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5 Common Questions on Vent Systems

Some homeowners are not really aware of the vent system on their home plumbing. With this, it is safe to say that they don’t even know what the vent systems is for. Will this pose a problem for them in the future? The safe answer is most probably so! The problem can even become more complicated if you have a basement bathroom because of the possibility of changing ceiling heights to accommodate the pipes. Let us take a look at some of the common questions when it comes to the home vent system.

1. What is a Vent?

When you think of a plumbing vent, think of air that comes into your plumbing system. Why is air in your plumbing system important? Simply put, if there is no vent the slug of sewage that goes through your waste line everyday will generate pressure and vacuum in your pipes. The result is a gurgling and noisy drain. The plumbing vent is also a safety mechanism designed for your home plumbing. Why?

The vacuum created will remove the water from the traps. This means facing the risk of sewer gases entering your home. For basement bathrooms the vent system can be tied to the line used for laundry sinks. When installing plumbing vents you have to make sure that it complies with the existing codes in your locality. If you are unsure what it is you can consult a licensed professional or get one to work on your plumbing vent system.

2. Can Vent Pipes be Horizontal?

There is no problem with running your vent pipes horizontally as long as you remember that there should be a minimum clearance of 6 inches above the spill line. What is a spill line? This is the level where the water starts to overflow from the rim of the sink, toilet, or tub. Keep this clearance in mind and you should have no problem with horizontally installed vent pipes.

3. What should be the Distance of the Vent and the Trap?

Before anything else, you should keep in mind that every drain needs to have a trap installed and every trap will need a vent associated with it. So now you see how these plumbing elements are interrelated. As for the maximum distance between your trap and your vents, that would depend on the actual diameter of the plumbing pipe.

If you have 1 ¼-inch pipe, the horizontal distance of the vent should not be more than 30 inches. For a 1 ½-inc pipe the vent should be 42 inches away at the most while a 2-inch pipe must have a maximum distance of 5 feet. For pipes that have a diameter of 3 inches the distance is 6 feet and for a 4-inch pipe the most it should be away from the vent is 10 feet.

Keep in mind that toilets have their own traps so there is no need to have one on the drain line, but it still must have a vent.

4. What Type of Fitting Should be used?

The rules are perfectly simple and easy to remember. If you want to connect a horizontal pipe to a vertical one, you will need a T-fitting for the drain line. This type of fitting can also be used to connect vent lines to horizontal drains or connect vent lines.

The L-fitting on the other can be placed practically anywhere on the vent system and can only be used for the vent system. Do not use this type of fitting for the waste flow.

5. What Size of Pipes to Use?

When talking about toilets, the minimum pipe size is 3 inches, for all others, 2 inches would be just right. Make sure never to use pipes 2 inches or smaller if they will be buried underneath concrete slabs. The typical size of a vent pipe for the bathroom would be 2 inches as well. Smaller sized pipes can be used for showers and sinks, but it would be better to use the same size for the entire vent.

If you want to make sure that you do not encounter problems with your home plumbing system because of vent problems, contact licensed professional plumbers who can do home inspections regularly.

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