Pipes are subdivided, depending on the area of application, into: pressure water, sewer, gas, heating and for cables, telephone and electrical wires. We will consider those of them that are directly related to home plumbing..
Pipes are made from steel, both galvanized and not, from cast iron, from plastic and ceramics. Separately, stainless steel pipes can be distinguished, which last much longer than other steel pipes, look pretty nice and do not require additional processing (for example, painting) during operation. There are also asbestos-cement and metal-polymer pipes. How good plumbing pipes are depends largely on the material from which they are made and the quality of the workmanship itself. The latter continues to be poor. This is evidenced by the annual summer-spring-autumn, and sometimes winter repair work. You don’t even have to leave the house, but just look out the window. The excavator roars with might and main, biting into the frozen ground, the cheerful cries of the foreman are heard, the tired men are doing their usual routine work without much enthusiasm. These are sad and so far, unfortunately, integral lyrics of our social life. But let’s not talk about the sad things, let’s talk about the types of pipes, their features and advantages..
So the pipes. The most popular and customary among them are galvanized steel pipes, and I must say, by full right. Steel was and remains almost the strongest production material used on a large scale by modern industry and for domestic purposes. In addition, I must tell you that the method of preparing them further increases the strength of steel pipes. There are two ways: welded and seamless. As the name implies, the first method involves the use of a welding machine and the inevitable seams at the joints, in the places of welding. It is here that the occurrence of flaws is most likely in the case of poor-quality connection of individual parts of the pipes into one whole. Therefore, the highest quality and most durable of all existing ones are seamless, seamless steel pipes covered with a sprayed layer of zinc (which is why they are called galvanized). Seamless pipes are a single piece, not assembled from components, which ensures their strength. And zinc, which can cover such pipes, frees you from the need to take other additional measures to protect them from the formation of rusty deposits..
Such pipes do not need priming and painting, except in places intended for connections (they have a thread on them, and during this operation the galvanizing is inevitably damaged). Do not be lazy to take care of this: when installing a solid-drawn galvanized pipe in your apartment, prime and paint it at the ends with the applied thread. If you have purchased non-galvanized solid-drawn pipes, then the entire outer surface of the products should be processed. Both welded and solid-drawn pipes – galvanized or not – are interconnected by special devices with a name that is unusual for our ear – fittings, which we have already mentioned. Do not be afraid of this word. The fittings themselves look simple, they have another name – couplings. You have probably seen them hundreds of times, stopping your eye at the pipe joints. Remember one thing: steel pipes must be connected with steel fittings, that is, products made of the same material as the pipes. Why are we talking about this? The fact is that there is a bad tradition to connect steel pipes with cast iron fittings, not out of malice, but out of ignorance or negligence. And what happens when this happens? Being in direct contact with cast iron, the material subjected to anticorrosive treatment (galvanized steel) begins to undergo the destructive influence of cast iron, gradually rusts and “sticks to death” to an unsuitable, foreign cast iron fitting. The cast iron fitting itself is very good and reliable, but it is advisable to use it when collecting cast iron components or in combination with other homogeneous metals. He’s not good for steel.
We will talk about fittings in the future, but now we will only say that it is generally better to have this simple device in stock in the pantry, and in several copies. You will be curious to know how you can distinguish iron from steel. This will help you not to make a mistake when choosing pipes yourself, without the help of a specialist. So read on and don’t be alarmed.
Squeeze a few drops of sulfuric acid onto the metal in your doubt, being very careful. Wait a little – about three or four minutes – and wash the place where you dripped with water. In any case, be it steel or iron, a characteristic stain will soon appear on the metal. The whole point is what color it will be. If black, then steel is in front of you. Moreover, the sooner the black spot appears, the better the steel – this is an indicator of the quality of steel hardening. If the stain that has emerged is gray, there is an iron pipe in front of you. There is no need to be afraid that the stain will ruin the pipe, or at least its appearance, no! It is easily washed off with plain water. Depending on their thickness, pipes are divided into three types: light, ordinary and reinforced. You should know that a significant metal thickness has both a positive side (high anti-corrosion) and a negative side: they bend worse and harder during repair and installation work. Steel pipes also differ in diameter, with both the outer and inner pipe diameters being distinguished. We can observe the latter, looking through the tube at the light, which is why it is called the diameter in the light. The clear diameter is taken into account in serious installation work.
