Piping and tubing has led to the development of society’s overall, we’ve been using piping for thousands of years. However, over time are piping and plumbing methods have changed significantly.
(Interestingly, the word plumbing comes from the Latin root word for lead. Plumbers essentially are / were lead-ers. Because at the time of the origin of the name plumbers made and installed pipes from lead.)
The example of lead piping used in Rome is well known. It was used extensively, and it helped the civilization develop so that people can live in City centers.
However, even with the significant development over the past Millennia, even in the last hundred years our methods of piping and tubing have changed significantly. Many old houses on Capitol Hill still have steel pipes such as the ones shown in the photos above. (Many houses still have lead service lines as well, an issue DC and other cities are trying to slowly address.) At the time of installation, these pipes were one of the best methods available. Annealed copper, CPVC, and PEX used today were not a real option at that time.
But, just looking at this photo you can see some of the problems with steel piping. The corrosion shown in these pictures is a perfect example of the corrosion typically found in steel pipes in Capitol Hill.
Replaced a water heater this weekend and as always when replacing a water heater we drain out the water heater during or before removal. As is common and customary we found the tank to be full of crud and you can see the water running out red in this picture.
This particular water heater was over 15 years old, however even in new heaters water in the tank and become discolored. It’s good idea to flush out a periodically as part part of maintenance, annually or even more frequently.
Problems of corroded pipes and or deteriorating pipes can accelerate sediment buildup and then coloration of sludge and sediment in the hot water heater tank. For electric water heaters sediment can actually build up on the actual heating element or electrode. Build up on the electrode lowers efficiency of the water heater because it is sensually insulates the electrode instead of allowing it to directly adjacent water. As well this scenario will hasten the deterioration of the electrode.
Also, not directly related to sediment buildup, overheating can accelerate the deterioration of the porcelain or glass lining on the inside of a water heater tank.
In a future post we are going to talk about sacrificial anodes and galvanic anode protection in more detail. (I just have to sift through all my photos and find the pictures I took of one of these.)
There was a time, not long ago, when every house depended on old time phone wiring for any electronic connectivity. Nowadays, we clearly have many alternatives to the old time press button systems. However, the old wire is still out there, overhead on telephone poles and underground as in the case of the photo below.
Typically in the old days telephone wire ran into each house in a double two pair. The red and blue wires were one pair and the telephone company might refer to this as a R3 box. Here in this photo you can see all the many wires landed onto the punchblocks. It is likely a technology soon to be extinct but very interesting.
This photo shows a good example of a historic damp proof course in brickwork.
This house was built about 110 years ago. A piece of slate tile was installed between the mortar joints of the lower course of brick. Here in this picture you can see where we picked away at the loose mortar. The mortar overtime has never been tuck pointed, and therefore the mortar at this location is loose and deteriorating.
When we check the condition of the mortar we found this piece of slate tile shown in the picture. The slate tile was installed to provide a damp proof course. Essentially, the slate tile is impermeable to moisture. The slate tile at this location is almost exactly the same as a slate tile on a roof.
The Damp proof course prevents or deters Rising damp from affecting and deteriorating the upper portions of the wall.
Click here to learn more about Rising damp.
Forms stone was invented or primarily first used in Baltimore, MD. Like a cover-up tuckpoint, formstone may simply be a cheap way of hiding something that looks even worse.
In the top right corner of the photo above you can see the brick substrate behind the formstone where the formstone has delaminated.