Plumbing Appurtenances Definition, Types, and Examples

Plumbing Appurtenances Definition, Types, and Examples

Plumbing Appurtenances: Definition, Types, and Examples

Plumbing Appurtenances Definition

Plumbing appurtenances are auxiliary components that complement the primary plumbing system, consisting of pipes, fittings, and fixtures. These appurtenances are essential for the proper operation of the plumbing system, enhancing its functionality, safety, and efficiency.

These are devices or assembly that serves as an adjunct to the basic plumbing system. It does not demand additional water supply or add any discharge load to the system. It is presumed that it performs some useful function in the operation, maintenance, servicing, economy, or safety of the plumbing system.

Plumbing appurtenances serve various purposes, such as regulating water pressure, preventing backflow, and ensuring the safety of the water supply. They can be broadly categorized into three main types: control devices, backflow prevention devices, and safety devices.

Types of Plumbing Appurtenances

  1. Control Devices

Control devices are plumbing appurtenances designed to regulate and control the flow and pressure of water within the plumbing system. These devices ensure that water is distributed evenly and at the appropriate pressure throughout the building. Here are some common control devices:

  1. Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV):

A Pressure Reducing Valve, often referred to as a PRV, is a control device used to reduce high water pressure in a plumbing system. Excessive water pressure can damage pipes, fixtures, and appliances, and a PRV helps maintain a safe and consistent water pressure level throughout the building.

  1. Pressure Relief Valve (PRV):

While a PRV reduces water pressure, a Pressure Relief Valve, or PRV, serves the opposite purpose. It is designed to release excess pressure within the system to prevent pipe or fixture damage. Pressure Relief Valves are often found in hot water systems and are crucial for safety.

  1. Balancing Valve:

Balancing valves are used to adjust and balance the flow of water between different sections of a plumbing system. They are essential in large buildings with multiple floors to ensure an equal distribution of water to various areas.

  1. Backflow Prevention Devices

Backflow prevention devices are crucial in preventing the reverse flow of contaminated water into the clean water supply. This is essential to maintain the safety and quality of the water within a building. Here are some common backflow prevention devices:

  1. Check Valve:

A check valve, also known as a non-return valve, is a simple but effective device that allows water to flow in one direction only. It prevents the backward flow of water, ensuring that contaminated water does not enter the clean water supply.

  1. Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) Valve:

An RPZ valve is a more advanced backflow prevention device. It uses a double-check valve system to provide a high level of protection against backflow. RPZ valves are often required in industrial and commercial applications to safeguard against cross-contamination.

  1. Air Gap:

An air gap is a physical separation between the water supply outlet and a receiving vessel. It ensures that there is no physical connection that could allow contaminated water to flow back into the clean water supply. Air gaps are often used in dishwashers and other appliances to prevent backflow.

  1. Safety Devices

Safety devices are plumbing appurtenances designed to enhance the safety of the plumbing system and protect against potential hazards. Here are some common safety devices:

  1. Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (TPR Valve):

TPR valves are typically found on water heaters. They are designed to relieve excess pressure and temperature within the water heater, preventing the tank from exploding due to overheating or overpressurization.

  1. Vacuum Breaker:

Vacuum breakers are used to prevent siphonage in the plumbing system. They are crucial in situations where the water supply could become contaminated by backpressure. Vacuum breakers are commonly used in outdoor hose bibs and irrigation systems.

  1. Water Hammer Arrestor:

Water hammer is a phenomenon that occurs when water suddenly stops or changes direction in a pipe, causing a loud and potentially damaging noise. Water hammer arrestors are devices that absorb the shock and prevent damage to the plumbing system.

Examples of Plumbing Appurtenances

Now that we’ve discussed the types of plumbing appurtenances, let’s look at some real-world examples to illustrate their practical application.

Example 1: Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV)

Imagine a residential building located on a hill with a high water pressure supply from the municipal source. Without a PRV, the excessive water pressure would lead to burst pipes, damaged fixtures, and even potential flooding. By installing a PRV, the water pressure can be controlled, ensuring a safe and consistent flow of water throughout the house.

Example 2: Check Valve

In a basement with a sewage ejector pump, a check valve is installed on the discharge pipe. This check valve prevents wastewater from flowing back into the basement when the pump stops working. Without this backflow prevention device, the basement could become contaminated with sewage.

Example 3: Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (TPR Valve)

Water heaters in homes and commercial buildings are equipped with TPR valves. If the water heater malfunctions and the temperature or pressure becomes dangerously high, the TPR valve opens to release excess pressure and hot water, preventing an explosion that could cause severe damage and injury.

Example 4: Air Gap

In a commercial kitchen, the dishwasher is connected to the water supply system. To prevent the backflow of contaminated water from the dishwasher into the clean water supply, an air gap is installed above the sink. This physical separation ensures that there is no direct connection between the dishwasher and the clean water supply.

Example 5: Vacuum Breaker

A garden hose connected to an outdoor faucet is a common scenario where a vacuum breaker is used. When the hose is submerged in a swimming pool or a container with chemicals, there is a risk of backflow contamination. The vacuum breaker installed on the faucet prevents this by breaking the siphonage effect.

Here are  some other examples of plumbing appurtenances:

  • Filters: These are used to remove impurities from the water.
  • Relief Valves: These are used to control or limit the pressure in a system, preventing a build-up of excessive pressure.
  • Aerators: These are devices installed at the end of a faucet spout that are used to shape the water stream coming out of the fixture and to limit its flow.
  • Traps: These are devices that keep a small amount of liquid every time the fixtures are used. They prevent sewer gases from entering buildings.
  • Floor Trap: This is a type of trap that is placed in the floor to drain off the water.
  • Cowl: This is a device installed on a chimney pot to prevent wind from driving the smoke back down into the room of the building.
  • Water Closet: This is a room or a compartment with a toilet.
  • Urinals: These are plumbing fixtures for urination only, predominantly used in a standing position.
  • Flushing Cisterns: These are devices that store water in the short term for the purpose of flushing a toilet or urinal.
  • Antisyphonage Pipe: This is a pipe installed in a plumbing system to prevent siphonage.

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