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Plumbing fixture patterns through audio sampling
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Pipe sizing criteria, and thus building water utility connections, are currently based upon a very small statistical sampling of plumbing fixtures performed in the late 1930's. This sampling became the basis for the Hunter curve. The Hunter curve remains the industry standard and is used to size piping systems based on the number of plumbing fixtures attached to the water supply system. There is general agreement, however, that use of this curve results in inefficient or undersized water piping supply systems. As a result of the application of the Hunter curve, the water supply configurations are often miss-sized. Incorrect pipe sizing could translate into higher material and labor costs during construction. With changes in personal habits, fixture design, and building use the applicability of this 50-year old curve is questionable. An experiment was conducted whereby plumbing fixture use in the Langford Building C on the Texas A&M University campus was continuously monitored for several weeks. The experiment involved mounting microphones on the water supply risers of different plumbing fixture groups on the first, second, and third floors of the building. The microphones fed into a sound activated relay circuit acting as a surrogate for fixture use, which upon sensing fixture use triggered a pulse that was recorded at a data logger. The sound activated relays were connected to a data logger via shielded signal cable where the fixture usage patterns were logged and stored. Data collected was used to estimate maximal usage patterns and probabilities of the concurrent use of multiple water closets and urinals. Data was collected on the building's class population and schedule for comparisons to fixture use. The technique of multiple regression analysis was employed to determine correlations between fixture use and variables of the buildings population. From the data and statistical analysis, a new demand unique curve was plotted representing the Building's fixture demands. The estimated probabilities were also compared to the Hunter Curve. Although based on one sample building, the comparisons suggest the Hunter Curve may underestimate maximal usage patterns and the use of Hunter's original design criteria may overestimate the final selection of the design flow.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaf 39).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Shea, Kevin Bruce (2002). Plumbing fixture patterns through audio sampling. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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