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Thread: UPC Code question about water service sizing

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    DIY Junior Member mike mann's Avatar
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    Default UPC Code question about water service sizing

    we just had a new house built in utah and the plumbing is terrible and i don't think to code. we have a 3/4" water main line(copper) but as soon as it enters the house it's reduced to take 3/4" pex and then about 2' from that there is a "t" with a id of .538. the line contues across the ceiling where 3 elbows are used that have a id of .460. how does this meet the upc code which says that the minumin water supply line shall be 3/4". we have 21 water fixtures, static line pressure of 55psi at the meter, static house pressure of 47psi (only because we had the regulator turned up) and a working pressure of 35psi with 1 facuret open. with 1 hose on it takes 1minute and 15 seconds to fill a 5 gallon can. with 7 fixtures on it takes 3 minutes @ 10 psi. contractor and plumber refuse to do anything so i want to go to the city code people and present my case that the plumbing is not to code. asking for opinions from the experts as i don't know plumbing and etc. thanks for your help and advice-mike mann

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    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Welcome to Terry's Forum Mike.

    Sorry to hear your new house may not meet code.

    Maybe they did not know the correct code.


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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    ALL those parts are called 3/4", regardless of their actual size. Most plastic used inside homes is NOT the size that they call it. You got a fast and cheap installation based on the minimum code requirements. In the "real world" do you actually have seven fixtures running at the same time?
    1. WIth city pressure of 55 psi, you do NOT need a regulator
    2. Turn the regulator up to 55 psi if you keep it.
    3. The pressure should not drop that much when you open a faucet.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member mike mann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    ALL those parts are called 3/4", regardless of their actual size. Most plastic used inside homes is NOT the size that they call it. You got a fast and cheap installation based on the minimum code requirements. In the "real world" do you actually have seven fixtures running at the same time?
    1. WIth city pressure of 55 psi, you do NOT need a regulator
    2. Turn the regulator up to 55 psi if you keep it.
    3. The pressure should not drop that much when you open a faucet.
    the way the house is plumbed the hose facuet is a 1/2" pex line with a "t" fitting that reduces the flow to .315 and is on the same line as the kitchen sink and dishwasher so that if either is on the hose has very little. the sprinkler system that i paid $7700 for doest cover the lawn at all and usually about 1/3 of ot is brown. contractor said to water by hand but with no volume/pressure it's hard to do. i was in hopes that i could use the tables in the upc code to prove that they did not comply with the code. worked almost 40 years with mil specs and we had to follow them or else. isn't it the same with the ups code or why bother to have it? thanks again and trying to understand-mike mann

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You are confusing "nominal" measurements with "actual" ones. Everything you have is 3/4" nominal size, which is what the code is referring to. The code does not address the "real world" where 3/4" copper pipe and fittings ARE 3/4", but 3/4" plastic pipe and fittings are NEVER 3/4". This is a reality, that conscientious plumbers address by using larger plastic pipes than they would if they used copper piping. Plumbers who use plastic pipes in order to give a low price and get the job almost always follow the code with the results you are having. The piping you have is probably what the city required and approved so they would not accept any liability by telling you it is inadequate.
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    DIY Junior Member mike mann's Avatar
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    thank you for the explanation. had a hard time understanding how a 5/8 dia pex tube could flow as much as a copper 3/4 line but when i learned that the iside is slicker and the raised the fps rate up from 5 to 8 it made sense. i'm still confused about the section of the code that says that nothing shall be inserted into the tube that restricts it's flow. the flow of pex is 12 gpm @8'ps while 1/2" is 5.8gpm @ 8'ps. not understanding very well but if that isn't a restriction then i don't know what is. thanks again as i'm stupid about this but after spending 350k to have a house built for us i'm not happy with the results and the contractor is walking away with my money leaving me with the results which aren't much to speak of. thank you for your help-mike mann

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    You want the truth Mike, I'll give you the truth. Your installation is typical and it is fast becoming the norm in most of the country because its fast, cheap and easy. It's also illegal for all the reasons you mention above and several others as well but, state plumbing boards and inspectors turn a blind eye to the whole mess because everyone wants things done fast cheap and easy these days. If you can find a plumbing engineer that is willing to come into your home and assess the installation (size it properly which is what the original plumber is SUPPOSED to do) you probably would have strong enough evidence to bring a lawsuit against the GC and the plumber responsible.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Junior Member mike mann's Avatar
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    thank you as thats the way i was reading the code also and comparing what i have to what the code says. from where i come from (mil specs and contracts) the word "shall" is a absolute requirement and unless you have written permission to deviate it stands as written. if the code meant it to mean that it wasn't required they would have used the word "will". on the run from the hot water heater is approxmatley 20' to the manablock manifold but with 6 elbows in line it is now 124.4' long and the house is only 55' long. it's this way thruout all of the plumbing-mike mann

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; but when i learned that the iside is slicker and the raised the fps rate up from 5 to 8 it made sense.

