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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. 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.
I am trying to find out if the soil stack can be curved above ground because there is a wall that I need to move. Because the above building vent pipe is venting sewer line gases and moisture, not liquids or solids, flow restrictions seem less likely a concern.
You might however want to look at the total above-ground run length vis-a-vis the vent pipe diameter because in a freezing climate a very long above-ground (above roof) length might increase the risk of freezing condensate and thus vent blockage in winter weather. Actually the part of the pipe that I wanted to curve would be down in the basement below the water closet (toilet, sink, and shower)There is only 1 restroom in this house.
The basement is not a full basement, but about a quarter of it is still crawl space which has been framed, and drywall installed (its used for storage).
My plan was to cut the soil stack about three or four feet above the concrete floor and then do a 45 degree turn until the pipe enters the drywall portion of the partitioned wall and then have it go straight up to the roof. Jim: yes vent piping can be shared, but all fixtures need to meet the distance requirements.
Indeed there could be a venting problem that leads to slow drainage but usually if that is the case for a given bathroom, in that bath, since usually all fixtures share a common vent, you'd expect to hear a glub glub sound when the drain is flowing, and flushing the toilet might produce noises at the sink drain. A more obscure vent problem that might leave the other fixtures draining OK could be found in a large bathroom at which the sink drain included its own vent pipe loop that eventually finds the main vent stack - and an odd coincidence of an insect or rodent blockage in just that vent - but frankly that's pretty unusual. In sum I think you may want to pull the sink trap and try snaking with a rotary drain cleaner for a distance that leaves you sure that you've reached the main drain into which the other bathroom fixtures flow. A snake does not always completely clear a clog, blockage depending on how long it has taken to build up the blog, blockage can mean a difference in how you approach. If you have it draining slow this means that you have only cleared a path through the clog, blockage and that the issue is still there and will eventually blog up again. Your best approach at this point, now that it will drain is to use a power flusher (you may be able to rent one)the hose is sized for the drainage pipe your working with, this works by spraying high pressure water usually min 1500 psi through the hose which has a variety of different heads attached to end. Make sure the hose is a good 3 feet in the pipe and u have a firm grip on it where it enters the clean out turn it on and run it slowly down back and start over till it is good and clear. I am trying to move a toilet 8 feet across a room, meaning that my venting pipe will be farther away than 5 feet. Steve, if the toilet waste line is 4" or more ID, one of the sketches above, as I read it, says you can go up to 10 feet away from the soil stack. Can I have 3 toilets on 3 different floors connected to the same vertical 3 inch soil pipe without separate vent pipes also added? Larry, yes; you will need to review DWV layout schematics in the model codes or training manual. When I have a heavy rain I have a puddle in the basement next to the bathroom drain pipes. Ray, I have seen a few cases in which leaky vent stack flashing at the roof allowed water to run down the outside of a vertical plumbing vent stack pipe that in turn was enclosed in a chase-way that ran from roof to basement - water might indeed then show up in the basement. Look for leaks into your sewer piping or backups that occur in flooding or very wet conditions.
Try inspecting your basement several times, with great care and a good flashlight during heavy rains. At BASEMENT LEAKS, INSPECT FOR we provide a series of inspection points useful for sure diagnosis of the cause of wet basement floors.
Question: how much clearance between plumbing vent discharge opening and top of brick chimney?

How much height clearance do I need between my plumbing vent discharge opening and the top of my brick chimney? By the way, the illustrations in most of the plumbing vent article were contributed by Carson Dunlop Associates, a Toronto, Canada engineering and home inspection firm. How much height clearance do I need between my plumbing vent discharge opening and the top of my brick chimney? Two feet or 24" is a code interpretation for distance between plumbing vent stack rooftop termination and the top of a chimney that is less than 3 ft.
The remodeling crew moved the vent pipe which terminated on the roof to terminate on the dorm side. A comode was connected to vertical soil pipe through a pipe of 4 in diameter and about 8 ft length. Becky don't close off a vacuum vent or your drains won't work properly; but if there are smells you need to find and fix the problem - a vacuum breaker vent that doesn't work and needs replacement, or a home-made and unsanitary substitute - send us some sharp photos and we can comment further. In the basement I have 2 wash machines & 1 laundry tub connected to a drain that is vented. Anon the question is a little unclear to me, but it's not uncommon for a plumber who is adding a retofit plumbing vent where one was missing to run the vent outside the building and up under the eaves (away from windows).
I'm moving a sink and it is within 5 feet of a vent stack but I cannot connect directly across to it. From the sink I would like to drop down into the crawl, then combo the vent line off horizontally (sloped up) to the stack, whilst the drain drops a little more and then slopes to join the main 3" line. Would this work or do I also need a loop vent from where the waste 90's down to go up passed the flood level then loop down to the horizontal vent line? Fair question, Morgan; I hadn't considered if a wall-mounted or backflush toilet would have any reason to have different distances to the plumbing vent than a floor mounted toilet. Before replacing the toilet, consider that that step may not fix the problem - especially since you report that the same model toilet works fine elsewhere in the home. That suggests there is a problem with the vent system design or condition (lacking adequate venting) OR a clog you haven't found, OR a toilet with a hidden obstruction, OR (commonly) the toilet fill valve and fill level are not working properly.
