Central Heating Boiler in London, 1862

Heating apparatus at the city prison, Holloway

boilers london old

Book illustration of the heating apparatus at the city prison, Holloway from page 449 of ‘The criminal prisons of London and scenes of prison life’ by Henry Mayhew and John Binny. The authors visit the Engineer’s department and observe the boilers that heat water which is piped around the prison. The Plumbing and Heating Engineer reports that: “We keep the fires burning night and day when the weather is cold, keeping the temperature up in the winter, which renders the cells very healthy, with a sufficient quantity of warm air passing into them continually from the flues, where the hot-water pipes are. Each of the cells has an extraction flue that conveys the impure air into a large flue on the roof of each wing, and these large flues are connected with, and discharge themselves into, the ventilating shaft.” The boilers also heated water “to supply the baths in the reception ward, and likewise for the baths given to the prisoners in the various corridors, in winter once a month, in summer once a fortnight.”


Gas crater

This a crater made by Soviet geologists in 1971, in the Karakum Desert, Turkmenistan. The ground beneath the gas drilling rig collapsed and to stop the release of poisonous gases,they set it on fire, thinking it that it will only burn dew days.

They might need a giant cooking pot.

Drawing a Plan of the Pipework

A detailed floor plan of your house, on which are marked the existing water supplies and the drainage services, will help you to determine where you are going to site new plumbing installations. The diagram on this page and the one opposite represent the ground and first-floor plans for a typical semi-detached house, with two living rooms and a kitchen on the ground floor, and a bathroom and three bedrooms on the first.

Extending the water supply pipes to the new fittings should present you with few problems; careful planning will be necessary, though, to ensure that the fittings are correctly plumbed into the drainage system. The drainage services from the kitchen sink and from the first-floor bathroom. Pipework that is in white indicates where waste pipes would be needed for the addition of a shower in either of the two bedrooms or in the cupboard underneath the stairs; or for the addition of a wash basin, in this case, a vanity unit, which is a basin set into the top of a low cupboard—in the bedroom adjoining the bathroom. The waste system can be the old two-stack variety, with the bath and basin waste discharging into a hopper head and the W.C. directly into a separate cast-iron soil stack.

When you make the sketch plans of your floors, include the positions of existing plumbing appliances and services, and of possible obstructions to new pipework. Do this plan to scale, adding all the dimensions; you will then be able to tell whether or not the proposed new appliance will fit, and can estimate for materials such as copper piping for extending the supplies, and plastic pipes for the wastes. In new houses, builders‘ plans are usually available from the agent that negotiated the sale. Decide on the type of appliance to be added, collect information about its dimensions, choose the optimum position, and lightly sketch in the appliance on your floor plan.

Next, work out the availability of the necessary services. Maybe the water supplies can be extended with only short runs of extra pipe, but you realize that the drain is inaccessible; in that case you will have to work out another position for the appliance. A well-made diagram will readily provide such information. When designing new plumbing services, try to site the appliance as close as possible to the main stack: long runs of waste pipe are undesirable for many reasons.

Blockages are more likely to develop in long runs than in short ones, especially in those that have to change direction in order to by-pass obstructions; noise, created by frictional resistance as water travels through the pipe, may occur; and venting will often be necessary. For example, a 40 mm diameter waste pipe from an installation to a single stack system (combined waste and soil stack) should be vented if its length is more than 2.3 metres.

If you cannot avoid a long run, make sure that you install cleaning eyes at regular intervals and wherever the pipe changes direction. Increase the diameter of the pipe to reduce noise. And if venting is impracticable, you must fix a special resealing trap to the appliance. The plan should also allow a sufficient downward gradient of the pipe towards the drainage services. For a 40 mm diameter waste the minimum desirable slope is approximately 1 in 50, that is, 20 mm per metre. If the fall is insufficient, the emptying of waste water from the appliance will be sluggish, again causing blockages.

Conversely, if the fall is too great, the appliance will empty too quickly, which may result in the trap seal being removed by differential pressures. If you have any doubts, niake a sketch plan of your project and take it tq your local water authority who is very willing to offer help and advice. In any case, the water authority should always He (consulted before you embark on any major alterations to the sanitary fittings in the home.

New Plumbing Installations

New installations both improve and extend the plumbing facilities of the home, bringing them up to date. If you use piping already installed in the house to give yourself a head start, you can achieve the desired results with a minimum of elbow grease and expense. Small jobs may prove as rewarding as big ones.

Fitting an outside tap will result in labour saving for many cleaning and watering chores. Larger projects such as plumbing in a washing machine or installing a shower unit may also improve the efficiency of domestic life. Once you get started, seemingly complicated projects often turn out to be remarkably straightforward. When you replace an old fixture with a new one in the same location, the plumbing connections are simple mechanical fittings; no soldering, threading or cementing need be involved.

Replacing a noisy wash-down type W.C. with a stylish and virtually silent new siphonic one, for example, is largely a matter of loosening nuts with a pipe wrench and removing screws with a screwdriver to take the old cistern off the wall and the old W.C. pan off the floor—and then reversing the process to secure the new close-coupled fixture in place. The chances are that the trickiest part will be lifting the components into position—vitreous china is fragile as well as being heavy, so you will need a helper to manoeuvre the cistern and pan safely. Wash basins call for even less effort to replace. Ready-made fittings go into place quickly.

Wall-mounted wash basins are supported by specially designed brackets packaged with the basins. Should any soldering of the joints be necessary, the use of integral solder-ring fittings makes this the easiest of tasks. Modern vanity-type wash basins are simply set into a waterproof laminate surface or secured with bolts and wing nuts. Neither kind of wash basin is difficult to install in a room which did not have one originally: a bedroom, a utility room or even a darkroom. It will be necessary to extend the waste and supply lines, but if the distance between the fixture and existing waste service is kept within the recommended maximum length you may not need to install a special trap or vent pipe.

Similarly, the installation of a shower and the plumbing-in of an automatic washing machine are only complicated by the practical considerations of accessibility to existing supplies and wastes. Before starting any work, familiarize yourself with the layout of the supplies and the drainage, by roughing out on graph paper a diagram of the house and its existing plumbing facilities. In all modernizing—additions as well as replacements – remember that you need never feel limited by the extent of your present piping. Adapter fittings make it possible to join new pipes to old ones; and plastic piping may be used to short-cut many of your plumbing projects.

Push fit joints for gas pipe

Push fit joints CAN NOT be used for gas pipes

They are made of plastic, rubber and a metal reinforcing washer. If there is a fire, the pipes and joints are the first to give away. While the plastic pipes and joints are OK for the pressure, however, it it too risky to have gas piped through them. You can use them for compressed air and non hazardous situations, as long its not a hazardous or poisonous gas.

Speedfit / polypipes pipes can be dangerous if misused.

plastic pipes plumbing

North West London Plumbers

Plumbers in North West London

Plumbers Robuild London are your local plumbing & refurbishment company who cater for all commercial, residential plumbing projects. We offer, high quality professional service from estimates and quotes, to the finished job.

plumbers underfloor heating pipes

Our plumbers use only quality materials and qualified, highly skilled and Gas Safe registered plumbers.

New central heating systems
Underfloor heating
New boilers installations
Bathrooms & Kitchens
Boiler repairs

Plumbers in London