    That comes from a "spin doctor". The fps flow rate is a function of the faucet/valve using the water AND the reduced size of the piping, not the "slipperyness" of the tubing. If you use small enough pipe and a large enough faucet you can get the fps up to the "maximum" for that size pipe, but the pipe might not last very long. If you think the copper/brass "insertion fittings" reduce the opening you should see what the plastic ones do to the pipe's bore.
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    DIY Junior Member mike mann's Avatar
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    thank you for the info and thats my whole point. the house plumbing has 3/4 brass fittings and 25/30 plastic ones which reduce the flow even more. when i asked the plumber what the fps flow rate and how many gpm would flow thru the plastic fittings all i got was "it's built to code" which doesn't tell me much. his supplier sent sheets from the "design guide residential pex water supply plumbing systems" showing how to install the fittings, crimp and test which did nothing to answer my questions. assuming that it is a manufactures specification which the code allows the plumbing is against everything outlined in the guide. our plumbing looks like it would if done in copper except that the fittings are on the inside of the tube rather than on the outside wher copper is used. at 74 this was suppose to be our "dream house" and instead all we got was a piece of junk while the gc laughs all the way to the bank. not blaming plumbers or even pex tubing but the code/guide says there is a right way and a wrong way to do it period! thanks again for everyones help to try and clarify things for me-mike mann

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    When the general contractor gets to do the specifications, he will ask for the "cheapest" installation, regardless of whether he reduces the final cost of the house to reflect the lesser quality used. The real problem is the most of the "cuts" are buried in the walls where they are not visible or fixable once the house is completed. Any "upgrades" are in the visible items such as lighting fixtures and faucets to make the building visually desirable. Your problem, is that copper tubing was not specified in the construction document. I always install copper tubing, and if that means someone else gets the plumbing job, so be it. At least my customers do not come back complaining about water flow rates.
    Last edited by hj; 09-16-2012 at 07:14 AM.
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    DIY Junior Member mike mann's Avatar
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    interesting that you should say that. when i asked reliance homes (gc) reps about the specs thay set for the plumbing thay said there wern't any and they relied upon the plumber. right now i'm in the process of trying to pull this all toghter and take it to the cities code enforcement people to see what they will do. whether it's real world or not the ups says i'm suppose to have a 3?4" supply of water. you cannot get .750 of water thru a fitting that measures .700 outside diameter and this is before any water is supplied to the house/sprinkler systems. it's their job to enforce the code as it's wtitten unless there is a written deviation to the requirement. in the mean time i'm also going to lodge a complaint with the better bussiness bureau, try to find a plumbing engineer to assess the situation and then find a lawyer. is it ok if i print these replies out to show the city what should have been done? thanks-mike mann

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You can do anything you want, but I think you will be jousting at windmills. You had better find a lawyer who will only charge you a fee if you win, otherwise you may spend a lot of money needlessly. The plumber's defense will be that he did use the proper "nominal" sized piping, and the manufacturers will back him up with the "PEX is slicker than copper so it carries more water" defense. Also, that when water goes through a short restriction, such as an insert fitting, its velocity increases to compensater for the reduction.
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    DIY Junior Member mike mann's Avatar
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    thanks. deep down i think your right. i can take it to the city and bbb without it costing anything and the water is just the tip of the problems that we have had with this house. i hate getting shafted out of $7700 plus the money it will take to fix the sprinkler system ($3500) if it can be fixed. without water it won't work. thanks again for your help and i really appreciate it-mike mann

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; plus the money it will take to fix the sprinkler system ($3500) if it can be fixed.

    Unless you have an "estate". $3,500 will pay for an entire sprinkler system AND the water to run it for a few years. Rereading your original posting, I saw a significant statement. You said the pressure dropped to 37psi with one faucet running, but IF the pressure problem were all in the piping, it would drop AT the faucet, NOT by the regulator. This implies that at least part of the problem occurs outside the house. And the sprinkler/irrigation system should not go through the regulator in the first place.
    Last edited by hj; 09-17-2012 at 07:51 AM.
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