Case Studies: Residential Plumbing/Water Quality and Conditioning

Case Studies: Residential Plumbing/Water Quality and Conditioning
Plumber installs macerator pump in own basement bathroom

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Contractor opts for above-floor plumbing for in-law suite

Problem: Joseph Cariola is a licensed plumber and operations manager at Feddon Mechanical in the St. Petersburg, Florida, market. On a personal project, Cariola sought to expand his two-bedroom home by converting his garage into an in-law suite containing a bedroom and bathroom. Familiar with the Florida plumbing codes, Cariola anticipated there would be complications — and the associated high costs — if he chose to take the traditional, below-floor plumbing-drainage route.

Solution: Familiar with Saniflo’s labor-saving, above-floor plumbing systems, Cariola was confident that the Saniaccess 2 macerating and pump system was a workable solution and could handle all the plumbing drainage in the guest bathroom he was planning. The Saniaccess 2 macerator is equipped with a 1/2 hp pump and can pump reduced effluent up to 15 feet vertically or 150 feet horizontally to a soil stack that drains into a sewer system or septic tank. “It’s incredibly convenient,” says Cariola. “I avoid the costly and time-consuming task of digging up concrete — to install conventional below-floor drainage — that would cost thousands of dollars more. The Saniaccess 2 is up to code and works phenomenally.”

Result: Cariola’s entire bathroom renovation took three days, from the plumbing rough-in to the finish. “I had someone give me an estimate to install below-floor drainage in my garage conversion,” he says. “It would’ve cost me about $7,000 in total — or about $5,000 more than what I ended up spending with the Saniflo Saniaccess 2.” 800-363-5874;

Plumber completes home re-pipe faster with PEX push-to-connect fittings

Problem: When Clint McCannon, owner of Cannon Plumbing, had to re-pipe a metro Atlanta home, he faced a dilemma. The original plumbing installation was done with polybutylene, a pipe known to cause leaks and water damage. Replacing the plumbing system with copper pipe would require crimping or soldering, which is time consuming and potentially unsafe. Using CPVC would require the team to wait at least 30 minutes for the glue to dry before turning the water back on.

Solution: Since the team wanted to cause minimal disruption to the customer’s water supply, McCannon decided to use SharkBite PEX tubing and EvoPEX push-to-connect fittings to complete the installation quickly. PEX’s flexibility is easy to work with in tight spaces, while SharkBite fittings require no glue or soldering and allow for immediate pressure testing after installation. Plus, EvoPEX fittings, a PEX-only plumbing system, shows you when a permanent connection is made by displaying a green indicator on the fitting when the pipe is properly inserted. “SharkBite products have become integral to my plumbing projects, especially as a transition and repair fitting,” McCannon says. “I can put SharkBite fittings behind drywall, tile or beneath the floor and not have to worry about it. I can sleep at night, and I know my customers can, too.”

Result: McCannon completed the re-pipe 30% quicker than a crimp-style system. 877-700-4242;

Water heater valve prevents floods and damage to property

Problem: Flowing Solutions, a Portland, Oregon-based engineering and consulting firm, specializes in water management outdoors, including stream and river restoration, public waterfront parks, waterfront planning, permitting and design, and has years of working to keep water where it wanted. They operate several mechanical rooms with a complex plumbing systems, including a legacy open-loop heating system. With complex plumbing comes opportunity for failure over time. 

Solution: They installed the Aquaguard WAGS Valves, distributed by Wal-Rich, to shut off the water supply in the event of a water leak from a water heater. The valve sits in a drip pan under the water heater, and is activated when leaking water accumulates to a predetermined level in the pan. Once activated, the industrial-duty, spring loaded piston in the valve shuts off the water flow, and the gas supply — if so equipped. There is no electricity, batteries, wireless signal or maintenance required. Flowing Solutions combined several drip pans under each potential leak source and combined all flow via gravity to the WAGS Valve, extending protection for both the water heater and floor heat distribution system.

Result: The firm has installed WAGS Valves on their complex plumbing systems, and twice the WAGS Valve has shut off the water, preventing any damage to the mechanical room. 844-438-9247;

Tankless water heater a fit for large family home 

Problem: A family of five from Minnetrista, Minnesota, was running out of hot water during their morning showers. To find a solution, they called All City Plumbing’s master plumber Bret Hepola to solve their cold water problem. 

Solution: Minnesota is known for cold groundwater and Hepola was hesitant to install a tankless water heater because of the reputation the technology has for cold climates. However, Hepola was willing to give the technology a try for the family, replacing a 40-gallon water heater with a 199,000 Btu RSC199 Rinnai tankless water heater. The RSC model delivers the same superior quality as previous models, but is now easier for professional plumbers to install. Benefits include simplified recirculation operation with removal of internal bypass and recirculation plug/filter, new pump and recirculation diagnostics, Smart-Circ Intelligent Recirculation and a new multispeed DC Pump that is smaller and more powerful. 

Result: With Minnesota’s cold groundwater, Hepola wanted to do additional testing, running multiple bathroom faucets and a shower simultaneously. After running for several minutes, the family’s home continued to have 120-degree F water at all locations throughout the house. Hepola’s mind was swayed from hesitancy to success when it came to installing tankless water heaters to solve customers’ hot water problems. 800-621-9419;


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