Plumbing professionals use these terms quite a bit but it’s rarely defined. Probably the simplest way to explain what a plumbing wall/chase is to say it’s any wall with plumbing piping inside. Two other terms that are virtually interchangeable are wet wall and in commercial, industrial and institutional settings when floors are stacked on top of one another, the term wet column is used. Here are a few examples of how the term is used and how it relates to a home or commercial building.
If a home owner has problems with water pipes freezing in the winter a plumbing professional may ask if their “plumbing wall” is an outside wall. They are asking if the wall that houses the water piping for the shower, water closet, bathtub or kitchen is also a wall that shares itself on it’s other side with the elements. If not insulated or heated properly that plumbing wall/chase will always have this problem.
It is not uncommon in a commercial tenant space for a customer to want to install a coffee station. In order for a coffee station to be installed you need to have waste, water and vent piping. The easiest way and most economical to perform the installation would be to find a plumbing wall where all of the aforementioned are already in place possibly being used for other fixtures or plumbing equipment. You can then install the new piping from the coffee station and make connections to the existing waste, vent and water lines.
PLUMBING HINTS : Here are a few other scenarios where the location of the plumbing walls or chase would be relevant.
- CONSTRUCTION OF AN ADDITION (If cost is an issue the addition can be designed to use an existing plumbing wall, (provided the the piping in the wall is of the proper size), or attempt to get as close as possible to cut down on additional piping and wall, ceiling and floor penetrations. The same concept applies if the addition is built on top of the existing home. If another bathroom is being installed in the new addition stacking it on top of the plumbing below can cut significant cost from the plumbing.
- ADDING CORE TOILET ROOMS (If a commercial building decides to add a group of core toilet rooms or a coffee station for a tenant the architect or engineer would likely look for a wet column and possible waste, vent and water futures for their tie-ins.)