Cast iron pipes
Cast iron in domestic plumbing is a traditional material, which has its own reasons: it is relatively cheap, rather reliable, and therefore continues to remain an alternative to pipes made of high-quality steel or metal polymers. No matter how much we would like to avoid this, again we have to dwell on quality – this is so traditional for domestic sanitary ware. Cast iron itself has nothing to do with it. It has brought many benefits to humanity since the time it learned to make it. It’s all about the manufacture, it is often lame with us. Therefore, we have been telling you for so long about the advantages of metal-polymer pipes, which are mainly made abroad, and about galvanized, solid-drawn steel pipes. The latter are also made by domestic manufacturers, but the manufacturing method itself largely guarantees quality.
How to find flaws in a cast iron pipe? Of course, this is primarily due to a thorough examination of its outer surface. It should not have bumps, depressions, dips or cracks, foreign stains indicating the presence of slag. Pay attention to the cut of the pipe: what is the quality of the metal itself? The pipe wall throughout its entire thickness from the front to the seamy side should be uniformly fine-grained, dense, and homogeneous. In addition, check the quality of the pipe by tapping: the sound should be smooth and booming; in places where the audio tone changes, an internal defect is likely. Here the situation is like with a sick tooth, the decay process of which can occur under an outwardly favorable appearance. To detect this kind of damage, tapping is used..
The cast iron pipe you purchase must have anti-corrosion protection, otherwise it will not serve you for a long time with continuous operation. One way to protect against corrosion is to coat the outer surface of the pipe with bitumen made from petroleum. Of course, you can apply it yourself with the right experience and materials. Next, we need to remind you how important it is to have a correct, high-quality connection of cast iron pipe structures. To do this, you need to have a high-quality, hemp fiber hemp and sufficient length. The tow should be free from all kinds of impurities, not contain wood. Hemp with wood will not be able to properly fulfill its insulating function, as a result of which the pipe soon begins to leak at the joints. The consequences are well known to us: wet ceilings or rotten floors.
Strictly speaking, we would not recommend that you carry out the installation of a cast-iron pipeline for your home in the absence of a specialist. The most priority in our conditions is, nevertheless, to carry out this type of work by a competent master, looking at whose work you can learn a lot. There are a great many nuances and tricks here, as well as when installing a power supply system. Therefore, follow the wise rule: “If you are not sure, do not take it.” But we are concerned that we have intimidated you with cast iron. What are you! Everything will be fine. This is an excellent plumbing material and in skilled hands it will turn into a powerful and reliable water supply network..
Instead of cast iron, you can use ceramic pipes: both the first and the second are successfully used to conduct an external sewer system. In addition, ceramic pipes are reliably protected from corrosion damage by a special coating. For this purpose, a particularly resistant glaze is used, which covers both the outer and inner surfaces of the pipe. The walls of ceramic pipes are thick – up to 40 mm, which is an excellent guarantee of strength, and they are connected to each other more easily than cast iron, this, in particular, is facilitated by the special shape of the bell and the opposite end of the pipe entering the bell. In general, ceramics has found the widest application in plumbing, and rightfully so: it is an economical, hygienic and reliable material.
They wouldn’t have prices if you had the opportunity to prepare the asbestos-cement mixture yourself, mold it and then carefully put it into trenches dug under the sewer system, or into recesses designed for exhausting combustion products in the ventilation network. But, unfortunately, you cannot do this – there is no necessary equipment. So you have to buy ready-made. But this is not a problem – they are quite durable and relatively cheap. But transportation, on our roads, can turn high-quality asbestos-cement pipes into a kind of cracked glassware, ready for leakage. Here is trouble and grief for you. Therefore, try to deliver the pipes as carefully as possible, as neatly lay and assemble them. In this case, they will reliably serve you – you can rest assured. Pay attention to their appearance when buying: the joints should be tight and even. The indisputable advantages of asbestos-cement pipes include their ability to process during installation using a special tool. Asbestos-cement compounds are also pleasantly distinguished by their non-susceptibility to the action of sewage waters. They can be successfully used for the ventilation system. Asbestos cement is a universal plumbing material, it is used not only for sealing sockets and repairing pipe connections, but also for making the pipes themselves.
Pipes made of metal polymers
Let’s go back to the types of pipes. And not to the usual ones, the variations of which we will also talk about, but to what is called a “high technology product”. Speech, as you probably already guessed, is about metal-polymer pipeline connections.
