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The Do's & Don't of Building Your Dream Home - It's Starting to Look Like a Home

Fifth in a series: The Systems and Finishings That Are the Heart of a House

(If You Missed Part One Please Follow This Link)
(If You Missed Part Two Please Follow This Link)
(If You Missed Part Three Please Follow This Link)
(If You Missed Part Four Please Follow This Link)

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A home's systems require a great deal of knowledge and experience to design and install. The more eventualities that you can plan on, budget and install before and during the construction phase will be of great benefit after the home is built and you have moved in. If you know that you are going to need a particular system in the future then try to provide the plumbing, conduit and wiring or access panels for that eventuality during construction. It will cost a bit more now, but in the future, this type of planning can help alleviate disturbance and disruption, and save money with the future installation or activation. The cost of goods goes up every day. If you are assured that you are not going to be installing a system that will be outmoded, discontinued or disallowed in the future you win on all counts by acting now.

It would be improper to say that one system is more important, or needs greater attention over all others. Improper or cheap installation of any system is hazardous, and will affect the overall liveability and value of a dwelling when it is finished being built. Good plumbing should not come at the expense or detriment of a good electrical or ventilation system, and vice versa. You must always look at the project in regard to the overall finished product if it is to retain the value that you have put into it. Further, a deficit in one area can, and usually does, lead to problems in others. If a homebuilder installs faulting plumbing, and there is a problem in the future with leaking pipes many other things will need to be repaired, just as when an improper electrical job can cause pumps and ventilating systems to work improperly and cease operation before their true time is due.

If all has gone as planned and you are meeting all your scheduling and payment demands the exterior of the house should now be complete, the studding and one side of the dry wall or paneling could have been installed wherever possible and you are now ready to wire, plumb and run duct work, if required, in your home.

Note: Some, but not all, petitions and ceiling areas can now be "rocked" and enclosed. Be very careful not to proceed to this point in areas that you know require wiring, plumbing or duct work that requires complete access for installation. Enclosing one side of a petition is fine in most cases, and it helps to keep the flow of work going. Keep in mind that going back and ripping anything out is time and material intensive, runs up costs and can be more difficult to finish the second time around. Cutting and then patching holes in drywall requires an optimum of skill if you are to never see the repair after the area is painted. When in doubt, leave it open until you are sure all the other necessary work has been completed and inspected.

Basic Plumbing Watch Points

During your site preparation, foundation and slab work you have undoubtedly made preparations for the septic and plumbing systems. Now you will need to plumb the interior and connect it to these other systems. Most municipalities and states have very strict guide lines for home systems and your architect will have already provided the proper layouts and specifications for them. Your only choices at this point are really the esthetic and design ones. If you are doing the work yourself you should pay to have the system checked and tested by a licensed professional. This will assure your future home from mishap, safely protect you and your family and allow for smooth sailing when you apply for your certificate of occupancy upon completion of the work.

There are basic rules that must always be followed and adhered to when plumbing here is a short list of the most basic ones:

  1. The proper sizing for pipes according to at least the minimum demand of use and local codes.
  2. Which material these pipes are made of: copper, PVC, ventilated or reinforced.
  3. Which kinds of joints, adhesives and solders may be used.
  4. How plumbing is supported and attached within and to surfaces.
  5. The angle of the plumbing's run is of paramount importance.
  6. How long any one section of piping maybe.
  7. Sufficient drainage and "p" traps for sewage waste and odors.
  8. How much water pressure will be required to supply all areas of the structure and any and all appliances.
  9. Backwash and back flush valves wherver needed.
  10. Accessible traps and clean out fittings in all required areas.

Certain plumbing, heating and electrical equipments are large, heavy and cumbersome. It is best to have them delivered and installed as early as possible to avoid hassles and unnecessary adjustments latter. To deliver large furnaces, hot water heaters, air extractors and blowers, and any other number of things, requires good ease of access. Once you have enclosed the areas where they are to be fitted it is extremely difficult, and at times impossible to install them after the fact. Placing large equipment in basements, or attics prior to installing the subsequent floors and ceilings is recommended whenever feasible. Tolerances can be very tight and to have the luxury of room and movement during installations is an asset whenever achievable.

Further, equipment that is heavy needs to be put into place to insure that any settling that can occur before you go to sheet and finish can also go as planned and not be damaged by any subsequent settling of damage during work. Bathtubs and hotwater heaters are good examples of this.

It should go without saying, but it will be mentioned here to make certain. All systems need to be kept to a minimum, centralized and configured with all other systems considered. Providing a good area for your equipment will, make it all much easier to operate, maintain and service when the time comes. Make certain that any closets or rooms used to hide equipment are water and fire proofed and that they ventilate properly. This insures a longer and more efficient life of operation and increases the overall health and safety aspects of the home as well.

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