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No one likes to bring up the dreaded move that many of us fear will face us in the future. What am I referring to? Retirement homes. No matter how improved and comfortable retirement homes may be, there’s nothing quite like living in a home in which you’ve made memories and crafted to suit your Read More

No one likes to bring up the dreaded move that many of us fear will face us in the future. What am I referring to? Retirement homes.

No matter how improved and comfortable retirement homes may be, there’s nothing quite like living in a home in which you’ve made memories and crafted to suit your personality and needs.

With this in mind, many of our elderly neighbors are choosing to remain in their family homes rather than move to a retirement facility. To make that work smoothly, however, renovations are needed to adjust for an aging individual’s changing needs.

As the CEO and owner of Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah, I notice different trends when we see an influx of specific requests. Lately, we’ve had more and more of our older customers ask for services such as height adjustments, mobility assistance installations and easier methods of accessibility in bathrooms and kitchens.

Aging in Place, universal design, ADA

If you’re considering selling your home and moving to a retirement community, you might want to think about repairs or renovations that could make your home accessible. Below are 10 home plumbing renovations that will improve the accessibility of different parts of your house and allow you to postpone or avoid moving to a retirement home altogether.

1. Install pressure-balanced valves to provide water at steady temperatures regardless of pressure fluctuations in your kitchen and bathrooms.

2. Install grips around the shower, the toilet and your bed. Strategically located grab bars can prevent life-threatening falls. Slip-prevention flooring can help you feel secure as well.

3. Install hand-held, adjustable height, shower heads with a six-foot hose to direct the water where it’s needed.

4. Add a fold-down seat or bench in the shower. Some come with padded backs for extra comfort. Others will have a structure that extends outside the tub for easy entrance and exit.

5. Keep your spaces wide. Keep entryways, hallways and bathroom spaces clear of obstacles and wide enough for a wheelchair or other assistance device.

6. Install a toilet with the necessary height. Having the toilet at the proper height can make an incredible difference in the comfort and safety of your bathroom. A toilet paper holder designed for one-handed changing might be an added bonus.

7. Depending on your needs, a toilet/bidet combination can significantly improve hygiene.

8. Walk-in tubs and roll-in showers are imperative for those with mobility inhibitors. A roll-in shower is a shower stall that has a curb-less entrance and the door (or opening) is a minimum of 36 inches wide.

9. Consider a wheelchair accessible sink that is hung on the wall to leave space for your knees (or wheelchair) beneath a pipe-covering panel to protect your legs. You can also install lever handle faucets or faucets that are pedal controlled.

10. Install adjustable height (or varying height) counter tops with provisions for roll-under access in front of the sink and main counter top.

Taking advantage of these 10 tips can make your bathrooms wheelchair or simply “aging” accessible. Making these renovations can extend the amount of time you can live safely in your family home.

Sherry Daniel is the owner and CEO of Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah. Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah is headquartered at 2016 E Broad St, Savannah, GA 31401. The main office line is 912-355-1287 and you may contact Sherry Daniel directly at 912-629-1646. The local website is https://www.rotosavannah.com/

The 708-unit military community saves more than one million gallons of water in one month.   INSTALLATION AT LA MESA VILLAGE COMMUNITY In October 2014, Monterey Bay Military Housing upgraded La Mesa Village Community with all new Ultra-High-Efficiency-Technology (UHET™) Water- Saving Kits from Niagara Conservation with no upfront costs. Niagara’s UHET Kits provided La Mesa Read More

The 708-unit military community saves more than one million gallons of water in one month.

 

INSTALLATION AT LA MESA VILLAGE COMMUNITY

In October 2014, Monterey Bay Military Housing upgraded La Mesa Village Community with all new Ultra-High-Efficiency-Technology (UHET™) Water- Saving Kits from Niagara Conservation with no upfront costs. Niagara’s UHET Kits provided La Mesa Village residents with drastically lowered utility bills and reduced maintenance issues.

