I don't think my plumbing is vented at all...

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  #1  
Old 08-13-09, 03:24 PM
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I don't think my plumbing is vented at all...

My wife and I bought out current home 6 years ago. Outside of the occasional clog, we've never had a plumbing issue.

This past weekend, the toilet was draining slower than normal, and we noticed loud gurgling noise coming from the bathtub drain while it was flushing. I checked for clogs and found nothing. At the recommendation of home center employee, I tried scrubbing out the toilet with an acidic cleaner to make sure the water was entering the bowl properly. That helped but it was still a little slow and the noise was still there.

In examining the plumbing system, I think the main factor is that the system isn't vented at all. There's only one pipe sticking out of my roof, and it runs to the electric meter. Not sure why this happened all of the sudden after 6 years - maybe it's also time to have the septic tank pumped?

Our system is pretty simple. The picture pretty much shows you everything:



#1 goes directly to the toilet, though there are two 45 degree elbows between the toilet and the top of that pipe. #2 goes out the wall to the septic tank. #3 is the drain for the washing machine. The kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and tub all drain into #4. None of those pipes connect to anything else except the drains I listed, so if this thing is vented, I have no idea how.

I have many questions about what the person that did this was thinking and how this escaped the home inspector 6 years ago and what else might be going on in this house, but the most important is this: What is the best way to vent this system adequately and properly?

I've read about AAVs, but it sounds like those are only for individual drains, not entire systems, so unless there is some other way to do it, it sounds like I'll need to add a vent pipe to the system.

I am handy enough to put a vent pipe together and route it through the house, but I am unsure of where to attach it and how big (diameter) it should be.

I was thinking the easiest thing would be to put a wye joint in place of the black coupler (or whatever that is) on the main pipe, run 4" pipe a few feet to the right in the picture before going straight up through my bathroom closet, into my attic crawlspace, and out the roof.

Problem is, the toilet would still be the "highest" thing on the system, and I'm not sure if that will affect how it drains...
 
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  #2  
Old 08-13-09, 03:50 PM
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If it used to work, it has to have a vent. But the vent could be clogged with leaves, dead critter, and other things. Your pipe labeled #1 goes to the toilet and also up thru the roof, that is the main vent. There will also be vents on the smaller fixtures that are buried in the walls that connect to #1 somewhere up line. When things gurgle, they are finding a vent thru other places. A hose or snake in the roof vent will usually clear things up, but DO NOT USE acid type cleaners!!!! If they don't work someone has to deal with that stuff.

Not really happy with the hacked up joist, but that is not your problem.
 
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Old 08-14-09, 03:11 PM
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Thanks for the reply Bill, but there is no way #1 is the vent. That pipe goes directly to the toilet, and nothing branches off of it. I've had the bowl off to snake the line once before and there's nothing else there.

And as I mentioned, there is only 1 pipe sticking out of my roof, and it's conduit for the power lines off the street and into my meter, so that's not the vent either.

PS, I was not happy about that joist (or several other things in the basement) either. If I ever buy another house, I'm not going to just assume the home inspector knows what he's doing. Grr...
 
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Old 08-14-09, 04:06 PM
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Plumbing will not work without a vent. Normal is a continuation of the pipe up past the toilet and thru the roof. It could be a studor vent(air admittance valve) in the attic, but something has to let air in the pipes, or nothing moves.

The vent has to be at the top end of #1. If it does not go thru the roof, there has to be a valve in the attic. If that were sticking, it would slow everything down.
 
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Old 08-15-09, 01:23 PM
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No Vent

The way you describe your situation I have to agree that you don't have a main vent; you may have secondary vents off the #3+#4 lines?, you can check your attic and see if there are any lines in there that are open or have a AAV on them.

What I would do with your main line is to put in a 4x3inch wye where the rubber coupling is and run 3in. pvc thru the roof; any other lines in the attic should be tied into that, you will end up with only one hole to cut.

That 4x2in. cross you have on your main stack should be replaced with a 4x2 combine fitting, that cross is a no-no with your hook-up.
 
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Old 08-16-09, 06:44 AM
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Bill, the #1 pipe goes to the toilet only. When I look up at it, I can the the bottom of the plate the toilet connects to. There's nothing else there.

No vents anywhere shacko, I've traced and re-traced all of the pipes in my basement (including a couple of more times since my first post just to make sure), and all I've got are drain lines. I'm guessing each drain is currently "vented" by the other drains...

A 4x3 wye in place of the coupling was the route I was thinking about. The toilet drain would be above the vent pipe in that instance though - would that affect how it drains? In every diagram I've looked at so far, the vent pipe is above everything else.

They shouldn't make the 4x2 crosses if they're no-no's! I'm sure whomever put this in didn't know/care. That said, if I'm going to tear this apart to vent it, I might as well take a crack at fixing that too. Do you happen to have a link to a picture of the fitting you're talking about? I googled it and all I kept finding was info on 4x2 pickup tracks. LOL
 
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Old 08-16-09, 01:06 PM
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Vent Prob.

You always want your vent after the fixture, so putting the 4x3 wye at that point is fine.

There are a lot of fittings that can only be used in certain applications, using that double tee in your situation will cause the drainage to go across into the other line. Most codes require the drainage to change direction before they mix.

I don't know how to add links to a post so I can't show a picture of a double combine; it's similar to the double T you have but with more curve on the inlets at the sides. Like I said you can use a double wye (probably easier to find) and add two street 45's and it will come out the same. If you want to google some more look for dbl. pvc TYS' or dbl. Wyes.

Keep in mind if you have no vents on your other fixtures there could be more probs. in the future, luck.
 
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Old 08-16-09, 02:32 PM
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(Image courtesy of grainger.com)
 
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Old 08-18-09, 08:49 AM
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Thanks!

A follow up on the location of the vent - every diagram I've seen has been similar to these, and the vent extends above where the toilet (and everything else) enters the system. It looks like could replicate that fairly easily by taking out the two 45 elbows at the top of #1 and coming straight down 2 feet or so, then going into the angled side of a wye. The I could build the vent pipe off of the vertical part of the wye.

It would be a little more work to do it that way, but if I'm going to tear it apart, I might as well do it right (or at least as close as I can get).

Properly venting both sinks and the tub is going to be next to impossible unless I want to tear a bunch of walls apart. Hopefully adding the missing main vent will alleviate the issue enough.



 
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Old 08-22-09, 08:10 AM
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It turns out that at least part of the problem WAS a full septic tank. I had it pumped out on Thursday, and now the toilet flushes fine, and there's no gurgling from any of the other drains.

I will still be adding a vent pipe at some point, but it's nice that I don't HAVE to do it immediately, especially since I just found out my care needs to have the timing belt replaced.
 
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