Whatever kitchen plumbing requirements you have for your new kitchen design, it is advisable to establish these at the onset of your kitchen planning. In so-doing, you can establish a design that feasibly accommodates kitchen plumbing needs, avoiding the disappointment of a kitchen that will not work further down the line. Plumbing needs for your new kitchen may prove quite complex as you will have hot and cold water feed pipes, drainage pipes, drainage connections to your ‘soil’ pipe, and possibly also plumbing requirements for a heating system.
How to plan for kitchen feed pipes
Hot and cold ‘feeds’ are the pipework that deliver pressured water to your kitchen tap and other appliances such as a washing machine, or a refrigerator with option for chilled water.
It is important to know the particulars of your water pressure as some kitchen taps and washing machines require a minimum pressure for them to work. If you are worried your water pressure is low then it is wise to have a plumber test it and if necessary they can recommend ways to improve it. In terms of how the feeds will affect the design of your kitchen, these pipes are relatively small, (usually less than 28mm); they typically run in tandem, and are located either behind the kitchen units bracketed to the wall, or else run beneath the floor. If you are installing your kitchen as part of an extension then the process is usually quite straightforward.
However, if you are contemplating fitting your sink within a kitchen island then careful attention should be given during the planning stage to work out how the feeds/pipes will be concealed within your floor. Similarly, if your new kitchen is being fitted within an existing space then pipe location may depend on the floor material in place, and you might need to budget for a builder to create a channel in the floor, as well as replace the floor covering. If you live in an apartment it is strongly advisable to check in advance of any works whether you will require freeholder or management company consent for this.
How to plan for kitchen drainage systems
Whilst water is delivered into your kitchen under pressure, it will usually (unless a pumped system is installed) only leave the kitchen by way of gravity, and so may need some assistance to help it drain away. Substantially larger than feed pipes, drainage pipes are fitted at an angle called a ‘fall’ to facilitate this. Your sink, washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher will typically all need connecting to drainage pipes, and the drainage pipe must connect to the soil stack or external foul drain. Take note of where these are located as if unable to conceal a pipe that connects to them, it may affect whether your intended kitchen design will work.
In most circumstances the drainage pipe can be concealed behind kitchen units but the exception to this is (again) if intending to fit your sink within an Island. If the vertical space permits a workable fall then you will be able to conceal the pipes within your floor. Ascertaining whether this is possible for an existing building can be difficult so you may want to consult a builder. However, if you are planning your kitchen within an extension then your architect will be able to help you with this.
How to plan your kitchen heating
If planning for your kitchen to work in conjunction with an existing heating system the first major point to establish is if your boiler is already situated within your kitchen. Unfortunately, it is not as straightforward to relocate a boiler as many homeowners think (or hope) it will be. If it is a gas boiler it will have a flue, and this frequently means moving the boiler is expensive or sometimes just not possible at all. You will also have to consider the pipework for your heating and hot water system as whilst you may wish to conceal these, the valves should remain accessible in case any problems should ever arise.
If planning a new heating system then you must consider what type will be best suited for you and your kitchen. If you plan to use radiators then how will they work in congruence with your intended kitchen plan? Especially given they can take up a lot of space. Perhaps a ladder-style radiator that uses up less horizontal wall space may be a better option for you, or else you can find a way to conceal the radiator within the kitchen design.
Underfloor kitchen heating
Another popular heating solution is under-floor heating. This should not impede your kitchen plans at all, except that it is best not to locate it under the intended site of your cooling appliances as the heat exchangers would have to work much harder, reducing efficiency. If you are planning for other services beneath the floor, such as the plumbing for an island then all of the plumbing should be designed as a single exercise, so as not to encumber one another.
LWK’s word of advice for kitchen plumbing
In summary our recommendation is to be mindful of kitchen plumbing requirements when first thinking about your new kitchen and establish the feasibility of your design ideas early in the planning process. Naturally your experienced kitchen designer can add real value and assistance to you on this task, and much is possible with sufficient forethought. Forward planning can help avoid substantial increases in cost that inevitably occur when the design has not been produced with consideration of kitchen plumbing requirements, particularly so if you intend to place a sink or other water-supplied appliances within a kitchen island.