THE PRODUCTS

La Mesa Village installed Niagara’s UHET Kits throughout the 708-unit property. Each UHET Kit consists of five high-efficiency products that drastically reduce water and energy usage. Each kit included Niagara’s EPA WaterSense® certified Original Stealth 0.8 GPF toilet, Earth Massage 1.5 GPM showerhead, and 1.0 GPM kitchen and bathroom aerators.

The Original Stealth boasts the lowest gallons per flush on the market; flushing at just 0.8 gallons each time thanks to Stealth Technology – a patented, re-engineered flush that works better and wastes nothing. The showerhead and aerators have Niagara’s Equiforce™ Technology, a pressure-compensating technology that guarantees a powerful, consistent flow rate regardless of available water pressure.

The 0.8 GPF toilets were installed to replace the older 1.6 GPF toilets previously found on the property. Monterey Peninsula Water Management District helped fund the retrofit by providing property managers rebates for every toilet installation.

RESULTS

The retrofit began in October 2014 and was completed in less than 30 days. According to Adrian Jimenez, Operations Manager for Monterey Bay Military Housing, La Mesa Village saved 1,113,500 gallons of water when compared to the previous year.

“The installation of Niagara’s high-efficiency plumbing fixtures have been nothing but well received by our residents in the La Mesa Village,” stated Jimenez. “Each retrofit was completed with the utmost professionalism and ease. And since the project’s completion last November, we have not only seen remarkable reductions in water usage within each unit of the community, but also we have received zero complaints from our residents.”

A recent Gallup poll found that 63% of Americans are worried about the safety of their drinking water. Except in extreme cases, these concerns are mostly unfounded as America’s drinking water is among the safest in the World. However, these concerns are understandable considering that the quality of our water is subject to threats old Read More

A recent Gallup poll found that 63% of Americans are worried about the safety of their drinking water. Except in extreme cases, these concerns are mostly unfounded as America’s drinking water is among the safest in the World. However, these concerns are understandable considering that the quality of our water is subject to threats old, like millions of lead pipes, and new chemical contamination from things like PFAS.

Protecting North America’s water safety requires a three-step approach: understanding and recognizing modern water quality threats, specifying safe materials, and following correct installation procedure.

Water Quality Threats

Water quality threats are still abundant. A 2018 study identified 163 different substances that have the potential to leach from common piping materials. These substances range from alcohols to hydrocarbons, ketones, esters, metals, peroxides, phthalates, alkyl phenols, organotins, halogenated compounds and vinyl compounds, including some known or suspected as environmental contaminants or carcinogens. Of these, water quality standards only exist for 89 of them. The other 74 are not currently regulated or understood, leaving a gray area on what effects they may have on our water quality and health.

Specifying and Installing Materials for Potable Water Systems, copper development asscociation, pipe joining, soldering, copper tubing

Replacing lead water pipes with copper piping between the street and homes in Flint, Michigan October 28, 2016. (John M. Galloway)

While additional research may help determine the total effect on water quality and health, these substances are a concern and should be taken into consideration when selecting a piping material.

Specifying with Copper

A reliable way to avoid these threats is to select copper, a time-tested, durable, proven piping material. Copper is safe; it won’t release potentially harmful chemicals into the water, it won’t give off toxic fumes in a fire, and it won’t allow harmful chemicals to permeate through the pipe wall. It is natural—made of 99.9% pure copper—and is accepted by all plumbing codes.

Below, is a brief, step-by-step guide for strong, leak-free solder joints—one of the most common joining methods for copper drinking water systems, provided by the Copper Development Association (CDA). CDA has been instrumental in developing the soldering procedures that are now standard in the copper and plumbing industry, and has since taught these procedures to hundreds of thousands of installers across the country and throughout the world.

Specifying and Installing Materials for Potable Water Systems, copper development association, pipe joining, soldering, copper tubing

Proper soldering technique when working with copper pipe.

