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 Post subject: Plumbing a French house
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:25 pm 
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Location: Was Plouasne 22830, now Ploeuc sur Lie 22150, France
Plumbing a house
Hot & Cold Water
The Basics

For a layman I would advise them to use plastic piping, but not the c-pvc pipe (the joints need 24 hours to set, and it can be brittle, and be broken easily), rectulated-polyethylene, or cross linked polyethylene (known as PEX or Alphacan etc) for fitting the fittings to the tube a special tool is used, to draw up a brass ring over the plastic tube after a brass insert is fitted into the tube compressing the plastic pipe wall on to the ridges on the insert

If you feel competent in using an oxy acetylene torch, or a gas torch, for hard soldering the copper tube, I would advise using copper tube, in France all copper tube for water is hard soldered, very few compression joints are used by the French plumbers

Both forms of tubing have good and bad points

The plastic tube, is easy to work with, no scrap value (no theft from an unoccupied site) ideally needs a special cutter to cut the tube cleanly, needs a special crimping tool (costly), the tube needs a special former to stop the tube from 'throating' or collapsing when bent on a tight radius, joints can leak if made without care; pipe sizes: 12mm, 16mm, 20mm; in 5 mtr, 10 mtr, 25 tr, or 50mtr coils; with or without an outer sleeve (gaine in French)

The copper tube, this can come in "dead" hard temper, of 1 mtr, 2 mtr, 3 mtr, or 4 mtr lengths, or in "dead" soft temper coils, of 5mtr, 10 mtr, 25 mtr, or 50 mtr coils; copper tube in France is 1mm wall thickness, anf comes in equal pipe dimensions and starts at 6mm id / 8mm od, (so you would ask for 10/12 mm tube if you wanted a pipe with a 10mm internal bore), and rises in 2mm steps ie 6,8,10,12,14,16,18,20,22 mm, for normal house plumbing unless the copper tube is soft temper, it needs to be anneled to soften it, prior to being bent, is pricey to buy (and has a potential for theft from site) copper tube in coils can be also obtained with a 'light' plastic covered insulation, a hard solder (99% copper, 1% phosphorus) is used for the jointing the copper tubes, SOFT SOLDER is not used by French plumbers

=====================================================================

Plumbing a French house is a little different to the plumbing in the UK

First all the water supply is off the main supply (no water storage tanks in the roof space to get contaminated), which is normally around 3 Bar pressure (1 Bar =1 Atmosphere: approx 14.5 lbs a square inch) or about 45lbs sq inch, this pressure means that smaller pipe sizes can be used, both for the hot and cold supplies; if the mains pressure is greater than 3 Bar a pressure reduceing valve needs to be fitted just after the main stop valve where it comes into the building

The modern French way of plumbing a house is to use manifolds for the distribution of both hot and cold water inside the house, a set of manifolds per floor is normal, if the manifolds are fitted with quarter turn valves on the branches, a single appliance can be isolated, these manifolds can either be made on site (to suit the job in-hand) or purchased (3, 4, or 6 outlets, but can be joined together for more outlets), all tube copper or plastic where its buried in the floor or wall must be covered with a plastic gaine

The hot water cylinder is normally a mains water fed, electrically heated, (200 litres is normal capacity, but 100 ltr 150 ltr and 300 ltr can be obtained), and is a glass lined steel cylinder with a 75mm insulating and a light steel cover jacket, indirect cylinders (with an internal coil heated by a boiler can be obtain, but are expensive), some boilers come with an integral stainless steel cylinder

The incoming mains water, hot water cylinder, and quite often the boiler as well, are often fitted in the garage, this is where the ground floor manifolds would be fitted close to the incoming water and hot water cylinder and the tubes fitted in the 'first fix' stage are connected

First fix is where the tubes are laid under the concrete slab, or screed, useing a manifold system, this normaly allows the pipe work to be laid in one length without any joints in the concrete slab or screed, which can be reassuring that there are no leaks are in the buried part of the building

Normal Pipe Sizes for different appliances etc

Incoming water supply: Copper tube 22mm, Medium Density Polyethylene (French, black with 4 light blue stripes) 19mm id x 25mm od :

Note in old buildings lead pipe can still be found this should be replaced, iron pipe can also be found this needs to be replaced, PVC pipe can also be found, do not touch it can be brittle and snap on you

Hot water cylinder 22 mm copper for at least the first metre, if changing to plastic
Bath 16 mm or 18 mm
Shower 14 mm or 16 mm
Wash hand basin 12 mm
Bidets 12 mm or 14mm
Kitchen sink 14 mm
Tap for a washing machine or dish washer 12 mm
W/C 10mm
Out side tap 14 mm
All sizes are internal diameter

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 Post subject: Re: Plumbing a French house
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:15 am 
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Location: Cher
When combining the French system of putting the cold main feed directly to the taps, how does one stop the feed to a tank (needed for wood stove) from coming back down the pipes when the taps are turned?


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 Post subject: Re: Plumbing a French house
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:27 am 
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Location: Cher
please ignore the last daft question. Must have been the wine last night.


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 Post subject: Re: Plumbing a French house
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:54 am 
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Location: Was Plouasne 22830, now Ploeuc sur Lie 22150, France
Its not a daft question, just a slight misunderstanding on how the two systems differ, you could still have a closed system with a solid fuel boiler, if its plumbed right, the first two links show the fitting that is needed to achieve this, and the other link should explain how the system works, its the second part of the page, I am sorry that its a long read

http://www.thermador.fr/vdoc/thermador/SOC2/FRA_BD_FTST544.pdf

http://www.thermador.fr/vdoc/thermador/SOC2/FRA_BD_FTST544501.pdf

http://thefranceforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8181

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An old wild fowling motto : little powder, plenty lead, kill 'em dead

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http://www.peakeenergies.fr/

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 Post subject: Re: Plumbing a French house
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:01 am 
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many thanks. the reason I thought it was daft was that as the feed pipe to the plastic tank had to go through the ballcock nI realised that it could not get back past the valve. But will study your links, who said plumbing was easy.


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 Post subject: Re: Plumbing a French house
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:06 am 
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Location: Was Plouasne 22830, now Ploeuc sur Lie 22150, France
cherami wrote:
many thanks. the reason I thought it was daft was that as the feed pipe to the plastic tank had to go through the ballcock nI realised that it could not get back past the valve. But will study your links, who said plumbing was easy.


It is if you have been doing it for over 50 years :lol: , but the introduction of crappy plastic did not help matters

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An old wild fowling motto : little powder, plenty lead, kill 'em dead

English born, Living in France, Therefore European

http://www.peakeenergies.fr/

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 Post subject: Re: Plumbing a French house
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:29 pm 
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Posts: 145
Location: Cher
My friend who's husband died 2 years back used that plastic muck and the lady came out to the house to find lots of it had just shattered it has now been replaced with red and blue plastic I hope that it's better than the last lot. I hate it and the fitments too, but I suppose some is just choice. Ps tks for help.


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