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PLUMBING VENT DEFINITIONS, TYPES - CONTENTS: Definition of plumbing vent terms, types of plumbing vents. This article defines plumbing vent system terms, distances, and functions, and other specifications and code requirements. We define the soil stack, waste stack, wet vents and dry vents, and we summarize the distances permitted between plumbing fixtures and their vent piping. Our page top sketch of a plumbing stack vent and other sketches included below are provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.
Imagine a full soda bottle with its cap off, turned upside down: the soda does not flow nicely out of the bottle. Now perform the same experiment, but punch a hole in the bottom of your soda bottle just before you turn it upside down.
Here we show the main building vent pipe, the plumbing stack vent, connecting inside plumbing drains to a vent pipe that extends above the building roof in order to let needed air into the drains and to vent sewer gases harmlessly above the building. Below we explain how building plumbing vent systems work and why plumbing vents are needed for drain function and plumbing drain safety.
Where there is a snow-cover risk (snow can block the plumbing vent) the vent should extend 24" above the roof surface. The soil stack pipe, as shown in Carson Dunlop's sketch, carries waste from toilets to the house trap (if one is installed) and there connects to the sewer line extending outside the building and on to a public sewer or private septic system.
The soil stack pipe is normally extended outdoors above the building roof, as shown in the page top sketch.
Other main building drain piping sections that slope closer to horizontal are connected to the soil stack but move waste horizontally where needed in a building.
The waste stack pipe shown in the sketch refers to any other vertical drain piping in the building that does not carry soil (sewage) from a sanitary fixture (toilet). As we discuss at DRAIN NOISES, if the horizontal distance between a plumbing fixture and the vertical vent piping is too great, the fixture may not drain properly, producing slow drainage or gurgling noises.
Poor drainage is not just an annoyance, it can be unsafe since there is also the risk that the poorly-vented plumbing fixture will lose the water from its plumbing trap, then permitting sewer gases into the building. As we show in Carson Dunlop's sketch, the distance allowed between a plumbing fixture (actually the fixture plumbing trap) and the vertical vent piping varies between a minimum and maximum as a function of the pipe diameter.
Below our tables 1 and 2 summarize common plumbing code specifications for fixture venting and vent pipe sizes and distances that a plumbing fixture can be located (horizontally) from the vent stack. Special routing and connections are required for proper venting of plumbing fixtures such as kitchen island or peninsula sinks or dishwashers - plumbing fixtures that are located where a direct vertical vent stack connection is not possible.
Basically,larger piping diameter allows longer distances between a plumbing fixture and its vent stack. But if a plumbing fixture is close enough (five feet or less) to the main waste stack pipe (vent), the fixture does not usually require its own plumbing vent piping, and it is considered a direct-vented plumbing fixture. Of course this rule presumes that the drain piping between the fixture trap and the waste stack is properly installed and properly sloped. In many buildings we find that the toilet is located quite close (within 5 feet) of the main building waste stack. When you flush a toilet it sends a sudden large volume of waste and wastewater into the building drain waste vent (DWV) piping. It is exactly this condition that produces the gurgling or even siphonage out and loss of water in nearby sink or tub traps when you flush a toilet in a building where the vent piping is inadequate.
A toilet that is located too far from the soil stack can be wet vented as shown in Carson Dunlop's sketch. But a wet vented fixture requires a larger drain pipe diameter in its wet portion as we show in the sketch.

