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How Has Plumbing Changed Over the Years?

Modern plumbing is something that many New Yorkers take for granted and rarely give a second thought to. But this industry has come a long way since its earliest days, which is fascinating to learn about.

This article will discuss how the plumbing industry has evolved, including the relevant technology, the business practices, materials, and other major shifts.

Ancient Plumbing Systems

Before plumbing was as easy as flushing a toilet, ancient plumbing systems were built by Egyptian, Greek, and Chinese civilizations to handle waste and water supplies. Thousands of years ago, communities were digging wells, changing the temperature of water, and transporting waste to nearby sewers. These were all important functions for bathing, removing waste water, and making water more portable.

Innovations in Early Plumbing

Sir John Harington, the godson of Queen Elizabeth I, described his idea for a flushable toilet back in 1596, but it took a while for his ideas to catch on. Alexander Cumming received the first patent for a flush toilet in 1775, which involved an innovative S-shaped pipe. In the late 19th century, Thomas Crapper manufactured a successful line of flush toilets and developed a more effective tank-filling mechanism.

Modern Plumbing Systems

Modern plumbing practices began to come to fruition in the 1800s with showers, public water mains, and running water in houses. Since that time, plumbing has changed with regard to the materials used and water-saving laws being implemented. Toilets, showers, and other plumbing fixtures have been getting more high-tech as the years go by to meet demand and take the simple hassles out of daily life.

Shifts in Plumbing Materials Used

One of the biggest changes in the plumbing industry is the types of materials being used for pipes, fittings, and other materials. The earliest sewer pipes were made of brick and stone thousands of years ago. But concerns about sanitation and the spread of disease led to a shift in the materials used.

Later pipes were made from wood, clay, and fiber conduit. Cast iron pipes were common for a while, and then ductile iron, concrete, and plastic. Plastic PEX and copper pipes are commonly used today for water supply lines, while PVC is a standard material used for plumbing waste lines.

Changes in Plumbing Technology

As a family-owned plumbing business that has been in the NYC market since 1963, we’ve seen a lot of changes in plumbing technology over the years. The first toilets that flush by sensor, rather than handle or button, date back to the mid-1980s in Japan. Since the early 2010s, we’ve seen a greater interest in water-saving toilets that are energy-efficient and help homeowners save money on their water bills. However, water-saving laws were being introduced as early as the late-1970s to prohibit excess water usage for the greater good of the environment.

Other technological developments in the modern plumbing industry include self-cleaning toilets, warming toilets, LED bathtubs, digital showers, Bluetooth-connected showerheads, hands-free faucets, and smart features that allow you to track and reduce your household’s water usage.

Plumbing Business Practices

How plumbing businesses operate in today’s modern world is also much different than it was in the past. Plumbers are now prioritizing their online presence to attract more consumers, rather than solely relying upon word-of-mouth recommendations. Mobile search, consumer education about plumbing education through blog articles, and making people more aware about their water consumption are also increasingly important these days.

Modern plumbers often rely on online reviews to keep their businesses profitable, and many plumbing professionals make an effort to use eco-friendly practices and products on the job. Technological developments are giving some plumbing businesses a profitable edge over their competition. However, not as many skilled workers have been going into the plumbing profession, while demand for plumbing services has been on the rise in recent years.

Plumbing Supplies at Your Fingertips

Another answer to the question of “how has plumbing changed over the years?” is that plumbing-related information and supplies are more accessible than ever before. While the professional plumbers are still doing great business, an increasing number of homeowners are giving DIY plumbing solutions a try for simple repairs before calling an expert for help.

At Central Plumbing Supplies, we give you countless options to choose from when selecting plumbing supplies and decorative plumbing fixtures to update your plumbing system and make necessary repairs. We serve the trade and also homeowners with an extensive list of brands and top models that you won’t find just anywhere else in the Tri-State Area. With these unrivaled selections from around the world, you can choose the plumbing products you need to fit your budget and feel confident with the high level of quality you’re investing in.

We have multiple plumbing superstores, as well as stunning showrooms to display decorative products throughout New York. It’s exciting to see how far the plumbing industry has come over time, and we can’t wait to be on the forefront of innovation in the future.

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