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Is Your Plumbing System “Over Engineered”? Here’s What You Can Do About

Jun 27, 2023

Plumbing systems are a key component of your home or business. Without reliable pipes to transport water and gas, you, your family, or your customers won’t have proper sanitation or comfort. As a homeowner, business owner, or both, you rely on plumbing systems to provide seamless service that you don’t have to worry about backing up on you. However, you can call a plumber if something goes wrong; ensuring that your plumbing systems are designed and installed correctly is even more critical.

But unfortunately, many plumbing systems are “over-engineered,” which means they’re unnecessarily complicated and expensive. Over-engineered plumbing systems can be inefficient, causing energy and water bills to soar. They can also increase the likelihood of plumbing issues and even lead to danger.

What is Over Engineering?

Over-engineering means using more materials, components, and labor than is needed to complete a task. In plumbing, over-engineering means using more materials than needed to construct pipes, fittings, and other plumbing system components. It can also refer to using more complex or more expensive than needed.

For example, many plumbing systems are designed with excessively long pipes. Long pipe can be more difficult to install and interfere with other systems. Also, some plumbing systems are designed with unnecessary or overly complex components, such as a pipe expansion loop, designed to prevent pipes from bursting due to thermal expansion. In most cases, though, these aren’t necessary.

Other examples of over-engineering in plumbing include installing faucets, valves, and other higher-end components that look fancy but aren’t worth the extra cost. Also, unnecessary features like shutoff valves on water lines can increase installation costs and require too much maintenance. Large diameter pipes that don’t need to be so wide — 3/4 inch versus 1/2 inch, for example — cause needless material costs and take too long to install due to their heavier weight. Installing multiple redundancy systems (for example, using two separate water supply lines instead of one) can also qualify as over-engineering.

Why is Over Engineering a Problem?

Over-engineering can lead to various problems, including increased cost, inefficiency, and safety issues. Over engineered plumbing systems can be significantly more expensive to design and install because more materials and labor are needed to complete the job. Plus, over engineered systems often require more maintenance and aren’t as efficient, leading to higher utility bills.

Over engineered plumbing systems can also be more prone to problems and even lead to dangerous situations. For instance, they may be prone to leaks, as the extra components could create weak spots in the system. And they can interfere with other plans in the building, such as electrical wiring, which can cause a malfunction or even a fire.

What Can You Do to Avoid Over Engineering?

There are several steps to avoid over-engineering your plumbing system.

  1. Use the right materials for the job. Only use materials for plumbing that are specifically designed for use in plumbing systems, such as copper, PVC, ABS, or PEX. Ensure you’re not using more materials than necessary, like excessively long pipes.
  2. Use the right components. Avoid overly complex components, such as pipe expansion loop, unless necessary. If you do need to use them, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Finally, hire a qualified professional to design and install your plumbing system. An experienced, licensed plumber can design and install an efficient and safe system without being over engineered.

What is the Bottom Line of Over Engineering?

Over-engineering is a common problem in plumbing systems, leading to expensive and dangerous scenarios. To avoid trouble and ensure your plumbing system lasts, use the appropriate materials and components for the job and hire a qualified professional to design and install the system. This way, you can ensure it’s efficient, safe, and cost-effective.

Whether you need a speedy repair of your current plumbing or the installation of a new system, call the experienced team at Rinaldi’s.