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Tips for Managing Water Systems in Existing Buildings


Problems in drain lines are no justification for wasteful consumption. Instead, consider these tips for managing waste systems in existing buildings:

  • When replacing fixtures with lower-flow models, inspect drain lines for corrosion and other conditions that obstruct the flow.
  • Clean waste lines when replacing fixtures.
  • Consider using toilet paper with lower tensile strength for lines prone to clogging.
  • Carefully consider reduced fixture flow rates for toilet fixtures located at the beginning of long horizontal runs.
  • During product specification, consider the placement of high-efficiency toilets and other nearby fixtures within the system.
  • Discourage building occupants from flushing paper towels and other items not meant for the sanitary system.
  • Consider the suitability of the waste-pipe material and maintenance procedures before connecting waterless fixtures.
From a sustainability perspective, we need to think more broadly about conserving the water facilities use daily, as well as about maintaining existing buildings so they provide long-term value for the resources they require during construction and operation. For plumbing systems, this means considering water-conservation measures, as well as the way decisions are inherently tied to waste systems and their ability to operate efficiently.

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