modification. However, while it might be tempting to use a T-joint and block off the third exit instead of going and getting an additional true corner, using the wrong fitting is a major code violation that will need to be fixed.
If you have ever used a toilet with improper clearance before, you know how annoying it can be and that you never want to do it again. This is particularly a problem for larger people, who struggle to fit into some of the tighter spaces created by toilets that are not installed with the right amount of clearance. According to plumbing codes, toilets are required to have a minimum of 15 inches of space in all directions, except immediately behind, and that includes clearance from things like showers, vanities, bathtubs, sinks, and any other fixtures. If your toilet does not have sufficient clearance, you will need to move it. This is not an urgent fix, but you may be required to do so in the event you ever remodel the bathroom. Likewise, this will show up as a violation the next time you have your home properly inspected.Looking for code correction and violation removal services in Las Vegas? Call Lange Plumbing & Fire Protection at (702) 500-0936 today to schedule an inspection.