Water Distribution

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Throughout history, a primary concern of architects, builders, and homeowners has been how to keep water out of buildings. It wasn't until the end of the nineteenth century that supplying water inside a building became common in industrial countries. Indoor plumbing is still not available in many parts of the world today. Today, interior designers work with architects, engineers, and contractors to make sure that water is supplied in a way that supports health, safety, comfort, and utility for the client.

For indoor plumbing to work safely without spreading bacteria and polluting the fresh water supply, it's necessary to construct two completely separate systems. The first, the water supply system (Fig. 8-1), delivers clean water to buildings. The second, a system of drains, called the sanitary or drain, waste, and vent (DWV) system, channels all the waste downward through the building to the sewer below.

In small wood-frame buildings, indoor plumbing is usually hidden in floor joist and wall construction spaces. Masonry buildings require spaces that are built out with wood furring strips or metal channels to hide horizontal and vertical plumbing. In large buildings with many fixtures, piping is located in pipe chases. These are vertical and horizontal open spaces with walls (or ceiling and floor) on either side. They often have ac cess doors so that the pipes can be worked on without disrupting the building's occupants. The water supply plumbing and the sanitary drainage plumbing must be coordinated with the building's structure and with other building systems.

The weight of the vertical supply pipes and the water they contain is supported at each story and horizontally every 1.8 to 3 meters (6-10 ft). Adjustable hangers are used to pitch the horizontal waste pipes downward for drainage.

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