Plumbing codes. Just hearing those words can be intimidating. But, they really aren’t that bad, and in fact, are pretty necessary. Plumbing codes are used in order to put forward a set of standards to make sure your home and properties are constructed safely. They also guarantee materials used in construction are high quality, and protect consumers from shady contractors.
Not completing plumbing projects “to code” can lead to legal fees and fines. It can also jeopardize insurance claims if something happens to your home, or expose you to lawsuits in the case of an accident on your property. Not following code can also affect your ability to resell your home or business, as some buyers might insist you go back and fix it correctly before a sale goes through, guaranteeing you pay twice for the same work.
Texas Plumbing Codes
Texas has adopted two sets of plumbing codes that home and business owners need to abide by, the International Plumbing Code (ICC) and the Uniform Plumbing Code (IAPMO). These codes cover water heater and boiler installations, drain systems, piping criteria, insulation requirements, shut off valves, filter systems, and more. On top of this, cities can have additional codes that they require depending on where you live in the state. There might also be more codes to follow as well, if you live in a historic district or not.
Even simple projects can have plumbing codes you might not know about. As an example, in Texas, dishwashers are required to have an ‘air gap’ that prevents dirty water from flowing back into the unit. In other areas of the country though, you can solve this problem by creating a ‘high loop’ with your drain line. While both of these solutions fix the problem of your dishes getting exposed to bacteria, one method is approved, while the other would get you nasty letters from your home inspector.
Building Codes, Efficiency Standards
Additional policies that can indirectly affect plumbing projects can include things like electrical codes, construction codes, fuel gas codes, and more. Before work is started, you will also need to check to see if you will need to obtain work permits. Not all projects will require one, so you should double check with your city if you need any. If you are working with a contractor, they can help with this process, and can usually pull permits on your behalf.
Something else to be aware of, on top of general plumbing codes, Texas also has a set of efficiency standards for fixtures. Toilets, urinals, bathroom faucets, kitchen faucets, and showers have regulated maximum flow rates, limiting the amount of water they use. These rates are set by the Texas Health and Safety Code, and cover all fixtures sold or imported into the state.
Becoming a licensed plumber takes thousands of hours of training and mentorship. Throughout the process plumbers gain hands-on experience on how to join pipes, install or repair fixtures, and service drains. Over the course of their career, plumbers stay on top of their trade, learning about the newest standards for maintaining plumbing infrastructure. Also keep in mind that certain water related repairs are outside the scope of a plumber. This especially goes for well drilling, as noted by Pruitt Water LLC.
By hiring a licensed professional, you will gain access to somebody who has repaired all sorts of plumbing issues hundreds of times. They will know current best practices of the trade, and will be able to make sure in the end your home complies to plumbing code standards. For example, did you know a permit was required to install a new water heater? This issue will often arise when selling the home down the road, so take care of it ahead of time.
If you are thinking of taking on a major plumbing project, and need professional assistance, give Hackler Plumbing a call. Our licensed plumbing contractors are knowledgeable about all plumbing codes in McKinney, Frisco, Allen, and North Texas, and can help you navigate any issues you have with your local ordinances. Contact us today for a free estimate. We would love to hear from you!