A water-supply system is more complex than most others if it includes an indoor-sprinkler system for fire protection. Supplying residential homes with this type of system is fairly new.
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When a water supply system in a home includes a sprinkler system, there's a lot more for the plumber to do than running pipes on the inside of the house. Getting the water service from the street to the house is also his job.
The system designer comes to the site to work with the plumbers, and with this particular system will put somewhere between 12 and 18 gallons per minute on a fire. This is a single head in a single location. In comparison, when a fire department has to be called to a resident, their hoses will put anywhere from 150 to 200 gallons per minute on the fire, but you must consider the fact that the firemen and women must break out windows, create vents, etc. With this system the venting is there and the fire will have already had some water doused on it by the time the fire department arrives.
Another example of new technology is the use of flexible tubing, called "Pex", instead of copper tubing for the water-supply line. By using flexible tubing as the plumbing material it brings down the cost due to the lack of labor needed to install the system.
Water coming into the house goes through the meter and pressure regulator and is then distributed throughout the house with a manifold that leads to the sprinkler heads via the flexible tubing.
Each port on the manifold leads to a particular sprinkler head. The sprinkler heads are installed in each room, and next the tubing is strung along from one head to the other and is eventually branched off to a fixture, such as a toilet, sink or bathtub.
The plumbing system is incorporated into one system from both the potable water (suitable for drinking) and the fire-protection sprinkler system. It's all used in the same network of tubing that makes up the water-supply system. Connecting the water from the sprinkler system directly with the water in the rest of the house serves an important purpose – it prevents the water in the sprinkler system from becoming stagnant by sitting still for long periods.
Once the fixtures are hooked up it's time to test the system, which means the water is turned "on" to remove the air from the lines. First there's a pressure test and then a leak test, which is done by checking each connection to make sure that it's dry and that there are no drips.