Interesting Plumbing Facts

Plumbing is the system in our homes consisting of “pipes and fixtures for the distribution of water or gas in a building and for the disposal of sewage.” Sounds straightforward enough, however, you might be surprised by some of these interesting facts about household plumbing.

Did you know?

  • Indoor plumbing dates back to at least 2500 B.C.
  • Sir John Harington is credited with inventing the flushable toilet in 1596, hence the American nickname for it, “the john.”
  • Copper piping, which is the #1 material used for plumbing work in today’s world, is the same material that the Egyptians used to lay their own pipe – some 3000 years ago!
  • Since 1963 (the year CDA [Copper Development Assoc] was established), more than 28 billion feet or about 5.3 million miles of copper plumbing tube has been installed in U.S. buildings. That’s equivalent to a coil wrapping around the Earth more than 200 times. The current installation rate now exceeds a billion feet per year.
  • In a typical household, toilet flushing constitutes up to 38% of all water-use in the home.
  • A low flush toilet can save you up to 18,000 gallons of water per year.
  • An invisible leak in the toilet will waste up to 15 gallons of water a day or 5,475 gallons a year.
  • In a typical home, more than 9,000 gallons of water are wasted while running the faucet waiting for hot water. As much as 15% of your annual water heating costs can be wasted heating this extra 9,000 gallons.
  • At 140 degrees, it takes five seconds for water to burn skin. At 160 degrees, it takes only half of a second. Your water heater should be set to no hotter than 120 degrees.
  • Approximately 1 in every 318 homes or buildings has a leak.
  • If a drip from your faucet fills an eight-ounce glass in 15 minutes, it will waste 180 gallons per month and 2,160 gallons per year.
  • A slight trickling faucet or showerhead can waste up to 100 gallons of water or more in a week (depending on the size of the drip).
  • A dripping faucet/hose bib can lose up to 180 gallons a month or 2,160 gallons per year.
  • A 1/8 inch hole in a metal pipe, at 40 psi, leaks 2,500 gallons of water in 24 hours.
  • A leak the size of a pinhead can waste 360,000 gallons per year, enough to fill 12,000 bathtubs to the overflow mark.
  • Consider this, a failure at 70 pounds of pressure can expel up to 650 gallons of water per hour. That’s what you could be faced with if your washing machine hose fails. Washing machine hoses are usually made of reinforced rubber, which can lose resiliency and burst as it gets older. It’s important to replace this hose every 3-5 years.

Sources:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/plumbing
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