This is an unconditional achievement of modern science and technology, the first appearance of which in everyday culture is still fresh in our memory. For a person who has never dealt with such pipes, acquaintance with them will surely cause surprise and, possibly, delight. There is no exaggeration here. The fact is that, despite their high strength, these pipes bend by hand force, which greatly facilitates the process of their installation in an apartment. And this is far from their only advantage. They are so light (you will be surprised now) that 10 meters of metal-polymer pipes will weigh only 1-2 kg, depending on the diameter of the product you purchase. This diameter is usually in the range of 16 to 30 mm..
When assembling such pipes, you are dealing, as it were, with hard plasticine, flexible and obedient in the hands of an experienced craftsman. If you are not, by some fateful coincidence, contact a specialist. Your apartment will be transformed in a matter of days, and without the accompaniment of welding flashes, knocks on metal and water leaks.
When you go in search of pipes made of metal polymers, then feel free to move to the “bays”, which strongly resemble a long, coiled hose. This is what folded metal pipes look like. These pipes do not care about any cold – frost resistance reaches 40 ° C below zero. There is also no doubt about resistance to hot temperatures: the limit is at least 95 ° C. They are harmless from an environmental point of view, and also, which is very important, are almost not subject to corrosion (an advantageous difference from clean metal structures!) And are not prone to clogging – due to their elasticity.
Continuing to praise this progress, let us remember the notorious quality of production. After all, poor manufacturing can call into question any interesting novelty, cause any buyer and even a master-assembler to mistrust this type of product. Here common sense, observation and experience will help you, as well as – if the latter is not enough – what is now called a “solid trading company”. Turning to such an institution, of course, you pay more than at the bazaar, but at the same time you can be almost 100% sure of the good quality of this type of pipes. A few words about what metal polymers are. In this case, it is aluminum in combination with layers of polyethylene surrounding it, which has a special strength. The thickness of the structure, in other words, of the pipe walls, fluctuates around 2 mm. They can be used not only for the water supply network, but also for the heating system – metal-polymer pipes are designed for this, since they withstand the required water pressure on their walls when it enters the heat batteries. They are usually not used in the sewer system. When buying metal-polymer pipes, pay attention to what color they are painted. Blue and blue indicate that these pipes are intended for cold water supply (withstand temperatures above 30 ° C), and white pipes are used for heating and hot water supply systems.
It is curious that these fragile products, at least in comparison with the same steel ones, are able to withstand water temperatures of more than 100 ° C. Of course, it must be borne in mind that such an increase in hot water temperature cannot be prolonged. Do not be disturbed by the unusualness of these pipes. They are perfectly, quite firmly connected with other plumbing fixtures, for which they are supplied with the appropriate parts. And it doesn’t matter what material this or that equipment is made of, to which metal-polymer pipes need to be attached, there will be no problems in any case – the components are designed for all options.
If you, having reached a mature age, equip your apartment with high-quality metal-polymer pipes, then you can live peacefully up to a hundred years. You don’t have to change them – they are so durable. But in the second century of life, you will have to deal with this issue again – according to the data of the studies, their shelf life does not exceed sixty years. You may be wondering if these products have any drawbacks? There is. And considerable. They are very expensive. This is especially true for imported pipes. But here the cards are in your hands. It is curious that the “high-tech product” we are considering finds excellent use not only in plumbing, for which it is primarily intended. We intend to surprise you again. Have you heard anything about the so-called “warm” floors? Probably yes. And if so, then, most likely, it concerned the organization of heating by placing electrical wires on the upper concrete floor screed. They are subject to mandatory grounding, stacked on aluminum foil, after which the front floor is made of one or another material.
And all this could be replaced with the best effect by these wonderful metal-polymer pipes. How? Easy! The Swedes have been doing this for a long time. A layer of mastic is placed on a rough concrete screed, on which even pieces of foam are glued, which performs the function of thermal insulation. Then the floor is lined with the same aluminum foil – you cannot do without it in any case, since it provides the necessary reflection of heat rays. Now it is the turn of these wonderful pipes. Evenly, in the form of several circles, the pipe is placed on the floor surface in such a way as to ensure optimal heating of the apartment. Then the pipe is poured with concrete (the thickness of the screed will be no more than 5 centimeters), after which, after the concrete dries, the front floor is made, under which the heating system is already located. You can take unnecessary batteries out of the apartment, their absence will noticeably increase the area of the room, make it more convenient, save you from the hassle associated with a breakthrough in the heating system, at least in your apartment. Plus, if you prefer “warm” floors from pipes to “warm” floors from electric cables – you will save a decent amount of money on electricity with the same convenience. In addition, you will save yourself from the risk that power systems always carry, whether willingly or not..