I am having to relocate the basement bathroom to the other side of the basement from the main soil stack.
Is it acceptable to have 2 90A° sweep joints near the bottom of my main stack before it goes into the basement floor? No one I've spoken to--carpenters, plumbers, contractors--has seen the horizontal venting our plumbers installed for our new bathroom. I am having with the toilet in 1 of 2 bathrooms, that will not flush completley just a slow drain. Richard, a blocked plumbing vent can certainly cause toilet flushing problems, but so can a partial drain blockage and even a toilet tank or bowl that are not filled to the proper level. If when flushing the toilet you see or hear glubbing at a sink drain the problem could also be a missing or blocked plumbing vent. I am having a double storey extension and a garage on the side of that built, i am moving 2x soil stacks into the garage (which has a pitched roof away to the side).
Ryan, you can vent out through the garage roof but must meet the clearances from upper floor walls, windows, etc.
Just be sure the cap is properly sealed lest later your remodel doesn't suffer a sewer gas leak. Ron, I don't have a totally clear picture, but probably we can say yes, so Lon as the vent is just a dry vent. In a commercial building I want to add floor drains in the middle of the floor for cleaning.
Our single story house has a hip roof and the 3 in cast iron bathroom stack vent pipe runs from the drain pipe under the floor up through a chaseway up through the attic.
Jud, it seems plausible from your note that there is condensate on the vent pipe that drips into the chaseway, but I would not rule out the chance that condensate from inside the vent could also leak out if that piping were imperfectly installed. Condensate on the vent exterior: if warm moist building air enters a chaseway where a vent pipe is chilly its outer surface will collect condensation. Rooftop leaks into the vent chase can occur if the vent flashing is not correctly installed.
I think to get to the bottom of this we need a clear look through the chaseway following the vent piping until we see where moisture or condensate is forming or leaking out. We had a new roof installed and they never extended the vent pipes through it, is this a health issue?
Please just click on any image found at our website to see an enlarged, detailed version that is quite legible.
We apologize that on some of our small on-page images the text is tiny - that decision was made to make pages load quickly. Watch out: ultimately, as you are dumping moisture into a roof cavity, and worse, potentially dangerous (like blow up the house?) as you may also be venting explosive methane-containing sewer gas into the building. I'm looking at buying a house and while inspecting noticed what appears to be the vent of the fixtures of a bathroom installed in the exterior wall. Frankie the local plumbing inspector can indeed approve a plumbing vent terminating through a building wall provided that clearance distances from windows or other air intake points are met.
Question: Can an experienced plumber direct sewer gas that builds up from a dry drain into a living space?
I am curious whether one who is an experienced plumber can manually direct sewer gases through plumbing vents. Simultaneously to the gurgling in the shower, around the time it started, two new tenants moved in next door, one of whom worked for a plumbing and heating company, the same company I filed a police report about approximately 2 months before the new tenants moved in. Cynthia if the plumbing traps are dry, sewer gases are likely to rise up the drain line and escape through the dry-trapped fixture into the building by natural convection; the wicked plumber doesn't have to do a thing to make that happen.
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. 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. 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. Certainly I've seen plenty of soil stacks (vent piping) that were not straight runs in above-ground (or above building) routing. In buildings I've examined I've not seen blockage in larger diameter vents at or above 2" but I've certainly seen it in smaller pipes.
This means that the part that is curved would be under load from all the water draining from the sink, toilet, and shower. Do you know if that might cause a problem with the pipe being under load from the drainage of the water closet?

Often a slow or partly blocked main drain line (or blocked septic system if you're not on sewer) can show up as bubbling and gurgling noises at fixtures lower in the building. Also sometimes a small diameter drain snake will pass right by a blockage but not make a sufficient opening to clear the drain. I once paid an absurd sum to Plass the Plumber to "run a wire through a clogged drain" - a step that the plumber completed, got paid-for, and left.