To assist contractors and installers, CDA has produced several do-it-yourself videos to its “Do it Proper with Copper” YouTube video series. Additionally, the Copper Tube Handbook, available on www.copper.org, provides additional step-by-step installation guides for all copper joining methods. CDA recommends the following four steps for properly soldering joints:

Step One: Preheat the Tube

First, heat the interior surfaces of the fitting/component with heat from the tube surface. The preheating of the tube should be undertaken with the appropriately sized torch tip directing the flame perpendicular to the tube, about the same distance from the fitting cup as the length of tube that is inserted into the solder cup (i.e. if the fitting cup is 1-inch deep, preheat the tube approximately 1-inch beyond the face of the joint). While there is no definitive time limit on preheating, the tube should be preheated until the flux at the face of the joint begins to become active (begin showing signs of cleaning the tube/fitting surfaces).

Step Two: Preheat the Fitting/Component

Once the appropriate preheat has been applied to the tube, the flame should be moved back onto the fitting/component surface to the base of the fitting cup. Preheating of the fitting is most effective if the torch is directed from the back of the fitting cup to the face of the solder cup. This torch position directs the greatest amount of heat from the back of the fitting cup towards the face, where the solder will be applied. This allows for the primary flame of the torch to concentrate heat into the fitting/component while allowing the secondary flame to keep the tube surface at temperature.

Step Three: Apply Heat and Solder

The copper tube has excellent thermal conductivity so as it is heated, it will conduct heat throughout the tube length inside the fitting space. In addition, as the tube expands into the fitting cup, it will maintain a small capillary space between the two and help to heat the fitting cup from the inside. On horizontal joints, preheating should focus on the bottom two-thirds of the tube. Heat it until the tube is very close to soldering temperature, as indicated by the soldering flux beginning to bubble and clean the surface.

Specifying and Installing Materials for Potable Water Systems, copper development association, pipe joining, soldering, copper tubing

Copper Tube Handbook

Next, move the heat to the base of the fitting cup to bring it up to soldering temperature. Point the torch tip from the face of the fitting cup out towards the tube so the cooler part of the flame continues to keep the tube at soldering temperature. Then apply the heat to the base of the fitting cup. On horizontal joints, that should be somewhere off center near the bottom of the joint, before solder is added. If the solder doesn’t begin to melt, continue to preheat. Once the solder begins to melt, the torch should be moved along with the solder, keeping the heat only slightly ahead of where solder is being applied.

Step Four: Cooling and Cleaning

The completed soldered joint should be allowed to cool slowly and naturally. The new, no-lead alloys may not reject heat as quickly as their predecessors due to their lower thermal conductivity. By controlling the amount of heat applied, an individual can ensure the bare minimum required to facilitate full solder melting and flow is used. This allows the solder to solidify and cool to the joint quickly after the heat is removed.

If the proper soldering procedures are followed, particularly in the preheating and heating process, consistent, high-quality solder joints can be achieved between copper tube and fittings/components.

Durable, Reliable Piping Systems

Compared to copper pipes, no other material has the long history of reliable, leak-free installation in a wide variety of systems and settings, protects the water system from contamination, and does so with proven value. Plus, when copper’s long life cycle finally comes to an end, its high recyclability allows it to be reformed into new products with zero loss of performance. The choice is obvious, the choice is copper.

To learn more about copper piping and installation best practices, visit www.copper.org.

Andrew G. Kireta Jr. is vice president of the Copper Development Association Inc. (CDA). Kireta is responsible for the use of copper and copper alloy systems and products in building construction applications, including plumbing, mechanical and architectural systems.

Since its formation in 1926, IAPMO has been known for its progressive focus on the future. One might believe sanitation and the use of resources have reached a peak; this sort of thinking, however, is not within the realm of IAPMO’s culture. IAPMO Codes and Standards excels in recognizing technology that improve the lives of Read More

Since its formation in 1926, IAPMO has been known for its progressive focus on the future. One might believe sanitation and the use of resources have reached a peak; this sort of thinking, however, is not within the realm of IAPMO’s culture. IAPMO Codes and Standards excels in recognizing technology that improve the lives of Americans and elsewhere. Over time, IAPMO has proven to be the leader in bringing innovation to the industry while, at the same time, protecting the public health and welfare.

