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5 Important Plumbing Parts That Make Your Bathroom Safer

Posted on: December 10, 2013

5 Important Plumbing Parts That Make Your Bathroom Safer

1. Pressure-Balancing Valves

A pressure-balanced valve, also called an ant-scald valve, is required in Illinois building code and most municipalities. A Pressure balancing valve ensures water flows at a constant temperature to showers and bathtubs, regardless of pressure variations in the hot and cold water supply lines.

2. Thermostatic Valve

Thermostatic valves provide the same functionality as pressure-balancing valves, but operate by using a thermostat-controlled valve to adjust the right amount of hot and cold water to maintain proper water temperature without changing the flow rate. This is an advantage over pressure-balancing valves which can drastically reduce water flow when the hot or cold water supply pressure drops. Thermostatic valves are used to control individual fixtures and can also be used on the outlet of a hot water heater as an anti-scald device for the entire house.

3. Vent Stack and Main Stack

The main stack is a 4-inch pipe running from the basement to about a foot above the roof. A home’s drain lines all drain into the main stack, which empties into the main drain in the basement and then into the municipal sewer line.

The section of the main stack that’s used for draining waste is called the soil stack. The section above the drain connections is referred to as the vent stack.

4. Shutoff Valves

Any fixture that uses water has some kind of shutoff valve to adjust the flow of water to the fixture. A toilet shutoff valve is located right below the tank, near where the water pipe comes through the wall. If your toilet is about to overflow you can use the shutoff valve to stop the water. The shutoff valves for most faucets are under the sink.

5. P-Traps

The P-trap is the S-shaped section of drain pipe located under a bathroom sink. If something falls down the drain, the P-trap will save it from continuing down to the sewer line and beyond. You can easily remove the P-trap by loosening the large slip nuts on each end of the curved pipe. Don’t forget to have a bucket handy because the trap will be full of yucky water. If your sink is slow to drain or clogged, removing the P-trap and cleaning it out can often fix the problem.

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