Plumbing fixture

From Academic Kids

A plumbing fixture is a device which is part of a system to deliver and drain away water, but which is also configured to enable a particular use.

The most common plumbing fixtures are (listed by American plumbing term):

Each of these plumbing fixtures has one or more water inlets and a drain. In some cases, the drain has a device that can be manipulated block the drain to fill the basin of the fixture. Each fixture also has a flood rim, or level at which water will begin to overflow. Most fixtures also have an overflow, which is a conduit for water to drain away, when the regular drain is plugged, before the water actually overflows at the flood rim level. However, water closets and showers (that are not in bathtubs) usually lack this feature because their drains normally cannot be stopped.

Each fixture usually has a characteristic means of connection. Normal plumbing practice is to install a valve on each water supply line before the fixture, and this is most commonly termed a stop or "service valve". The water supply to some fixtures is cold water only (such as water closets and urinals). Most fixtures also have a hot water supply. In some occasional cases, a sink may have both a potable (drinkable) and a non-potable water supply.

Lavatories and water closets normally connect to the water supply by means of a supply, which is a tube, usually of nominal 3/8" (U.S.) or 10 or 12 mm diameter (Europe), which connects the water supply to the fixture, sometimes through a flexible (braided) hose. For water closets, this tube usually ends in a flat neoprene washer that tightens against the connection, while for lavatories, the supply usually ends in a conical neoprene washer. Kitchen sinks, tubs and showers usually have supply tubes built onto their valves which then are soldered or 'fast joint'ed directly onto the water supply pipes.

All fixtures have traps in their drains. Traps are sumps, or pipes which curve back down then back up again so that they retain water and create an air seal between the ambient air space and the inside of the drain system. This prevents odors from fouling the interior air. Each fixture drain must be vented (usually through an extended pipe to the roof) so that negative air pressure in the drain cannot suck the trap dry, to prevent positive air pressure in the sewer cannot force gases past the water seal and also to prevent explosive sewer gas buildup.

The actual initial drain part in a lavatory or sink is termed a strainer. If there is a removable strainer device that fits into the fixed strainer, it is termed a strainer basket. The initial pipe that leads from the strainer to the trap is termed the tailpiece.

Water closets have the trap built into the fixture itself. The closet is then supposed to seal to the flange of the drain pipe by means of a wax ring. These are traditionally made out of beeswax. However, their proper sealing depends on proper seating of the water closet, on a firm and secure base (floor), and on proper installation of the closet bolts which secure the closet to the flange, which is in turn supposed to be securely fastened to the floor.


Electronic plumbing

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Sensor operated plumbing fixtures have fewer moving parts, and therefore outlast traditional manual flush fixtures. Additionally, they reduce water consumption by way of intelligent flushing schedules (fuzzy logic) that determines the quantity of each flush based on how many people are standing in line to use the fixture.

In public facilities, the trend is toward sensor operated fixtures that improve hygiene, and save money. For example, sensor operated automatic flush urinals have fewer moving parts, reduce wear and tend to last longer than manual flush valves. Also they ensure fixtures are flushed only once per use. Some contain intelligence that flushes them at different amounts of water flow depending on traffic patterns, e.g. the fixture can "see" if there is a lineup of users, and only give a full flush after the last person has used the urinal. Automatic flush eliminates having unflushed fixtures as many users do not bother to flush. Also, since the fixtures are always flushed, there is no need for a urinal cake, or other odor reduction. Sensor operated toilets also have automatic flush. Sensor operated faucets and showers save water. For example, while a user is lathering up with soap, the fixture shuts off and then resumes when the user needs it to. Sensor operated soap and shampoo dispensers reduce waste and spill that might otherwise represent a slip hazard.

Garbage disposer

The garbage disposer (U.K.: waste disposal unit, Canada: garbage grinder, Portions of US: garbage disposal) was invented in 1927 by architect John Hammes of Racine, WI. He founded the company In-Sink-Erator in Racine which is still at work making millions of garbage disposers a year. The function of the garbage disposer is to grind food waste (e.g. chicken bones, fruit, coffee grinds, meat) so that it can be sent down standard household plumbing without clogging. The device works by having attaching a small chamber underneath the drain of a sink. This chamber contains whirling blades and grinders. Once the food goes through this chamber, it is flushed down the rest of the plumbing. A few tips for maintaining a garbage disposer include always using cold water when using it to allow it to cool correctly, items like chicken bones and ice cubes can actually sharpen the blade and are good for it however some items should not be put down a disposer including beef and pork bones, large amounts of hot oil and stringy fiberous materials such as corn silk. If the disposer needs to be freshened up then you can grind aromatic items such as a small lemon in it to reduce smells.

In most of Europe garbage disposers are not used at all as the high load of organic matter in the waste water requires a higher capacity sewage treatment plant, since the increased organic matter requires additional oxygen and water to process. Instead, garbage is separated at the source, into compostable and other types of garbage and collected. Similarly, In the USA, there have been some political and environmental issues with garbage disposers. For many years, New York City had banned their use. The stated reason was the above-mentioned increased sewage treatment capacity, but many area residents also suspected that it was the garbage unions not wanting work taken away from them.

Garbage disposers have been referenced in the media occasionally. One example was in the television show "Seinfeld" where Kramer has a garbage disposer installed in his shower so he can prepare food there. This is of course not a recommended use for the product, especially for those with long toes. In the horror movie "Phantasm", the lead star killed a monster fly-like creature by putting it down a garbage disposer.

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