Non-Sewered Sanitation Systems

Since the early 1900s, technologies from flight to telephones have advanced with tremendous progress. We have gone from a simple 12 horsepower engine propelling an aircraft to jets that can break the sound barrier. Telephones have gone from rotary dial and cords to smart phones that have far more computing power than all the computers used to send the first man to the moon in 1969.

But what about wastewater management? It has not really advanced much. Yes, the sanitation is far safer than it was in the early 1900s, but the concept is the same. Not to mentioned that more than 2.3 billion people across the world lack access to basic sanitation services.

IAMPO Bringing Innovation to the Industry through Codes & Standards

Water-leak-detection technology listed to the IAPMO standards has the capability of letting the homeowner know if there is a water leak with the use of a smartphone.

Now there is technology that is attempting to take sanitation to another level. It is technology that has already benefited areas where resources are scarce. Any country that adopts this technology has taken a leap into the future of sanitation. This technology is the Non-Sewered Sanitation System (NSSS) and it is covered by the ISO 30500 standard.

ISO 30500, Non-sewered sanitation systems—Prefabricated integrated treatment units—General safety and performance requirements for design and testing, seeks to provide general safety and performance requirements for the product design and performance testing of these non-sewered sanitation systems. It applies to integrated sanitation systems that are not attached to a sewer.

The ISO 30500 standard helps develop new toilet technology that will save millions of lives

Imagine using a toilet where the drainage system has the capability of preserving energy for use in other applications, such as powering lights, and with a recirculation loop for fluid reuse. Imagine a remote location where there is no water supply or a drainage system, yet you can have a fully functional toilet or urinal. The possibilities are endless with the use of the NSSS technology.

IAPMO is leading this effort to bring the NSSS technology to countries such as the United States and Canada. A committee with both U.S and Canadian stakeholders is preparing to bring the ISO 30500 standard to these respective countries as an American National Standard (ANS) and National Standard of Canada (NSC).

States like Hawaii or other areas where the use of cesspools is of concern, or California where droughts are common, can benefit from this technology. Likewise, provinces in Canada can also derive benefit.

Safe sanitation is something that IAPMO takes seriously and IAPMO feels privileged to be selected as the Accredited Standards Developer (ASD) by ANSI to introduce this technology to the U.S. and Canada.

Leak-Detection Systems

As stated, there are areas where resources are scarce. Such scarcity does not only apply to underdeveloped nations but well-established, developed nations, as well. There are areas in the United States where safe and sanitary water is not a basic commodity. From California to New York, and around the globe, water is a resource that must be cherished and protected. A drop of water the size of grain of rice can be easily ignored or overlooked due to its local minimal effect. This miniscule drop multiplied numerous times around the globe now becomes a large body of water. This now becomes something that cannot be overlooked.

IAPMO Codes and Standards is once again at the forefront tackling this issue. IAPMO has long published standards that address water-leaking detection products. Those standards are the IAPMO IGC 115 and IAPMO IGC 349, which are expected to become national standards soon (IAPMO Z1115 and Z1349). These standards are being used for the listing and certification of products designed to detect water leaks. Jurisdictions nationwide are already looking for the IGC 115 and IGC 349 mark for these products.

The water-leak-detection technology listed to the IAPMO standards has the capability of letting the homeowner know if there is a water leak with the use of a smartphone. Aside from preserving resources, a homeowner will save money on their water bill and insurance companies can have peace of mind that water leaks will be detected prior to causing major damage to the structure. Aside from damage to the structure, leaks that are not properly fixed can cause mold to grow.

