Plumbing FAQ

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What You Need to Know About the New Jersey Plumbing Code

All state in the US have their own plumbing code as well as construction code that residents and contractors need to abide by. Usually, plumbing permits are usually applied for when one is applying for the construction permit. The building authorities at the municipal will always provide you with the cost for the plumbing permits once you have submitted the necessary documents needed.

The state of New Jersey’s plumbing code was designed in order to ensure that New Jersey plumbing contractors follow and abide by the recommended plumbing practice, design, and installation which would ensure that the health and safety of residents and the state are protected through proper design, installation as well as maintenance of the plumbing systems.

Simply put, the New Jersey Plumbing Code is meant to provide practices and performance criteria that’ll protect the health and safety of people while utilizing the proper use of plumbing systems. Of course, like with any code, there are exceptions depending on the matter at hand. While the plumbing code may not specifically spell the type of devices or methods that may be used, the authority under the given jurisdiction can make exceptions and give direction as long as safety is guaranteed.

In addition, it’s also important to note that these codes undergo frequent revisions. Most times, these codes take years before they are updated in order to accommodate current trends as well as advancements in the technological field in the plumbing sector. That said, when considering what plumbing code to follow in New Jersey, always ensure you read up on the most updated or visit your local authority.

Application of Plumbing Code

The New Jersey plumbing code applies to any installation that includes the erection, installation, alteration, replacement, repair, maintenance or addition to use the plumbing system. The code allows that any addition or repair or alterations can be made to an already existing plumbing system without the need for the existing installation to abide with all the requirement of the code.

In addition, for an existing plumbing installation that was lawfully installed before the adoption of the current plumbing code can continue to be used, maintained or repaired as is as long as the repair or maintenance sticks with the original design, location and no hazard is created to life, health or property by the changes being made to the plumbing system.

When it gets to maintenance and repairs of all plumbing systems, they need to be done in such a manner that is safe and in a proper condition. The homeowner or the hired plumbing professional will be in responsible for the maintenance of the plumbing system. Minor replacements and repairs are allowed for an already existing system as long as they are done in the same way and arrangement as the original work, and they get approved.

If for any reason, you need to change the use of your building or occupancy, then the plumbing system will need to comply with the current code for its new occupancy or use. When it comes to historic buildings, the provisions of the plumbing code will not be mandatory when it comes to any additions, alterations, repair, restoration or replacement as long as the work is considered safe and is in being done in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare.

Approvals

The New Jersey plumbing code is not meant to prevent the use of any materials or the installation method that will be used. However, the materials and methods both need to meet the intents of the code and need to be approved by the authority that has jurisdiction in a given town or city.

The authority that has jurisdiction will have the right to approve the material or an installation method being used as long as the two are equivalent to the requirements of the code if they abide by other plumbing standards that are accepted nationally. According to the code, the jurisdiction will be required to keep a record of such approval and avail it to the general public.

However, there is a caveat. The code will require that enough evidence on why the alternate material or method is being used. If the applicant doesn’t provide this, the jurisdiction has the right to ask a testing agency to test both the method and material to substantiate the evidence given. The tests will also need to be done in accordance with the jurisdiction’s test procedure, and if there is none, the jurisdiction will provide one.

All these will be done at the applicants’ cost. As such, if your preferred materials and methods raise an issue with the authorities in your jurisdiction, it may be wise to use what is usually used to avoid additional costs. In addition, the authority may ask for a retest should there be any doubts that arise from the installation method or materials if it doesn’t meet the requirements upon which it was initially approved.

Enforcement of the Plumbing Code

When it comes to enforcing the plumbing code, the board or agency is usually appointed by the jurisdiction and has the authority to not only administer but enforce each section of the New Jersey Plumbing Code. The same agency then has powers to employee assistants, inspectors or other designated employees that will carry out and enforce the code.
That is why for instance, you will have inspectors from the authority in your jurisdiction come and inspect the plumbing system and approve the applications made. You or your plumber will have to draw all the plans of the plumbing project to scale clearly showing location, indicating the nature as well as the extent of the proposed work before it gets approved and commences.

Permits will only be issued once the authority in your jurisdiction finds that plans and specification abide by the requirements and once all payment fees have been made. Even with the approval, it means that all the work done needs to be as was indicated in the plan and should not deviate as that will lead to issues with the authority. If you live in New Jersey and are not sure about the plumbing code and need to build or make changes to an existing building, it may be wise to consult with your plumber or better yet, visit the authority in your jurisdiction.

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Are Expansion Tanks Required in New Jersey?

Most states in America require expansion tanks. And while it may not be an enforced rule in all towns and states, you most likely do need an expansion tank if you live in the state of New Jersey especially if you have a “closed” plumbing system. If your home has a closed plumbing system, some manufacturers may even nullify the warranty of your water heater if you don’t have an expansion tank.

You may be wondering what expansion tanks are. Not to worry, we will explain. If you own a car, you are aware that your car has shock absorbers and why they are important. An expansion tank in your home works like a shock absorber in your car. An expansion tank absorbs excess water pressure which in turn protects your water heater from early failure and damage.
Typically, homes have an “open” or “closed” plumbing systems. In a “closed” plumbing system, there is no chance for water to flow back into the city water lines once it gets into your home’s plumbing system. While that’s not a bad thing, if you don’t have an expansion tank, your closed plumbing system won’t give expanded water any route to escape which will cause damage to both your home’s plumbing and water heating system.

What we mean is, when water is heated in your water heater, it expands leading to an increase in its pressure in the tank vessel. If it does not have room to accommodate the thermal expansion, your water heater will burst.

Why You Need an Expansion Tank Installed

So without an expansion tank, your water heater will burst because it’s not designed to contract or expand in order to accommodate the thermal expansion. That is why it’s important to have an expansion tank installed in your home if you don’t have one already.

If you have an expansion tank installed, the excess water volume will automatically go into the tank lowering the water pressure inside your water heater to very safe levels which will protect your water heater and plumbing system from getting damaged. So, if your home has never had an expansion tank and you need to replace your water heater, you should also have your plumber install an expansion tank.

This will not just help you save money, but it will also ensure that your home’s plumbing system and water heater don’t get damaged due to the excess pressure. Today, expansion tanks have become more necessary than back in the day. In the past, whenever a thermal expansion would occur, the water extra water would be pushed back through your plumbing system and into the main city supply.

However, there are more sophisticated plumbing systems today than there were back then that use controls and other devices for comfort and efficiency. In addition, most utilities have also added check valves to the water meters. These check valves help ensure that once the city water passes your meter, there is no it can flow back to the main city supply. As such, it’s wise to invest in an expansion tank and save yourself a lot of headache in having to replace your water heater and plumbing system.

This article brought to you by Plumber Jersey City.