Plumbing Needs in Third World Countries

Plumbing Needs in Third World Countries


I made myself a hot cup of tea before I sat down to write this article.  Can you imagine how much more difficult making a cup of tea is for people without access to safe drinking water?  Too many people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water.  Too many of those same people risk waste borne disease due to inadequate plumbing.  Let’s take a closer look at plumbing needs in third world countries.


There is a stark need for improved sanitation in the third world.  According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, at least forty percent of the population on earth has no or inadequate sanitation facilities.  Poor sanitation has severe consequences to human health.  Diarrhea plays a part in killing more than 700,000 babies and young children each year.  Also, chronic diarrhea leads to developmental delays in children that hamper the economic vitality of third world nations.


The situation in Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, is an example of the dire need for improved sanitation in third world countries.  As Rebecca Herscher reported on NPR Radio, there is no sewage system in the Haitian capital.  Instead, more than three million people living in the capital city must use outhouses.  These outhouses are cleaned out in the middle of the night by workers who toil by candlelight.  The horrible consequences of the lack of proper sanitation include illnesses such as diarrhea and even cholera.


Cholera has nearly disappeared from developed nations.  Sadly, this is not the case in the developing world.  Yemen is an example of what happens when a profound lack of sanitation meets with little access to clean water.  In Yemen, years of war has led to a breakdown of waste collection in the cities.  Millions of people in the country cannot find safe drinking water.  As a result, a cholera epidemic is raging in Yemen.  The World Health Organization estimates that at least 500,000 people were sickened with cholera within the first four months of 2017.  Fortunately, health professionals have saved the vast majority of the cholera victims who can get to a medical facility.


Perhaps an even more urgent problem is the lack of safe drinking water.  As tells us, one in nine people in the third world does not have access to safe drinking water.  In some parts of the world, women spend as much as six hours a day finding and collecting drinking water.  Tragically, a child dies every ninety seconds from water-borne illness.


The obvious solution to the sanitation and water nightmare is to construct a modern plumbing infrastructure.  The developed world doesn’t worry about the scourge of water-borne illnesses and epidemics because we have adequate plumbing and sanitation systems.  Although the cost of implementing a modern plumbing system within the third world is high, the societal benefit far outweighs the initial financial investment.


Plumbing Mistakes

We all know that DIY projects can save homeowners a lot of hard-earned money, and more often than not, a lot of time. By doing some quick research, you can also protect yourself from experiencing the headache that is the DIY disaster. Below, you’ll find the top five common plumbing mistakes and how to make sure you don’t fall prey to a costly error.


Lack of vents and traps:

Basement plumbing fixtures must have appropriate venting and traps installed. Since basements are typically eight feet or more into the ground, it’s crucial to install proper venting. Venting a plumbing system isn’t all that difficult, but doing it correctly will ensure your safety for years to come. A plumbing system vent allows air to move freely. Without it, all the sewage running through the waste line creates a vacuum and air pressure builds. That vacuum can create loud, gurgling drains, and even worse, it’ll suck all the water out of the traps and allow sewer gas to leak into your home. No one wants that.


A trap is a device with a U-,  J- or an S-bend. The shapes used form a bending path to capture water to prevent sewer gas from entering buildings, but still allowing waste to pass through. All plumbing fixtures, including tubs, toilets and sinks must have a trap installed to keep the noxious and annoying fumes from entering the living space of a building.


Too much or too little slope:

If you’re not a math fan, this part won’t make you giddy with excitement, but accurately figuring out the necessary slope for your drain pipes is essential to making sure your plumbing system is efficient. gives some handy instructions: “According to plumbing code, drain pipe has to be sloped a minimum of 1/4-inch per foot and a maximum of three inches per foot or vertical. A slope of less than 1/4-inch per foot will cause constant drain clogs and a slope of more than three inches will allow the water to drain without the solids.” Thankfully, they promise the calculations are easy!


Improper amount of fixtures per plumbing vent:

Depending on your state and local plumbing codes, you’re allowed a certain number of installations per vent. Make sure you double check those codes to ensure you’re following proper protocols!


Incorrect location or wrong number of cleanouts:

A plumbing cleanout is a special access panel on the exterior of a home, typically in the ground, that can be accessed to clear out clogs. Clogs are a commonplace occurrence in sewer lines because of slow drainage due to build-up. To make sure your sewer lines are running smoothly, check your location’s codes to make sure you install the appropriate number of cleanouts in the correct spot.


Connecting different pipes:

This is one of the most frequently made mistakes when it comes to DIY plumbing projects. For instance, copper and galvanized metal should never be connected, as these two metals don’t interact well together and corrode very quickly. Make sure to check with your local codes or more DIY information to ensure proper pipe connections!

5 Truths I Learned from My Plumbing Disaster

It was a day like any other.  I was singing along to the Hamilton soundtrack, straightening my hair and getting dressed, mentally preparing myself for another long, boring day at the office.  I heard a small, slight gurgle.  It was coming from the toilet.  It had gurgled before.  Not a big deal.  And then I heard a “Whoosh! “coming from the shower stall behind me.  I kept straightening my hair and singing along until, out of the corner of my eye, I observed darkness being to swell from the shower floor.  Nasty, bubbling raw sewage.  Spewing up from the floor of the shower stall, squirting everywhere.  It was like a scene from a horror movie.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, a horror movie was an accurate characterization of what my life would be like for the next two months.  Tight on money and knowing that a professional plumber would cost far more money than we had on hand, my husband and I tried to fix the problem ourselves.  In the end, we called a plumber and it was the best money we’ve ever spent.  Here are five truths I’ve learned from my plumbing disaster.

