Did you know that not every pipe in your building is a plumbing pipe? The distinction depends on the type of equipment connected to the end of the pipe. For example, if the pipe is connected to a faucet, it is part of the plumbing system. If the end of the pipe is connected to a drink machine, food manufacturing machine or used in a process in an industrial factory, it’s probably process piping.
Facility Plumbing VS. Piping Systems
Facility plumbing and piping may sound the same, but they are different. The primary difference involves building codes. When you install a plumbing system, which is generally connected to water fixtures, like your faucets and shower, that pipe is regulated by the plumbing code. When a process piping system is installed, it is regulated by engineering code, and there can be a dramatic cost difference between the two, with piping almost always being cheaper when you consider the need for permits and inspections.
Process Piping Systems
In general, process piping systems carry something other than water. Water may be a component in the system for cooling or as an ingredient. For example, if you have an industrial bread baking machine in a large commercial factory, flour, yeast, water, and salt as well as other ingredients are going to be pumped into giant mixing vats. The pipes that transport those ingredients are not considered plumbing pipes. Instead, they are considered part of a process piping system. Another way to think of piping is that whatever is transported through the pipes is used for a specific process that isn’t water distribution, and process piping is generally regulated by engineering code.
Plumbing systems distribute and transport water, and the pipes associated with your building’s water distribution system are regulated by the plumbing code. In a plumbing system, water is transported via a source, usually the city’s water distribution system. The water from the city’s water pipes flows to your building via the water main. In large buildings and buildings with irrigation systems, hot tubs and swimming pools, the city water flows through a backflow preventer before being sent through the potable water pipes. At the end of those pipes reside water fixtures and water using appliances, like showers, bathtubs, toilets, faucets, washing machines and dishwashers.
Piping and Plumbing With Midsouth, Serving the Southeast
If you are uncertain as to whether your plumbing system needs repair or if your process piping needs repair, Midsouth Mechanical can help you. We have both plumbers and pipers on staff that can determine if your corroded, leaking or old piping system needs to be repaired or replaced, and we can tell you the type of system and answer all your questions. We can even design and upgrade piping and plumbing systems to better meet your facility plumbing needs.