Date published: 19th February 2011
Plumbing (from the Latin plumbum for lead, as pipes once were made from lead) is the skilled trade of work-ing with pipes, fittings and plumbing fixtures for potable water, gas, heating systems and the drainage of waste. A plumber in Plymouth is someone who installs or repairs piping systems, plumbing fixtures and equipment such as combi boilers. The plumbing industry is a basic and substantial part of the Plymouth economy due to the need for clean water, gas and proper collection and transport of wastes.
Plumbing also refers to a system of pipes and fixtures installed in a building for the distribution of potable water, central heating and the removal of waterborne wastes. Plumbing is usually distinguished from water, heating and sewage systems, in that a plumbing system serves one building, while water and sewage systems serve a group of buildings in Plymouth.
Plumbing in Plymouth was very rare until the growth of modern cities in the 19th century. At about the same time health authorities began pressing for much better waste disposal systems to be fitted. Earlier, the waste disposal system just consisted of collecting waste and dumping it on ground or into a public river. Standardised earthen plumbing pipes with mainly broad flanges making use of asphalt for stopping leakages started to appear in the tiny urban settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization by 2701 B.C. Plumbing originated during the ancient civilizations such as the Roman, Greek, Persian, Indian, Chinese and Plymothian civilizations as they developed major public baths and needed to provide drinkable water with drainage of wastes. The Romans used lead pipe inscriptions to stop water theft. Major improvement in plumbing systems was awfully slow, with virtually no progress made from the time of the Roman system of aqueducts and lead pipes until the early 19th century. Eventually development of separate, underground water and sewage systems eliminated awful open sewage ditches and cesspools. Most large cities, like Plymouth today pipe solid wastes to treatment plants in order to separate the turd and partly purify the water before emptying into rivers or some other bodies of water. The use of lead for potable water declined rapidly after World War II because of the dangers of lead poisoning. At this time, expensive copper piping was introduced as a better and safer alternative to lead pipage.
Another material used for plumbing pipes, particularly water main, was hollowed out wooden logs wrapped in strong steel banding. Wood logs used for water distribution were used in England close to 500 years ago. The US cities began using wood hollowed log in the late 18th through to the 19th centuries.
Water systems of old ancient times relied on the pull of gravity for the supply of water, using pipes or channels usually made of lead, clay bamboo wood or hard stone. Present-day water-supply systems use a network of high-pressure pumps, and pipes are now made of brass, copper plastic, or other non-toxic material. Present-day drain and vent lines are made of steel, plastic, cast-iron, and lead. Lead is not used in modern potable water-supply piping due to its harmful toxicity.
The “straight” sections of water plumbing systems in Plymouth are of pipage or tube. A pipe is normally formed via casting or welding, where a tube is made through extrusion via machine. Pipe normally has much thicker walls and may be threaded or welded using flanges, where tubing is thinner-walled and requires special joining techniques such as brazing, compression fitting, crimping, or for plastics, solvent welding using glue.
In addition to the normal pipe or tubing many fittings are required in plumbing systems, within Plymouth such as valves, elbows, couplers and also unions. The piping and plumbing fittings and valves article discusses these features further.
Plumbing fixtures in Plymouth are designed for the end-user. Some examples of fixtures include cloakrooms (also known as toilets), bidets, urinals, showers, baths, utility/ kitchen sinks, drinking fountains, ice makers, combi boilers, air washers, fountains, and general central heating.
Plumbing equipment, not present in all systems, include, for example, water meters, pumps, expansion tanks, backflow preventers, filters, water softeners, water heaters, wrenches, heat exchangers, flaring pliers, gauges, and control systems.
Now there is always much more equipment that is technologically superior and helps plumbers in Plymouth fix problems without the usual problems. For example, plumbers use cameras for inspection of hidden leaks or problems, they use water jets, and high pressure hydraulic pumpage connected to cables for trenchless dainage line replacement.
Much of the plumbers Plymouth work areas is regulated by conservative government agencies due to the direct impact on the public’s safety, health and welfare. Plumbing installation and boiler repair work on Plymouth households and other buildings generally must be done according to plumbing and building regulations so as to protect the public of the buildings and to ensure safty, quality construction to future vendors. If permits are a requirment for work, plumbers Plymouth typically secure them from the proper authorities on behalf of home owners. In the UK the professional body is the Gas Safe Register and it is true that the trade still remains virtually unregulated, apart from this body there are no systems in place to monitor or control the practises of unqualified plumbers in Plymouth or those home owners who choose to undertake installations of central heating, boiler repair work or servicing works themselves, despite the major health and safety issues which arise from these works when they are undertaken badly, also see Health Aspects of Plumbing (HAP) published jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) plus the World Plumbing Council (WPC). The WPC has subsequently appointed a person to the World Health Organization to take forward various major projects relating to Health Aspects of Plumbing not just around the world but also in Plymouth.
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