Smart Solutions

Commonwealth Plumbing Finds Viega Double Drop Elbows Are Perfect Fit for Historic Building

Using Viega’s double drop elbow fittings allowed Commonwealth Plumbing to accommodate new sinks in the tight space of a historic building in Boston. With the pressed fittings, Commonwealth also saved time and avoided soldering.

Fittings Eliminate Dead Legs, Preventing Bacteria Growth

While renovating a historic building, Commonwealth Plumbing found that Viega’s double drop elbows were the best solution for accommodating new bathroom sinks in a tight space with limited design options. By using pressed fittings, Commonwealth not only saved time on installation but also avoided soldering in an old building with a lot of wood.

Rising to the Challenge

The central dining facility at Emerson College in downtown Boston was built around 115 years ago. With a historic structure of that age, the space needed to install completely new plumbing came at a premium. In addition, the renovation included metered faucets on timers, adding a level of complication.

New hot-water plumbing systems were designed for two bathrooms in the dining facility. One bathroom had enough space to install regular tees, but the other bathroom was too small. Viega double drop elbows were selected for the tight space.

“It’s a very old building and just has the issues that come with renovations to a very old building. We had to drop individually to each sink as opposed to having the space to run it horizontally down right to the fixture,” explained Peter Hannon, vice president of Commonwealth. “Due to space within the wall, we didn’t have that luxury. The tight quarters made the double drop elbows the best choice.”

An average user will take 30 seconds or less to wash his hands. Most of the time, that means the water will have been sitting in the pipeline for a while. It will not be freshly heated water until the line is purged. By using Viega’s double drop elbow fittings in the bathroom installation, dead legs in the line were eliminated completely.

“Installing the double drop elbows allows us to get the piping much closer to the fixtures to minimize the dead legs,” Hannon said. “Having warm water at the faucet is a better experience for the user, so they’ll think the best of the facility.” A series design was installed in the other bathroom, the one with more space, which allowed Commonwealth to use more traditional fittings.

Staving Off Stagnation

Stagnant water in plumbing lines can lead to the development of Legionella bacteria. These bacteria can cause Legionnaire’s disease, which can be fatal. Legionella bacteria are particularly concerning in facilities such as hospitals or nursing homes, where users might have compromised immune systems.

At Emerson College, the main focus was providing hot water to users in spite of the low-flow faucets. In a series design installation, like the sinks in a bathroom, when water is turned on at the end of the line, the water circulates through the whole system, purging the line and providing hot water to the active fixture almost immediately.

“We’ve done a loop system before similar to this,” said Hannon. “This was the first time we’d used these particular fittings, the double drop elbows. We met our installation goals. Especially where there was a lot of wood in the building, pressing saved us from having to solder.” Time and labor savings, along with quality of connections are important factors in Commonwealth’s use of Viega solutions. “We’ve been using Viega for a number of years and have had very good luck with it,” Hannon said. “We recommend and submit it for projects as often as possible as a product to use.”

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