All plumbing work done for your property needs to adhere to local, state and federal codes. Bieg’s master plumbers are all up-to-date on the latest regulations and follow them. However, less experienced plumbers or DIYers probably aren’t aware of all the rules, and mistakes are common.
Most common plumbing violations
Not being up to code can result in fines and expensive repairs, so getting the job done correctly the first time is crucial. Here are a few of the most common plumbing violations we encounter:
- Incorrect kitchen and bathroom sink traps. The “trap” of a sink is a shaped piece of pipe underneath the fixture that is meant to prevent noxious sewer gases and odors from releasing into the house. After the water is shut off, some water remains and doesn’t drain. This blocks out the gases. Today, P-traps (they are shaped like the letter “P”) are common and up to code. Older S-traps have been prohibited for years due to their poor performance, yet we still find them in use.
- Insufficient spacing for toilet installations. To be in line with regulations, toilets are required to be at least 15 inches – measured from the center of the toilet, not the edge – away from the side walls. There also needs to be at least 30 inches in front of the toilet to allow for easy access. Failing to account for these mandatory distances results in a violation.
- Improper slopes for drainage pipes. Drain pipes rely on gravity to work. Water drains away from the property through pipes with a downward slope. St. Louis’s plumbing code (508.4) requires these pipes to “maintain a minimum horizontal slope in the direction of discharge of not less than one-eighth unit vertical in the 12 units horizontal (1-percent slope).” Failure to comply can result in pipes that are prone to leaks, as well as slow drainage for the property’s sinks and bathtubs.
- Faulty pressure relief valves in water heaters. This is an extremely dangerous violation. Water heaters are fitted with temperature and pressure relief valves. These valves activate when the temperature or pressure in a water tank becomes too high, and the water drains. If this safety valve is not functioning properly, the temperature and pressure build up inside the tank until there is a violent explosion. Have your valves inspected regularly to ensure they’re in good working order?
- Lack of cleanouts. A cleanout is an access point for your plumbing system. According to St. Louis code (707.4), there must be at least one accessible cleanout per 100 feet of horizontal drainage pipe. Proper cleanouts are important for plumbing maintenance work and unclogging procedures. If they aren’t there, large sections of your plumbing system are inaccessible.
If you’re unsure whether your plumbing system is up to code, call in the professionals here at Bieg Plumbing. With more than 60 years of service in the St. Louis area, we’ve seen it all and can help fix any plumbing problem. Contact us today for an inspection or consultation.
Plumbing violations got you stuck? Call in the red truck!