Information on home inspections services, home maintenance, and more...
What is PVC?
PVC is a plumbing material made of a plastic called PolyVinyl Chloride. It is assembled by fitting and glueing sections of piping together in joints. It is most commonly used for drain systems, and sometimes used for water supply as well. Because it is not made of metal, PVC does not experience rusting and corrosion, such as galvanized and cast iron piping does.
Why is a hot water supply line in PVC a problem?
A weakness of PVC is it's resistance to heat and pressure, often just barely being high enough to support transporting heated water. To avoid this weakness, CPVC (Chlorinated PolyVinyl Chloride) is instead used for water supply lines. Where PVC is rated up to 140 degrees F, CPVC is rated up to 200 degrees F. While water in the home does not generally reach these temperatures, many years on transporting hot water approaching the limits of the material will deteriorate its temperature and pressure resistances. Because of this, using the much higher rater CPVC will keep your piping safely functional for many years to come.
Every home has a means to shut off the water supply when needed. Oftentimes, there is a shutoff at each fixture in the house, as well as a single main shutoff for the whole home. A manabloc system brings all the plumbing through one central manifold, providing shutoffs for all branches in one place, much like an electrical panel. This allows you to shut off water to the entirety of the branch without needing to shutoff water to the whole home, which becomes very useful when making repairs or remodeling rooms and still being able to have plumbing to other areas of the home.
What problems do ManaBloc's have?
Many manabloc manifolds were installed when Polybutalene piping was commonly used. Polybutalene piping experienced many issues that caused water leaks throughout homes due to several reasons, such as chlorine breaking down the piping or heat expanding and disconnecting the pipe fittings. This impacted the reputation of the systems, though was not a fault of the manifold. One key disadvantage of the manifolds, however, is a difficulty to repair. Parts for manabloc systems are often not widely available, meaning when issues occur in a manifold, it is frequently easier to replace the whole panel than to repair it. As with all types of shutoff valves, manabloc shutoffs are susceptible to leaking when they have not been operated frequently. To prevent causing leaks, your inspector will not operate any shut off valves during the inspection, but will still make note of any issues they find through a visual inspection.
A TPR valve is a safety device that is located on the water heater. The name stands for Temperature Pressure Relief. If temperatures and pressures inside of the water heater become too high, this small valve will open to allow steam and excessively hot water to be released from the water heater. This protects the water heater from damage, and protects the occupants from hazards a damaged water heater will bring.
In addition to having this valve, there should also be a way to direct where the water and steam release to. This is achieved with a Blow Off Pipe. A blow off pipe is simply a 3/4 inch pipe made of heat-resistant plumbing materials (such as copper or CPVC) that connects to the TPR valve and travels to a safe and visible location, either within 6 inches of the floor at the water heater, or to an exterior vent. By directing where this steam releases to, the occupants can identify that the TPR has tripped, and be able to shut off the water heater without coming into contact with scalding temperatures.
Oftentimes, the blow off pipe on the TPR valve may be noted to be reduced from the proper ¾ inch to a smaller size. A TPR valve should always have a clear, unobstructed path for steam to travel when needed. Reducing this pipe does not allow for the valve to discharge at it’s full velocity, increasing the risks of pressure buildup inside the water heater. This situation is also present when the blow off pipe is run in a way that does not allow water to flow freely through it, such as traveling upwards out of the valve.
Ensuring that the TPR valve is present and the blow off pipe is correctly installed will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe in your home.
Wind mitigations can be extremely helpful for a couple of reasons:
Although Florida doesn't require wind mitigations, it is incredibly recommended. If you would like to schedule or speak with our friendly office staff regarding wind mitigations call us at (941) 773-1144.
GFCI, or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, outlets are a safety device that helps to protect people and devices from electrical hazards. By using a sensor to monitor the flow of electricity, a GFCI will shut off power to the outlet when it detects an irregular or inconsistent flow of electricity. They should be found within 6 feet of areas where water and electricity can be in the same place, such as outlets by counters in bathrooms and kitchens. GFCI's should also be used on the exterior of the home, where rain may impact a plugged in appliance.
Electricity is a vital utility to our day-to-day lives, but can be very dangerous when not handled properly. In the event of a hazardous condition, such as water splashing across a hairdryer being used in the bathroom, it may be possible for someone to come in contact with electricity, allowing it to flow though their body instead of just the wire. This can lead to many levels of injury that could mean anything from a small shock or to a trip to the hospital. GFCI outlets will cut off the flow of electricity before it can cause harm, making it a cheap and easy safety that can be life-saving.
When a GFCI outlet is installed in a circuit, all outlets downstream on that circuit will be protected. For example, a kitchen may have six total outlets, but only one the outlet next to the sink is a GFCI. The other outlets are also on the same circuit in the kitchen, so if any one of them experiences a hazard, power to all six will shut off. However, the bathroom next to the kitchen will still have power. This is because it is on a separate, bathroom circuit and should have its own GFCI outlet. Commonly, multiple bathrooms will be on the same circuit, so if one bathroom experiences a hazard, power will be shut off to the other bathrooms sharing that circuit.