And one more advantage of “warm” floors made of metal polymers. The heating system located above the floor, that is, the batteries, does not distribute heat evenly. Most residents of multi-storey buildings know: cool air spreads along the floor, and heat, bypassing the floor, rises to the ceiling, being distributed throughout the apartment in layers. Especially sensitive people, because of this state of affairs, often catch colds. The option that we just presented in connection with metal-polymer pipes completely removes these problems. The heat coming from the underground pipes evenly and gradually heats the apartment from floor to ceiling, creating a healthy temperature atmosphere. The only sign of the presence of a heating system in the rooms is a white metal-polymer pipe neatly placed in the corner, which is directly connected to the general heating system of your house. It’s just great, isn’t it?
So, having told you enough about the “high-tech product”, let us return to other types of pipes included in the arsenal of modern plumbing equipment. Oddly enough, but almost everyone is familiar with this type of plumbing, perhaps without even knowing it. The thing is that, due to the low heat resistance, plastic pipes are not used at home, but the elements of these pipes are in the vast majority of Russian bathrooms and kitchens. In order to see them, it is enough to look under the sink of the washbasin and look at the curved water drain pipe (siphon). Yes, if you have it not made of metal, then it is plastic. This is one of the most vulnerable devices of home plumbing, for the reason already mentioned above – low heat resistance. At the same time, replacing a plastic drain device (for a detailed description of these and other plumbing fixtures, see below) is easiest. If one of the components of the drain is damaged, you can repair the damage yourself, without resorting to the help of a specialist, by simply replacing the broken part with a new one..
To do this, it is enough to turn off the water in the apartment, go to a store that supplies the population with household plumbing fixtures, buy the necessary part or a complete set, return home, unwind the plastic device, insert a new part in place of the old one, carefully assemble the device in reverse order (this is not difficult at all) , paying attention to the even placement of the spacers, and turn on the water again. Place a bucket under the pipe to be repaired, just in case, and make sure nothing else is leaking. That’s all the repair.
Now let’s talk about plastic plumbing itself, giving it, as far as possible, a complete description. First of all, for those who still do not know for sure: plastic pipes are made of plastic or, in full terms, plastic mass – the starting material of many synthetic products of the industry. Plastic can be of two types, determined by the specifics of the substances of which they are composed. The first includes the so-called thermoplastics. Their peculiarity is that when heated they soften. As a rule, they have increased flexibility, are not fragile, plastic. Examples of thermoplastics: plexiglass, polyethylene, etc. If you want to see what can be made from thermoplastic mass, take a plastic clothespin and admire. The second group includes thermosetting plastics – they do not soften when heated. Most often, such plastics are fragile, although more durable. For the manufacture of household plumbing devices are used thermoplastics such as unplasticized polyvinyl chloride, special density and strength polyethylene and some other materials. Not differing in such a variety of properties and capabilities as products from metal polymers, plastic sanitary ware nevertheless has many positive features..
We talked about the simplicity of mounting plastic sewer taps just above. They are lightweight, which is convenient for transportation. In addition, the plastic pipeline is not very susceptible to the corrosive process, which ensures its greater durability. Plastic does not need to be painted, it is smooth, like polished wood, thanks to which debris that accidentally ends up in the sewer system moves better in the pipes. As a result, the risk of clogging is minimized with careful use of such plumbing. Plastic products are practically not subject to condensation, and this prevents the occurrence of harmful fumes in domestic bathrooms.
Returning to the production of plastic pipes, I must say that most often the raw material for their manufacture is unplasticized polyvinyl chloride, since it has the greatest strength and heat resistance. The industry produces plastic pipes of various sizes and diameters. You can purchase, depending on your needs, a pipe with a length of 2 or 10 meters, with a hole diameter of 40 to 100 mm, which fully corresponds to the practical need for their application. It is impossible not to say about another little-known fact: the fact is that in water supply systems made of metal pipes, such an unpleasant and even dangerous phenomenon as stray currents can occur. In plastic plumbing, this is practically impossible..
Concluding our acquaintance with plastic pipes, we will remind you all about the same quality of the product that you need to pay attention to when buying it. It is not difficult to arrange inspection of a plastic pipe, since it is light and small in volume. We do not advise you to purchase plastic with burrs and irregularities on the surface. It is also important that the cut at the end of the pipe is strictly vertical – this is a prerequisite for high-quality installation.