IAPMO Codes and Standards prides itself as being the go-to-source for new and novel products. There are many plumbing technologies that began as an IAPMO standard and slowly became a normal part of our lives. Many innovators and manufactures have taken advantage of IAPMO’s services to ensure that their novel products find their way into the industry. As technology rapidly improves, IAPMO Codes and Standards is ready to meet the needs of the industry.

Code Development

The IAPMO codes provide consumers with safe and sanitary systems while, at the same time, allowing latitude for innovation and new technologies. The industry looks to IAPMO codes to address innovations or novel products.

The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) introduced an appendix that provides a modern way of sizing water supply piping. The newly developed Water Demand Calculator (WDC) recognizes that the world is now utilizing lower flowrate fixtures. In many states, it is law to use low-flow fixtures. Due to the lower water demand, the existing water pipe sizing method used will typically lead to oversizing, which means more volume of water in the piping. The larger volume of water equates to longer waits for the hot water to come out of the shower. This also leads to more water waste. The UPC is the only code that takes all this into account with the Water Demand Calculator (WDC) in Appendix M. The WDC is the first update since Hunter’s 1940 Curves to estimate peak water demand for single and multi-family dwellings using efficient fixtures. It reduces meter and pipe sizes and increases cost savings.

The Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) was the first national mechanical code to address A2L refrigerants. A major milestone that introduced lower flammability refrigerants such as A2L and B2L. The industry’s concerns to address lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants led to the development of these lower flammability refrigerants.

But why stop there? The Uniform Codes also have up-to-date provisions for geothermal, solar thermal energy systems and hydronic energy systems.

IAPMO’s codes based on principle and on a proven consensus process, the ANSI process. It is the only process that has been proven time and time again to employ true consensus. It is a development process that is used internationally for a reason. It is a process that has an oversight from a third-party to assure true consensus.

Whether it is codes or standards, IAPMO is the Standards Development Organization that is bringing innovation to the industry. Jurisdictions everywhere are taking advantage of IAPMO’s proven process because IAPMO codes and standards are developed by the industry for the industry. The Uniform Codes don’t only claim to be ahead of the curve, they are.

Please visit https://www.iapmo.org/standards-development/american-national-standards for more information.

Hugo Aguilar, P.E., is Senior Vice President of Codes and Standards for IAPMO.

Every month Mechanical Hub and the Plumbing Museum will be collaborating to bring you a piece of plumbing history. The American Sanitary Plumbing Museum is dedicated to promoting the contributions of the plumbing industry and its talented craftsmen across the United States. This month’s installment is the Automatic Storage Water Heater by Ruud.     Read More

Plumbing History with the Plumbing Museum: Ruud Automatic Storage Water HeaterEvery month Mechanical Hub and the Plumbing Museum will be collaborating to bring you a piece of plumbing history. The American Sanitary Plumbing Museum is dedicated to promoting the contributions of the plumbing industry and its talented craftsmen across the United States. This month’s installment is the Automatic Storage Water Heater by Ruud.

 

 

Plumbing History with the Plumbing Museum: Ruud Automatic Storage Water HeaterThis Ruud “Automatic Storage Water Heater” (pictured left at the Plumbing Museum) was introduced by Edwin Ruud in 1889. Hot running water on demand was a luxury unknown to even the most affluent Americans. Other breakthroughs, large and small, followed over the years, as Ruud became a leading pioneer in water heating products for the home as well as for commercial and industrial applications. By the time Ruud departed the scene, his breakthrough innovation had changed the daily hygienic habits of every living American.

 

Located in a renovated ice house in Watertown, Mass., the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum is dedicated to promoting the contributions of the plumbing industry and its talented craftsmen across the United States. Through its unique mix of industrial history and modern art, it showcases artifacts and exhibits that range from 19th century tubs to modern toilets and a functioning rainwater reclamation system. The museum welcomes nearly a thousand visitors each year for tours and private events, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. For more information, visit: www.theplumbingmuseum.org.