Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pressure Testing The Rough Plumbing

In order to pass my plumbing inspection, my plumbing system has to be able to hold compressed air at 5 PSI for 15 minutes. I've done a couple of tests so far and I've run into some difficulties.

I pump the air into the drain system by way of a valve fitting that I've put into one of the tee-fittings. The valve is similar to the valve-stem that you find on a tire. In order to connect the valve to the tee, I had to use two threaded fittings to reduce the size of the pipe down to the size of the valve. That's where my first problem occurred.

The best way to check for leaks is to spray a bit of soapy water on the fittings. If there is a leak, it will cause bubbles to form. You can see in the photo below the bubbles around the valve fitting. I undid the fitting and cleaned up the threads and put it back together; this time with more teflon tape. It seemed to resolve the problem.

The next problem I had was with the cleanout caps. The caps have a rubber O-ring gasket on them that's supposed to seal the fitting, but at least two of mine aren't sealing.

You can see the bubbles forming around the edge of the cap. I didn't put any teflon tape on these caps because the gasket is supposed to do the trick; but I think I'll pull this one apart and try some tape on it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rough-in For The Basement Half-bath

I've finished up the last major piece of rough plumbing. This is for the half-bath that will eventually go in the basement.

That's the toilet drain on the left (orange cap), the toilet vent up the middle, and the sink drain and vent up the right side.

The drain lines connect with the rest of the drain lines in the basement. The vent stack goes up the wall through the main floor and then up to the loft where it joins another vent and then goes out through the roof.

Of course the drain lines will eventually be underneath the basement floor. You can see the metal strip along the base of the wall... that's that level at which the basement slab will be.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pipe Puzzle

This bit of plumbing looks like something a doctor might have pulled out of a patient in a Far Side cartoon. I had a lot of pipe to cram into a small space, but it's all legitimate and up to code. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Grounding The Electrical System

In a lot of houses the electrical system is grounded by connecting to the metal water pipes coming from the municipal water system, but since I don't have any metal water pipes coming into the house, I've installed a grounding plate electrode to ground my electrical system.

It's simply a metal plate about 12"x16", and it's connected to the service panel with #6 copper wire. The ground wire is just a bare, uninsulated wire that runs on the surface of the ground up to the point at which it comes through the basement slab. There, it's protected by a short piece of PVC conduit. After that, it just runs bare again up to the service panel.

The electrical code says that the grounding plate has to be buried at least 24" underground, but I can't find any rules regarding it's location (i.e. inside the house or outside the house), so I dug a hole in the basement and put it there. I have to leave it uncovered until the electrical inspector approves it, so if turns out that I have to put it outside instead... well, it's really no big deal.