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Common Plumbing Code Violations

Posted on: November 22, 2016

Like electrical work, plumbing work in Chicago and the surrounding communities is subject to specific building codes to ensure all homes are safe, protected, and functional. Plumbing codes help ensure both the proper function of plumbing systems and the health and safety of the public and the people who use a property. Here are some common plumbing code violations to watch for in Chicago area properties.

1. Improper Slope of the Drain Pipes

Drain pipes use the force of gravity to pull water towards the sewer. If they are not properly sloped, they can easily back up or cause slow drain problems. Improper slope can also cause leaks. Today’s building codes require 1/8 inch of pitch per foot of pipe, with a 3-inch pitch for large diameter pipes.

2. Poor Placement of Clean-Outs

A cleanout is a port in the plumbing system that allows access for maintenance. Cleanouts need to be placed properly so that they are accessible. This means they should not be underneath machinery, underneath cabinets, or inside casements. In addition, because casements could be in pipes that have sewage running through them, and could drip when being accessed, they should never be in areas where electrical exposure is a risk, like by electrical junction boxes, or in areas where sanitation is crucial, like in hospital patient rooms or any food preparation areas.

3. Improper Number of Cleanouts

Plumbing codes also require a specific number of cleanouts, based on the size of the system. Cleanouts should be spaced at least every 100 feet and at each change of direction that is more than 45 degrees, according to current plumbing codes.

4. Insufficient Space Around the Toilet

Plumbing code requires the distance between the toilet and any finished wall to be 15-inches from the toilet’s centerline. If the toilet flange is set before dry walling is complete, then it’s easy for this to be a problem, as drywall has thickness that must be accounted for when measuring the spacing.

5. Improper Fittings at Changes of Direction

When a pipe changes direction, a fitting allows it to do so seamlessly. However, the wrong fitting can cause an obstruction. Plumbing codes dictate which fittings will make the best choice in particular situations. Sometimes, homeowners who try to fix their plumbing on their own will inadvertently make a mistake and create a situation that violates plumbing code by using the wrong fitting.

If you are training to become a plumber, you must know what these problems are and how to avoid them. Illinois Plumbing Consultants gives you the chance to gain the right training and experience to avoid these mistakes, and fix them when you find them in the field. Learn more about our training programs today by filling out a contact form!


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John Bertram

John Bertram has been in the plumbing industry since 1985. He has worked in both commercial and residential shops for over twenty years, and John has been a plumbing inspector since 2005.

Rick Sperando

Rick Sperando has been in the plumbing industry for over 35 years. He successfully owns and operates a local plumbing and mechanical company as well as IPC.

Scott Underwood

Scott Underwood brings over 20 years of industry experience along with 10 years of instruction. He currently holds his IL Plumbers License as well as his CCCDI license. Scott is currently a co-owner of a successful plumbing company in McHenry County.

Guy Curtis Smale

My duties as the City of McHenry plumbing inspector include plan review of all new plumbing work as well remodeling projects, inspection of all plumbing being installed or repaired in the City as well as the Village of Prairie Grove, property maintenance issues related to the State Plumbing Code, working with the County Health Dept.

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