Causes of Plumbing Design Failure

Design, plumbing fixtures

Plumbing systems are integral parts of many buildings, and their failure can result in expensive damages. Robson Forensic’s team of mechanical engineers and building systems experts often get hired to investigate what may have caused these failures.

Product defects, installation issues and incompatibilities with intended environments are among the many potential sources of piping system failures. Here we examine some of the more prevalent plumbing design failures and what steps can be taken to avoid them.

Undersized pipes

Undersized pipes can create all sorts of issues in a plumbing system. If a pipe is too small for its load, such as fluid transfer, it could clog or leak, leading to expensive repair bills.

Water pressure issues are another frequent source of concern. Old mains supply pipes might not meet industry-wide specifications, which can reduce pressure and strain your system.

Avoid this problem by checking the pipe diameters prior to purchasing your new piping system, this way enabling you to determine whether your existing pipes are too small for your current requirements.

Sizing pipelines requires taking into account several key factors, including velocity and friction loss calculations. These considerations help optimize your system’s flow rate – vital in maintaining its longevity and overall performance.

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Corrosion is an inevitable process that occurs when metal in pipes deteriorates due to physical and chemical interactions with water in its environment, eventually leading to problems or even system failure.

Corrosion rates depend on factors like metal type, environment and other variables. While corrosion can be an ongoing problem for plumbing systems, there are ways to control it and prevent further problems from developing.

Most common pipe materials are susceptible to corrosion in environments with high temperatures and humid air or salty seawater, and plumbers must be mindful of this fact and implement safeguards to keep their plumbing systems safe.

Acidic water is often responsible for corrosion in pipes, eating away at their inner walls and weakening them to make leaks or ruptures more likely.

High pressure

High water pressure is often one of the main culprits of plumbing design failure, leading to pinhole leaks, broken wax seals on toilets, and damage to fixtures such as faucets and shower heads.

If the pressure in your home exceeds 80 PSI, it’s wise to consult a professional plumber immediately in order to assess its plumbing systems and prevent costly repairs and potential damages to appliances and piping systems. This may save time and money.

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High pressure can also cause water to bang against pipes in your home, creating water hammer. This can damage pipe joints, fittings and valves while potentially leading to leakage that causes significant interior damage to your home.

Water hammering

Sound of pipes slamming against walls and framing is more than simply annoying; it’s an indicator of failed plumbing design. A loud banging sound may indicate broken joints or loose fasteners on water lines that leads to pipes becoming cracked, cracking and eventually even collapsing altogether.

Water hammering occurs when an abrupt closing valve causes hydraulic shock waves to travel through your system’s pipelines, creating high pressure spikes of up to ten times higher than its usual operating pressure.

At least, plumbing equipped with air chambers or cushions that compress upon shockwave impact is capable of mitigating this sudden stop in water flow. When hit by shock waves, these compressed chambers absorb some of their force while the compressed chambers take the brunt of it all.

Reduce water hammering by slowing the speed of fluid movement through your system by reconfiguring pipes with no bends and loops so they flow at lower velocities, or use rapid closing valves like quarter-turn or automated solenoid valves that cause pressure spikes more gradually. Doing this may also help decrease pressure spikes caused by rapid closure valves such as quarter-turn or automated solenoid valves causing pressure spikes caused by sudden pressure spikes.