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Specializing in custom new homes/renovations and hydronic in-floor heating since 1979
Specializing in custom new homes/renovations and hydronic in-floor heating since 1979
© RichfieldPlumbing.ca


The fixtures and appliances in your plumbing system get a lot of attention because they are the parts you use every day. The real important part of plumbing is the pipes that connect them. These pipes are your houses circulatory system, running unseen behind the walls and under the floorboards, mysteriously carrying water to and from. The diagram to the right shows a typical athroom and how they’re configured to form the four basic plumbing systems: water supply, drainage, venting and fixtures. There is a lot more to plumbing than just installing a toilet, it requires skills, hard work, concentration and training. Read below to understand how plumbing really works.

Water Supply

Water supply lines are either rigid copper or plastic(pex), Richfield prefers to use a combination of copper and plastic waterlines. Water enters from a public water main or private well at pressures between 40 and 80 psi. Once inside the house, the service line branches to the water heater. Beyond the heater, hot and cold waterlines distribute throughout the house serving fixtures along the way. At long distances from the mechanical room, remote pex manifolds are used to reduce costs, reduce waiting for hot water and to keep the job neat. To further reduce waiting times for hot water and prevent wasted water, a recirculating pump can be installed. Recirculating lines are always supplied by Richfield in houses that have fixtures far from the hot water heater but the pump is needed to be effective. The pump will activate by a motion sensor, push button or by a timer and supplies hot water to the furthest fixture and if there is a remote manifold then it will also bring hot water to the manifold. Richfield has a standard spec to put shutoff valves under all sinks, basins, dishwashers, fridge and toilets. If there is a problem with the fixture, the fixture can be fixed or temporarily shut down while the rest of the house can still have water. Non-freeze hose bibs are also a Richfield spec and they connect to a shut off valve, allowing minimal water in your hose bib waterlines in the winter to further prevent waterline freezing. Where water softeners are used, dedicated hard-water lines provide drinking water, serve outdoor faucets and toilets to reduce the wear on the softener and provide healthier water to drink. All showers are supplied with a pressure balancing valve, meaning the temperature of he water will stay the same even if other fixtures are used. Richfield also installs a valve for the humidifier so a needle cushion clamp valve (found on nearly every home with a humidifier) is not used. These valves are made for renovations and DIYers, not new projects.

Your Project

What you need to know for your water system and options available: 1. Hose bibs: how many, locations, hot or cold? Remember your patio, garage and hot tub 2. Recirulating line: do you want a pump with a sensor, timer or push button? 3. Hot water system: standard tank, tankless water heater, hot water maker (runs off boiler) or solar combo system? 4. Irrigation system: during construction we can rough-in a 1” waterline to outdoors for future irrigation 5. Shut off valves: sinks & toilets have valves included while fixtures such as showers/tubs will be done on request 6. Water treatment: which fixtures need treated water (fridge, kitchen sink etc.) 7. Water treatment system: distilled water, water softener, basic whole house filter, reverse osmosis 8. Shower valves: valves are at 4ft and shower heads at 78”, these measurements can change depending on the persons height and type of head (rain type is typically higher) 9. Custom shower: body sprays (how many, locations), steam unit, hand held sprayer, foot soaker 10. Custom tub: soaker, air tub, whirlpool, location of filler, handles and sprayer (center, left or right side of tub) 11. Other outlets: Pot filler, coffee machine, fridge and freezer, steam dryer, steam oven, water fountain etc.


While supply systems bring water under pressure, waste removal usually relies on gravity. There are two main types of drainage; groundwork and above grade. All drainage material used by Richfield is strictly abs (Acrylonitrile-Butadienetyrene) pipe in new applications. The drainage pipes are generally sized to match the fixtures they serve; sinks and tubs eed 11?2-in. lines, showers and laundry stands need 2-in. lines and toilets need 3-in. lines. If care isn’t taken while nstalling this piping then reoccurring and costly problems (pipes not draining properly, load noises, water damage) will xist long after the plumber leaves. These problems are reasons why a good plumber with training and skills is more mportant than the lowest price. Groundwork is done before the basement is poured with concrete and involves digging throughout to place drainage for asement fixtures and drainage stacks for upstairs fixtures. Richfield connects all drainage to a “Mainline full port ackwater valve”(pdf link) to prevent any sewer backups from occurring. A sump pump is also installed if needed during he groundwork to prevent water from entering the basement. Above grade drainage is done after the framing has been completed. This involves running abs pipe in walls and joists to onnect to plumbing fixture locations such as tubs and toilets. Venting is an important part of drainage as it allows drains to drain faster, helps prevents sewer gases from entering the uilding and releases the gas into the atmosphere. Sewer gas is composed of up to 90 percent methane and can cause eadaches and respiratory illness, so it’s important to make sure it doesn’t migrate back through fixture drains and into the uilding. The venting can be seen from outside at penetration points through the roof where the gases are released. These ents on the roof can completely freeze shut in the extreme cold winters of Alberta and cause problems in the buildings rainage system. Richfield increases all vent terminations to 4” to prevent these problems.

Fixtures and Appliances

Everything in a building that uses water falls under one of two categories; fixture or appliance. Fixtures are devices that use ater without an additional source of power. Appliances are devices that use water along with an additional power source. The most common plumbing fixtures are: Toilets Urinals Bidets Lavatories (bathroom sinks) Kitchen sinks Utility sinks Bathtubs Showers Plumbing appliances (waste disposal, dishwasher, washing machine, fridge) Fixtures are the finishing touch of the plumber, and our final time to impress you. This is your chance to add a touch of egance throughout your home. Richfield will install fixtures and appliances that you choose from one of our suppliers and ill make sure they will work properly as intended for years to come.
Call (780) 462-7321