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A Brief History of Plumbing

Plumbing Fundamentals: Chapter 1


Evolution of Plumbing system


In this module, we will go through the history of plumbing systems. We'll also discuss how it has changed over the years. Skip to quiz!


History of Plumbing


Plumbing has played a significant part in how civilizations have evolved. The earliest plumbing pipes were made of baked clay and straw. The Egyptians made the first copper pipes.


Public baths were first established in ancient Rome, Greece, Persia, India, and China. This was done as a way to remove waste water.


For centuries, the most advanced plumbing included Rome's lead water pipes and aqueduct system. They were made from a series of pipes, tunnels, canals, and bridges. Aqueducts were dependent on gravity and the land's natural slope to carry water from a freshwater source.


For potable water, galvanized iron piping was commonplace in the United States from the late 1800s until around 1960. After that period, copper piping took over.


World War II restricted iron, steel, and copper due to a material shortage. This forced the plumbing industry to start using new materials like plastics.


Water conservation laws were introduced in 1978. Californians were prohibited to use more than 3.5 gallons of water per flush. Low-flow toilets were created to conserve water in 1992.

As time passed, efforts were made to standardize regulations of plumbing systems in the United States. The first plumbing code was published in 1928.


Plumbing installation and repair work generally must be done according to plumbing and building codes. This is to protect a buildings' inhabitants, and ensure safe, quality construction for future buyers.


Shortfalls of Previous System


Before technology played a role in plumbing, the traditional solutions were disastrous. Repairing pipes was time-consuming and very labor-intensive.


The repair work required businesses to either vacate the premises or live without running water. Due to the expenses and time involved, this would often lead to losing homes or businesses.


Today the need for water has increased. In the past, a family could get by with only 50 liters of water. By today's standards, a family needs at least 135 liters of water.


Traditional plumbing systems could not handle huge water demands. That’s why most modern water supply pipes are made out of steel, copper, and plastic.

One of the greatest dangers of traditional plumbing systems is cross-contamination. This occurs when pipes carrying wastewater and clean water connect. This usually happens when wastewater backs up in a building’s pipes. This issue could result in severe problems and health risks.


Modern Plumbing System


Any home built before the 1990s could potentially have pipes made from materials that are no longer approved by U.S. building codes. For example, lead is not used in plumbing because it is highly toxic.


Modern plumbing helps to ensure air gaps and physical separations between waste and clean water pipes. Regular plumbing maintenance can prevent cross-contamination. This keeps the water in our homes clean and safe at all times.


Plumbing valves allow us to control and direct water for its use. Modern plumbing systems also prevent water wastage.


Until the 1800s, there were no washrooms and toilets inside homes. People had to walk outdoors to take care of their business. Modern plumbing allows us to use washrooms and toilets in the comfort of our own homes.


In addition to comfort, plumbing has allowed us to bring beauty into our lives. Modern plumbing allows us to have high-end bathing systems in our homes. Something that was once a necessity has now become a source of entertainment and relaxation.


The modern plumbing system includes water faucets with sensors for reduced water wastage. Automatic faucets have the advantage of shutting off automatically after hand washing. Their automatic shut-off mechanism reduces the risk of sink overflow because they shut off automatically.


The clean, sanitary conditions provided by modern plumbing have likely protected many lives and extended life expectancy. This is because of the availability of clean drinking water to the general population.


Plumbing has played a significant part in how civilizations have evolved. The use of lead for potable water declined sharply after World War II because of increased awareness of the dangers of lead poisoning.


As time progressed, an effort was made to standardize regulations of plumbing systems in the United States. Modern plumbing systems improve the lives of the people and provide more water efficiency.


 

Introduction to Plumbing System


In this module, we will introduce you to plumbing systems. We’ll also discuss what plumbers do. Skip to quiz!


Defining Plumbing


A plumbing system consists of pipes, valves, and plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, and bathtubs. It also consists of equipment that holds other fluids.


We use plumbing systems for the distribution of drinking water. Plumbing systems are also used to supply water to kitchens and bathrooms. We also use them to remove wastewater and rainwater in buildings.


Three phases of plumbing can be divided into:

  • Underground rough-in,

  • Aboveground rough-in, and

  • Finish, also called trim-out or trim finish.

Let’s discuss each of them in detail.


A plumber locates all the supply and waste connections from a building system to public utilities during the underground rough-in phase. The plumber establishes where these systems will enter or leave a building.


During the aboveground rough-in phase, a plumber:

  • Cuts holes in the wall, ceiling, or floor to attach or hang pipes for connection to fixtures.

  • Installs pipes for a building’s various supply and waste systems.


During the aboveground rough-in phase, a plumber:

  • Uses welding tools and soldering equipment to join pipe runs or special chemicals for plastic pipes.

  • Operates power threading machines, propane torches, and other power tools.


In the finishing phase, a plumber installs fixtures such as sinks and showers. A plumber also installs toilet appliances like dishwashers, water purification systems, and water heaters.


Plumber Responsibilities


Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters typically do the following:

  • Prepare cost estimates for clients.

