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Plumbing Safety – Things to Watch Out for When Working on Older Buildings

May 30th, 2013 by gtowsley Leave a reply »

 

Plumbing jobs will take you to all kinds of properties: commercial buildings, multi-unit buildings, new homes, and older homes. One of the biggest plumbing safety concerns is about the environment of older homes. The following are some things to be cautious of when working on older homes.

 

  1. Plumbing Safety when working around Lead

    Most homes built before 1978 will contain some traces of lead paint. The older the home the greater the chances and the higher the concentration of lead there will be. In addition in the early 1900′s many pipes were made with lead and even some copper pipes contain lead from the soddering agent. Before work is started a lead test should be performed. In the event that lead is found all precautions should be taken in proper remediation to prevent plumbing safety hazards from lead exposure. Too much lead exposure can cause health concerns such as high blood pressure, fertility problems, nervous system damage, and can be particularly harmful to young children. Lead can infiltrate carpeting and even dirt surrounding the home; so be careful when working under homes with a raised foundation.

 

  1. Plumbing Safety when working around asbestos

    Between the 1920′s and 1970′s asbestos was used in a variety of building materials. Praised for its low cost and fire retardant properties it was used in everything from duct work and piping to linoleum flooring. This becomes a particular plumbing safety concern because many older homes still have original plumbing systems that have a thin coating of insulation containing asbestos. When working on older homes containing asbestos it is important to contain the area that is exposed to prevent asbestos fibers from moving through the air, and remove building materials with traces of asbestos very carefully. Always wear a face mask to prevent exposure. Remember asbestos doesn’t necessarily pose a threat if it is isn’t disturbed, only when it is damaged or disturbed can the dust like particles be released, such as when performing household repairs.

asbestos plumbing safety

Inspect A Pedia, http://inspectapedia.com/sickhouse/asbestoslook4.htm, 05/30/2013

  1. Plumbing Safety when working around mercury

    This is a plumbing safety concern when plumbers are working on older broiler style heating systems such as The Honeywell heat generator. Mercury is used in pressure gauges, thermostats, and gas meters. If a plumber is not familiar with these types of heaters or the harmful effects of a mercury spill this becomes a big plumbing safety concern. In addition mercury can be found in the plumbing systems of older heath care and biomedical research facilities who may have disposed of mercury contaminated substances before restrictions on mercury use and disposal were enacted. Mercury is a heavy substance often settling to the bottoms of traps. This is a plumbing safety concern when working in buildings such as these.   Even a small mercury spill can spread quickly and often go undetected. If a mercury spill is suspected it is important to contact toxic control authorities. This is not only a plumbing safety hazard as it will effect anyone who comes in contact with it.

Plumbing work will take you to many types of environments, so it is important to be educated and aware of some of the plumbing safety concerns you will come in contact with. Always exude proper precautions when it comes to plumbing safety concerns to you and others safe. For more information on plumbing safety and other plumbing related topics .

 

 

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