Also note that wet vented fixtures (toilet, bathtub, shower, or floor drain) are permitted for bathrooms on the same floor level, not between floors. An AAV is basically a one-way valve that allows air to enter the drain to satisfy the vacuum caused by water passing down the drainage system, but that prevents sewer gases from backing up through the vent into the building. The table below gives required clearance distances to various building features and cites pertinent model plumbing codes. Nearest window, door, opening, air intake, or ventilation shaft: distance to plumbing vent.
We interpret this rule to apply to the required separation distances between a plumbing vent and nearest chimney on the building - Ed.
Vent pipes shall terminate not less than 6 inches above the roof, measured from the highest point where the vent intersects the roof. EXCEPTION: Where a roof is used for any purpose other than weather protection, vents shall extend at least 7 feet above the roof and shall be properly supported. Continue reading at PLUMBING VENT REPAIR or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore.
Sewage Levels in Septic Tanks - what are normal and abnormal sewage levels in septic tanks and what do they mean about tank condition, leaks, etc. The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. I just tried to remove my pitted bathtub drain flange with a tool Lowes told me would work, and now my drain flange broke off and the threads for the flange are broke off in the drain pipe. No doubt Lowes sold you a basket wrench that was purported to be able to do the job and in most instances it probably would, but no matter what type of basket wrench you choose the odds are very high that they won't work.
They make two or three varieties of basket wrenches that fit into the basket and are then expanded to gripe the basket wall, but here again, if the basket has been in place for a number of years the odds are that the threads are corroded and the expanding wrenches are little better than those that grip the cross. When all else fails I usually use a mini-hacksaw to carefully cut the flange being very careful not to cut the tub in the process, then cut the wall of the tub basket from the inside. Once I have the basket pried out I then remove the entire waste and overflow kit and replace it. The slip joint type waste & overflow will have the tubular sections represented by the Stock PVC, and they have a slip joint with a compression nut, the same as those used on the drain lines under your kitchen sink. The input of the P-trap would be directly under the PVC down pipe extending downward from the TEE.
I prefer to apply a light film of clear silicone sealant to both flat surfaces of the gaskets before installing them.
You should apply a small rope of Plumbers putty to the underside of the basket flange before installing it.
We explain how plumbing vents work on buildings, why plumbing vent piping is needed, and what happens to the building drains when the vent piping is not working.
Allow building drains to flow freely by allowing air into the drain system, avoiding the vacuum and slow drainage that would otherwise occur at fixtures.
As some soda spills out, the spillage has to nearly stop to let some air into the bottle to fill the vacuum created by the soda leaving. In these notes, the plumbing stack vents and other sketches included below are provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates. Note that there are other restrictions: for a roof that is also used as an occupied space, for example, the vent has to extend at least even feet above the surface and be secured with stays. That is, dry vent piping carrying only air, sewer gas, or moisture to above the roof line is unrestricted.

If a plumbing fixture is located too far from the main building vent stack, then its own drain pipe must have its own vent stack connection piping. This surge of wastewater can certainly create a vacuum problem in the waste line if the vent piping system is inadequate, blocked, or missing entirely. The drain piping for a sink (basin) or other fixture located closer to the soil stack than is the toilet can provide a pathway to let air into the horizontal waste piping used by the toilet to carry waste to the soil stack.
This diameter increase helps assure adequate air flow into the drain system in the event that the sink basin (in this example) happens to be draining at the same moment that the toilet is flushed. Where a conventional plumbing vent system is not available or not feasible the local plumbing inspector may permit an air admittance valve to be installed. No vent terminal shall be located directly beneath any door, window, or other ventilating opening of a building or of another building, nor shall any such vent terminal be within 10 feet horizontally of such opening unless it is at least 2 feet above the top of such opening. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones.
The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively.
Do I have to remove my tub to get to the drain pipe, or can I go to back wall, which has drywall to get to the plumbing.
They either grip the cross in the bottom of the tub basket or they have an expanding feature to grip the inside of the basket itself. A complete replacement kit can be purchased for under $20 so it is the most cost effective method of solving the problem. If there is no service access panel we are required to use a glue in type Waste & Overflow and P-trap. One person reach through the access and hold the tub shoe in place while the helper inserts the new tub basket down through the tub from above and screws it in place. As you tighten the basket down into place the excess plumbers putty will squeeze out and you can clean it off with a wet rag. Because sewer gases may flow back up into the building drain piping from a public sewer or private septic system, and because some sewer gases are included in building waste flowing through the piping, the plumbing vent system needs to carry these gases outside, usually above the building roof, where they are disposed-of safely and without leaving unpleasant, or possibly dangerous smells and gases inside the building. However the piping does need to be protected from nails - use nail plates to protect vent and drain piping both where where piping passes through studs, joists, or rafters.
Our sketch above shows a toilet located close to the waste stack - an installation that should work fine. Depending upon the age of the existing tub basket, what we commonly find is if it is an older basket (10yrs or more) quite often the cross has been severely weakened by corrosion which resulted from acids produced by hair, soap scum and moisture on the metal. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. This is totally unavoidable and in the trade we just assume going in that the cross may break before we get the basket out.
The actual lengths of the Stock PVC sections are custom fitted to your tub during installation.
Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home.
Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order.

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