  1. YouTube tutorials won’t cut it.  You may be able to figure out many things by watching a YouTube tutorial.  Playing the ukulele, how to braid a fishtail braid, how to cook Mediterranean fig steaks.  But plumbing isn’t one of those things.  Trust me, call a professional plumber.
  2. Your husband, boyfriend, father, uncle, etc. has no idea how to fix your plumbing problem. Save your relationship with this well-meaning man, call a professional plumber.
  3. The plumbing problem won’t go away on its own. Taking a wait and see approach in some situations is sound advice.  However, when you have raw sewage spewing onto the floor of your downstairs bedroom, and threatening to spew all over the downstairs, you don’t really have the time required to embrace a wait and see approach.  Call a professional plumber.
  4. You don’t want a “handyman.” This person will have just as much knowledge as those individuals listed in number 2 above.  Go ahead and call a professional plumber.
  5. You don’t want the problem to reappear in two weeks. We paid a guy who claimed to know exactly how to fix our problem.  We paid him good cold cash.  And all was well.  Or so we thought.  Until two weeks later, an all too familiar brown pool began seeping from the downstairs shower.  When we called him back to fix it again, he could not be found and didn’t return any of our phone calls.  We learned our lesson.  We should have called a professional plumber.

Don’t be stubborn like me and try to fix the problem yourself.  You may have plenty of areas of expertise, but if plumbing isn’t one, save yourself the time, money and frustration and go ahead and call a professional plumber.  You’ll be glad you did!

5 Reasons to Thank Your Plumber

So much of our everyday life revolves around plumbing.  Hot showers, toilets that flush, running water for drinking and cooking.  It really isn’t until something goes wrong and you need a plumber that you realize how essential they are to your everyday happiness.  Here are just five of the many good reasons to thank your plumber daily.

  1. You love hot showers.  Or hot baths.  Some people are shower people and some people are bath people.  Whatever floats your boat.  Some people luxuriate amongst fancy scented bath bombs, with lit candles and the whole shebang.  Others sing heavenly melodies (or perceived heavenly melodies) in the shower with the hot water turned all the way up so that the entire bathroom is engulfed in a thick cloud of steam.  What happens when your hot water heater goes?  Sorrow, that’s what happens.  No one luxuriates in a cold bath.  No one sings under a stream of freezing water.  Your trusty plumber can help repair or replace your hot water heater so you’re singing in the shower once again!
  2. You don’t want to spend a ton of money on your water bill. Water is great.  It’s a necessity, not a luxury.  But it’s still a utility, and you’ve got to pay for those utilities.  Incessantly running toilets and dripping faucets are more than annoying, they’re expensive.  Your trusty plumber can fix a running toilet or a dripping faucet like nobody’s business.  That’s just what they do.  It’s one of the many reasons we love plumbers.
  3. You like to be healthy and well. You know what happens when you have leaky pipes?    Mold happens.  And no one likes to settle down to frosty glass of mold water.  You don’t want to practice your morning yoga while breathing in icky mold.  That’s where your trusty plumber comes in.  He (or she!) will fix it so you can be relaxed and hydrated the healthy way.
  4. You dislike standing in raw sewage. I don’t know anyone who likes standing in raw sewage.  Or who enjoys having anything to do with raw sewage in any fashion.  Thank goodness for your trained professional plumber who can take care of this disgusting mess so you can get on with your life.
  5. You like to flush your toilet. Now, not to get too personal, but you and I both know that we appreciate a flushed toilet.  I think most people would agree that a flushed toilet is a happy toilet.  So when your darling toddler suddenly decides her Barbie’s life is not worth living and flushes poor Barbie down the toilet…disaster ensues.  Leave it to your trusty plumber to not only give poor Barbie a second lease on life, but to get things moving again for that toilet.As you can see, your plumber plays and integral role in the health and happiness of you and your family.Without your plumber, you couldn’t enjoy hot baths, you’d pay too much for wasted water, you’d drink mold water, stand in raw sewage, and be unable to flush your toilet.  Next time you see your plumber, be sure to thank him or her for the plethora of creature comforts you can enjoy because of your plumber.

Starting to Flow

Hey there peeps!  We’re starting to get things moving over here at Motorize My Life and wondered what topics you are interested in hearing life hacks on first?  Would it be bathroom?  Kitchen?  Children?  Travel?  Business?  Beach?  It can literally be on anything – we just wonder what you want to learn about first?!


Let us know, and we will be back in a couple of days with our first group of amazing life hacks!

Getting Moving!

Call me behind the times, but I still like the basic simplicity of a WP site.  We are going to be launching a blog called, “Motorize My Life” featuring simple life hacks here to make your life easier.


As we get things moving, feel free to watch this video of 50 back to school life hacks!

Make sure you check back often!