If I use the same soil stack, sloping the drain pipe 2 inches down over the 8 feet, do I need to add another vent stack pipe closer to the toilet to allow for air to escape, or can I allow the toilet to vent off of the existing vent stack? I have found that water can leak into a basement at a wall - say near a corner downspout that is not routed away or from roof gutters spilling over - then run across the basement floor to a low spot where water forms a puddle, leaving very little water along the path between the actual leak point and the puddle. I've reviewed and edited our section above on plumbing vent clearances to give code citations and details. I have spent a few hours reading through building codes today to make sure that I can get away with it as well, but to no avail. I've reviewed and edited our section above on plumbing vent clearances to give code citations and details. As I have been unpacking and cleaning I have noticed a whiff of sewer smell every so often. The vacuum breaker allows air INTO the plumbing drain as water goes down the drain (preserving the water in the trap against siphonage and sewer gas smells) but it is designed not to let water out. The vent was outlet pipe is located on the outside wall at approx 8 feet with a 90 degree elbow facing down. There are some plumbing designs (wet venting) that allow a vertical DWV pipe to function as both drain and vent, but I suspect yours is too small in diameter; and I don't like running drains outside and down the wall especially in a freezing climate. If a toilet line is the only item on a 3" waste pipe and is over 6 feet in length so it needs a vent it, can you put in a horizontal vent line for about 5 ft before it goes vertical to a horizontal vent line that runs to a stack about 3 ft away? Be sure the water volume is up to the fill line marked in the toilet tank and that the flush valve operates properly. I removed toilet and snake for blockage, when I installed toilet it it worked fine twice then back to the same thing.
The 3" drain coming from the first floor runs horizontally along the floor joists for a distance of about 15 feet before turning back vertically to go through the basement floor.
Last year, we noticed damage to the chase drywall outer layer extending from the floor up about 2 feet. No sign of leakage in the attic but when looking up from the crawl-space you can see the subfloor wood around the pipe is wet and actually sheds occasional drops of water when the fixtures aren't in use.
If the vent piping is not water tight, when the frost or ice melts it may leak back out into the building. Approximately 6 months ago our drain in the bathroom shower started to gurgle every time we flushed the toilet. I did so because a former large corporation ex-employer were in a legal battle at this time. Later, I looked at the company's website and became aware that not only does the company deal with plumbing and heating, but also sophisticated security systems, where it boasts of being able to make use of fiber optics in cable to remotely make a phone work - even in a storm. That is because they are up all night, and it is ONLY at night in the wee hours of the morning that the fumes engulf the apartment.
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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. I was trying to avoid tearing up the concrete floor to install new drainage pipe and also because of how close the soil stack is to the cement wall in the basement.
I planned to change everything above the cut that I make into the cast iron pipe with ABS. When I removed a short horizontal drain section in the wall between the sink and the main drain line, it was apparent that that section of piping was nearly 100% blocked by rust and iron deposits. If I need to tap another vent stack into the line, any recommendations on how that needs to work? If much time passes between the occurrence of the leak and the inspection, we may see only the puddle, and not the water track that leads back to its true source. I don't find chimneys explicitly named in plumbing vent sections of the model codes, but the distance to the "Nearest window, door, opening, air intake, or ventilation shaft" distance to plumbing vent needs to be 10 ft. Right now, the stack is closer to one side of the run in the attic rather than in the middle. A sink was connected to the 4 in horizontal soil pipe after the vent pipe near to the vertical soil pipe. Should that vent be put in ahead or behind the toilet location, ie, should the toilet be at the end of the waste line? Once that's ok, I'd check into the vent system since that's what is suggested as the most likely problem from your own notes.
The house had been vacant for some time so I don't really know what exactly to attribute that kind of clogging to (there was 4' of stack filled solid with waste down to the floor joint). It already doesn't follow the specifications you listed above--less than 2 feet from a chimney & not above the window (about 5 feet away). The visible damage was paint bubbling and pulling away from the wall in small pieces and a rustlike colleration of the exposed drywall surface. We suspect condensation on the pipe in the chaseway that is dripping on to the surrounding floor wood, which is moist and punky. The pipe that was used for the soil stack is cast iron, but I want to change this to the black ABS.
Also if its ok I would like to connect another washer and laundry tub on the second floor to this drain line and vent. That goes to the sink right beside the toilet, and then continues up to the roof for venting.
The joints were necessary to get from inside the wall chase into the basement, where the wall extended several more inches to the inside of the home than the above floors did.
First is this to code and second is there a PVC booster fan that can be installed to help lift the air in the dry stack? But if I fill the sink open the plunger or even take it out, it take an extremely amount of time to drain Could it be the dry vent if so, How Do I Clean it Thank you for you time. But whether it was not clear whether this 2 in waste pipe connected before the vent pipe or after.
I never have any problems with the sink, nor are the toilet flushes pulling air from the sink. I was under the impression that the plumbing code mandated that vents need to discharge at roof level. My only 2 choices are 1) move the stack about 6 feet closer to the short side & then higher on the roof next to an attic fan or 2) about 20ft closer to the end of the run. I can also extend a pipe up to the ceiling and cross over in the attic and connect to another exsiting vent, if I did that there would be drain lines fromm the downstairs 2 washers, 1 laundry tub and upstairs washer drain and one tub having 2 vents one vertical between floors and one in the roof plus.
Is my problem possibly related to the fact that the vent is ring in that T where the base flange from the toilet goes into? I noticed on the one that is fine, that at the end of the flush, there is a glup or two of air at the end.

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