Handyman Wire

Who's Online
5 registered (CabinConnection, Suenmark98, bilvihur, 2 invisible), 231 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Welcome Newcomers
Unregistered users may only post in the handyman forum. If you register, you may post in any forum and use of CAPTCHA code is not required.
Advertisement
Topic Options
#906087 - 02/16/17 06:04 AM Vent stack ends in an elbow?
sbarns Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 3
Hi there,

We've had a lot of issues with septic smells filling the basement/upper living room area of the house. I really notice it after doing laundry or when it's windy outside.

Two questions: 1. does the size of the vent stack pipe that leads to the roof really matter? I've been told that the pipe is not to code - 2 inch pipe instead of 3. Would that diameter pipe really make a HUGE difference?

2. The vent stack that leads to the roof ends in a 90 degree elbow which faces directly into the wind. We live out in the country so we don't have much to block the wind from hitting the roof. I'm sure that elbow catches any kind of wind and pushes whatever gas is in the pipe back down. How far from the roof line should the stack extend and is it ok for me to get up on the roof and cut the elbow off?

Thanks folks


Edited by sbarns (02/16/17 06:17 AM)

Top
#906108 - 02/16/17 10:21 AM Re: Vent stack ends in an elbow? [Re: sbarns]
Punky Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 5904
Loc: East Aurora, NY
1- yes, the pipe size matters. But code states that the vent pipe can be 1/2 the size of the waste line it serves. 2" is fine but it should be 3" just before it exits the roof to prevent freeze-over problems.

2- Cut the elbow off. There's no reason to have it there. The vent needs to be 1 foot above the highest snow line but generally no more than 2 feet high.
_________________________
Opinions should be verified with your local town Board/Inspector/Review Panels

Top
#906110 - 02/16/17 10:23 AM Re: Vent stack ends in an elbow? [Re: sbarns]
CabinConnection Online   content
Bigfoot
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 49292
Loc: The Indianhead's Left Nostril....
Welcome to HW! smile

I see from your ISP that you are from Canada. Please confirm.

Also, your local codes trump your national codes, although they are usually the same.

Wait for a plumber to show up to confirm but...

* While I believe the MAIN vent stack diameter is determined by expected load (fixtures such as toilets, sinks, washing machine etc.), I believe your code says yours must be at least 3" in diameter to prevent frost from closing it off.

* I'm not sure on how high your main stack must protrude above the roof. I believe the slope of the roof impacts this in your area.

* I've never heard of a 90 being put on the end of the stack. This is so counter to physics laws as to make me just shake my head. The stack should be cut off level, straight up to the sky. (Assuming the drain system is sloped properly inside your house, any rain water will simply flow out the main drain.)

* It is common for secondary vents of smaller diameter to exist, put in place for "remote" plumbing requirements. For example, a kitchen may be so far away from the rest of the home's plumbing, that it makes sense to add a smaller vent which just services the kitchen.

* Does this problem only happen in winter?

* Is this new construction? If not, how old is the house?

* Are you in a development where there are other houses built at the same time by the same builder? If so do other houses have similar vents (ones with 90's)?

Edited add - I see Punky posted while I was composing mine. Sorry for any overlap. smile

Top
#906203 - 02/17/17 12:34 AM Re: Vent stack ends in an elbow? [Re: sbarns]
sbarns Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 3
Hey there.
Yes, from Ontario, Canada. We have an older farm house that was renovated by the previous owners. They tried to do most of the work themselves and divorced half way through the build and I'm pretty sure nothing was done to code and was slapped together at the last minute. Unfortunately, we were not told any of this during our home inspection. Neither here nor there. We love the house and so we are making the required adjustments.

We have had many plumbers come in and all of them start by saying "wow, what a mess" in terms of the plumbing. We have a great plumber now is fixing one issue at a time.

I would really like to get a septic inspector in to make sure the sewage ejector is running properly and is sealed properly. I had one plumber come in and tell me to caulk all the seals around the pipes and sewage ejector lid as he thought that gas could be leaking from poorly connected pipes and also from the seal on the ejector lid. It seemed to work a bit but there is still a very distinct "poopy" smell most of the time which seems to seep from the basement to the main floor.

The smell happens year round. Just seems to be worse in the winter due to the wind.

I will cut the elbow off the stack on the roof and see how much that helps. Then move on to the next possible cause. Seems to be a trial and error kind of thing. Hopefully we are getting closer to the answer.

Thanks for your help, folks :-)

Top
#906207 - 02/17/17 04:20 AM Re: Vent stack ends in an elbow? [Re: sbarns]
CabinConnection Online   content
Bigfoot
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 49292
Loc: The Indianhead's Left Nostril....
I mentioned a properly sloped vent and drain system...

Do you have access to the entire length of your main vent piping? If so you should confirm it slopes back toward drain the entire length, with no low spots that can collect water/debris.

Top
#906209 - 02/17/17 04:35 AM Re: Vent stack ends in an elbow? [Re: sbarns]
sbarns Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/16/17
Posts: 3
Hmm. Good question. Once the pipe does into the ceiling in the basement, it's hidden behind a wall until I see it poking out in the attic and then to the roof. It seems to go in a straight line from top to bottom but I cannot be sure what happens inside the wall on the main floor.

Top
#906210 - 02/17/17 05:28 AM Re: Vent stack ends in an elbow? [Re: sbarns]
CabinConnection Online   content
Bigfoot
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 49292
Loc: The Indianhead's Left Nostril....
The only reason I bring this up is because of the "home built" aspect of your place. Often people just don't know...

Any area that has a horizontal run would be suspect, and should be double checked.

Another area to confirm is proper venting of your septic system. Can you describe what you have now?

Top
#906222 - 02/17/17 10:56 AM Re: Vent stack ends in an elbow? [Re: sbarns]
Punky Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 5904
Loc: East Aurora, NY
the ejection pit lid is a common cause of smells. Before completely sealing every hole, seam, crack and bolt open it and make sure that all penetrations into the pit are also done correctly. If they arent, sewage and gas can back up into the floor stone.
_________________________
Opinions should be verified with your local town Board/Inspector/Review Panels

Top
#906227 - 02/17/17 11:29 AM Re: Vent stack ends in an elbow? [Re: sbarns]
BillJeffy Offline
Don't Know Squat
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/02/06
Posts: 13141
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By sbarns

I really notice it after doing laundry or when it's windy outside.



...caulk all the seals around the pipes and sewage ejector lid



AHA, first mention about an ejector !

Are there drains to the ejector running underground ?
That could be a suspect area if there are any leaks from the
lines/tank under the slab (if there is a slab)

2nd, "After the laundry runs..."

When the washer discharges, presumably into the ejector tank,
there is a LARGE flow of water through the system.
This flow, depending of how it's routed, can SUCK traps on the line
to empty them.......then you've got an open trap to emit smells
until you use/fill that particular trap again.

The 'windy day' aspect would certainly add to any flow through
an empty trap. While I agree that the elbow on the stack, facing the wind,
could put additional pressure on the system, there would never
be enough pressure to blow the water out of a trap.
But yes, lose the elbow.

Trace everything from ejector pump to end-of-line,
and make yourself a sketch you might be able to post here.
_________________________
.
.
Just Common Sense......
.
.
err....I'm not a Doctor, but I'll take a LOOK ! !

Top



Experts | Email Us | Disclaimer | HandymanWire home
Articles | We welcome your feedback.| Privacy
http://www.handymanwire.com
Handyman Wire
your resource for advice on home improvement and repairs.
Copyright ©1999-2016, Handyman USA LLC.
All rights reserved.