Household plumbing has evolved tremendously over the years. If you have an older house, your plumbing system may well still be made up of a combination of lead, plastic and cast iron pipes. It is also possible that, when your home was built, plumbing code did not require for a vent system to be installed. What is a vent system, and why do you need one? In this post, we will take a look at the various systems involved in your home’s plumbing.
Drain Waste Vents: Why Your Home Needs It
Drain, waste and vent systems enhance your plumbing system’s draining ability, thus, if your drains take too long to empty, or if there are sewer odors present, you may well have a problem with your drain waste venting system. Over time, homes settle lower, causing the drainage slopes in the home to be disturbed. It can cause slow drainage. No vents, or incorrectly sized vents can also cause drainage to be affected, and toxic gases to build up.
If you have an old home, it is important to have your drain, waste and vent system inspected to ensure proper safety and operation. Older homes with plumbing systems that do not meet current codes, do pose a threat of potential potable water contamination.
How Drain Waste Vents Work
While a plumbing system may look complex, they all function in a similar way. Drainpipes remove water from the house to the municipal gray water system, while waste pipes carry sewage from toilets into the municipal sewage system. Vent pipes supply air to the plumbing system in order to ensure that the system functions as it should.
Every house has at least one vertical pipe that runs upwards from the main sewer line to out above the roof. Horizontal pipes run from the appliances, tubs, faucets and toilets to the main stack. The horizontal pipes must be sloped in order to avoid water settling inside. The venting system allows the system to flow smoothly, and will help prevent water from gurgling.
P-traps and sanitary tees also form part of the venting system.
P-traps or sideways P fittings are curved in such a way that it prevents noxious gases from escaping into the house. Water collects in the curved part of the P, and prevents the gases from leaking in through the drain hole. Toilets have a built-in trap.
Sanitary tees work by directing the “traffic” in the drain, waste, vent system to ensure that waste goes down towards the sewer, and gases exit from the vent stack. This t-fitting connects a main run with a horizontal pipe stacked at 90 degrees to create a branch. Unlike a standard tee, a sanitary tee branch run is curved towards the main pipe. Main runs must always be vertical, and the branch must curve towards the drain. Sanitary tees may be used as vent tees, but the branch would then sweep upward.
If you know that your home’s plumbing is older than 20 years, or if you’re suspecting that you don’t have a venting system installed, get hold of Anta Plumbing for an assessment.