Fun Plumbing & HVAC Facts
- Manhole covers in the U.S. round are instead of square because a round manhole cover cannot fall through its circular opening, whereas a square manhole cover could be turned diagonally and fall through. Circular manhole covers are also easier to place back into original position, and do not need to be rotated for alignment.
- The word “plumber” is derived from the Latin word for lead – Plumbum. Lead use to be the primary material used in the creation of pipe-works used to carry water into cities and towns, before it was found to be a cumulative poison.
- The British call the bathroom the “loo” and here’s why: when everyone used chamber pots, the Normans of France ruled the land and French was the dominant language. If you spoke French, and were a courteous person, before you pitched the contents of your chamber pot out your bedroom window (day or night) you would yell, “Gardez l’eau!” In English that means “Watch out for the water!” Instead of pronouncing “l’eau” “low,” the chamber-pot-pitchers of England pronounced it “loo.” With the invention of toilets, the English dropped the habit of pitching their waste out of windows, but didn’t drop the term “loo.” So, if you ever visit England, be thankful that their l’eau now stays in the loo.
- The modern toilet we use today came from a variety of inventions throughout history. In 1596, Sir John Harington invented a design that had a flush valve to let water out of the tank and wash-down design to empty out the bowl. In the 1880s, Thomas Crapper & Co.s, Sanitary Specialties built flush toilets and received a royal warrant. Back in the second half of the 19th century, Thomas Crapper’s plumbing company was a leading plumbing supply company in London. He was considered “the Father of the Flush” after he invented the Valveless Water-Waste Preventer. By the early 1900s, the name “T. Crapper” could be seen on manhole covers, toilets, and urinals all over England. When World War I rolled around, the American soldiers, or doughboys, took the time to notice such things, especially when visiting public restrooms. So, when they returned home to America, one of the souvenirs they brought with them was a new word: the crapper.
- While rudimentary showers can be found throughout India, Egypt and Mesopotamia, the first real shower was invented by the Greeks around 300 B.C. Ancient Greek athletes would freshen up within the Stadiums using a piped in water supply that would spray down through showerheads shaped like the faces of boars and lions.
- Hot water can be one of the most dangerous things in your home. At 120°F, 49°C, it would take 10 minutes to burn skin. At 125°F, 52°C, it would take 2 minutes to burn skin. At 140°F, 60°C, it would take 6 seconds to burn skin. At 150°F, 66°C, it would take 2 seconds to burn skin.
- One of the biggest myths is on the direction the water in the toilet bowl swirls. Contrary to popular belief, the direction of the swirling water doesn’t depend on whether the toilet lies in the northern or southern hemisphere. Instead, the direction the water takes depends on the direction that the bowl’s rim jets are pointed. The water can be made to flush in either direction in either hemisphere.
- The terms faucet and spigot were once used only in the Northern and Southern U.S., respectively. The terms have come to be used interchangeably (although spigot is more commonly used for outdoor connections.
Here are some fun facts about HVAC
- Love radiant heating in your bathroom? It’s not new technology. The Romans developed a similar system in which the floors were laid out as a series of stone slabs raised up on pedestals with a heat source located below the floor.
- The first way of heating a home was a fireplace. The fireplace chimney was introduced during the 12th century, which allowed enough distance for the draft for the fire to escape above the home.
- Closing registers in unused portions of your house in order to save money is a myth.
- Does the price tag of installing a new furnace and air conditioner seem big? Studies show it will only account for 25 percent of the overall cost of the equipment.
- Back in the early 1800’s, street lighting was produced with gas lights made from coal or oily liquids.
- One of the biggest boosts to the movie industry was the introduction of air conditioning. As you can imagine, movie theaters could get rather stuffy in the warm summer months. In 1902, Willis Carrier came up with an idea to artificially cool the air, and the idea of air conditioning was born.
- In 1842, Florida physician John Gorrie used the compressor technology to create ice and use it to create cool air for his patients. He envisioned his ice making device could be used in homes and buildings everywhere, and was granted a patent in 1851. His hopes for its success vanished when he lost financial backing, and died a pauper in 1855. The idea didn’t catch on for more than 50 years.
- The first concept of air conditioning was developed by British scientist Michael Faraday in 1820 when he discovered compressing and liquefying ammonia could chill air when it was allowed to evaporate.
So there you are. When conversation lags at your next party, you will be able to mesmerize your friends with a slew of little-known facts that are sure to get the party going. Have fun!