  • Read blueprints and follow state and local building codes.

  • Determine the materials and equipment needed for a job.


Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters typically do the following:

  • Install pipes and fixtures

  • Inspect and test installed pipe systems and pipelines

  • Troubleshoot malfunctioning systems

  • Maintain and repair plumbing systems


A plumber should have the following skills:

  • Physical Skills,

  • Interpersonal Skills, and

  • Safety Skills.

Let’s go over each of them in detail.


Physical skills include the ability to:

  • Hold one’s arm and head steady when supporting a tool or piece of pipe,

  • Use one’s fingers to manipulate small objects, and

  • Coordinate movements of both hands.


Interpersonal skills that plumbers should have are:

  • Strong verbal skills,

  • Good decision-making ability,

  • Excellent troubleshooting ability, and

  • Great collaborative skills.


Safety skills are a must for any plumbing job. This is because a plumbing career involves significant risks and hazards, including:

  • Noise and hearing loss from loud machinery,

  • Eye injuries, and

  • Electrical shocks.


A plumbing system consists of pipes, valves, and plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, showers, and bathtubs. Three phases of plumbing are underground rough-in, aboveground rough-in, and finishing.


A plumber should have the following skills:

  • Physical Skills,

  • Interpersonal Skills, and

  • Safety Skills.


 

Question #1: How do historic plumbing systems, like aqueducts, work?

  1. They depend on gravity and the land's natural slope to carry water from a source.

  2. They depend on motor-powered pumps.

  3. They depend on duct size.

  4. They depend on valves.

Scroll down for the answer...











Answer: They depend on gravity and the land's natural slope to carry water from a source.

Aqueducts were dependent on gravity and the land's natural slope to carry water from a freshwater source.


Question #2: What is the purpose of plumbing building codes? (select all that apply)

  1. To ensure water is available to everyone

  2. To protect a buildings' inhabitants and ensure the safety of future buyers

  3. To standardize regulations of the plumbing system

  4. To stop air pollution

Scroll down for the answer...











Answer: To protect a buildings' inhabitants and ensure the safety of future buyers

To standardize regulations of the plumbing system

Plumbing building codes were made to standardize regulations of plumbing systems in the United States. They also protect a buildings' inhabitants and ensure the safety of future buyers.


Question #3: What are the shortfalls of a traditional plumbing system? (select all that apply)

  1. Traditional systems use advanced manufacturing techniques

  2. The repair work requires businesses to vacate the premises

  3. Wastewater backs up in pipes

  4. Traditional plumbing is not sustainable for heavy loads

Scroll down for the answer...










Answer: The repair work requires businesses to vacate the premises

Wastewater backs up in pipes

Traditional plumbing is not sustainable for heavy loads

The repair work of a traditional system requires businesses to vacate the premises. The wastewater can back up in a building’s pipes. It is not sustainable for heavy loads.


Question #4: What are the pros of modern plumbing systems? (select all that apply)

  1. Plumbing valves allow us to control and direct water

  2. Plumbing systems reduce air pollution

  3. Modern plumbing allows us to have high-end bathing systems in our homes

  4. Modern plumbing prevents water wastage

Scroll down for the answer...














Answer: Plumbing valves allow us to control and direct water.

Modern plumbing allows us to have high-end bathing systems in our homes

Modern plumbing prevents water wastage.

Pros of modern plumbing system are:

  • Modern plumbing allows us to have high-end bathing systems in our homes

  • Plumbing valves allow us to control and direct water for its use

  • Modern plumbing prevents water wastage


Question #5: What are the three phases of plumbing? (select all that apply)

  1. Start plumbing

  2. Underground rough-in

  3. Aboveground rough-in

  4. Finish plumbing

Scroll down for the answer...












Answer: Underground rough-in

Aboveground rough-in

Finish plumbing

Three phases of plumbing can be divided into:

  • Underground rough-in,

  • Aboveground rough-in, and

  • Finish, also called trim-out or trim finish.


Question #6: What do plumbers do in the underground rough-in phase of plumbing?

  1. Make supply and waste water connections

  2. Establish connection between home and city water line

  3. Cut holes in wall

  4. Install fixtures such as sinks and showers

Scroll down for the answer...










Answer: Make supply and waste water connections

During the underground rough-in phase, a plumber locates all the supply and waste connections from a building system to public utilities.


Question #7: What do plumbers do in the finishing phase of plumbing?

  1. Make supply and waste water connections

  2. Establish connection between home and city water line

  3. Cut holes in wall

  4. Install fixtures such as sinks and showers

Scroll down for the answer...









Answer: Install fixtures such as sinks and showers

In the finishing phase, the plumber installs fixtures such as sinks and showers.


Question #8: What skills the plumber should have? (select all that apply)

  1. Physical Skills

  2. Interpersonal Skills

  3. Cooking Skills

  4. Software skills

Scroll down for the answer...















Answer: Physical Skills

Interpersonal Skills

A plumber should have the following skills:

  • Physical Skills

  • Interpersonal Skills

  • Safety Skills



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