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Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC

[Plumbing] Couple Questions

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My wife and I bought a new house this past January (new baby, grandma moved in to be our live-in nanny and I couldn't stand that setup in a 1500sq ft. 3 bed house) so we bought a 4 bed/3 bath + finished basement (in-law suite) for a great price. The owners weren't living in it for over a year and I think that this problem probably relates to the systems not being used at all for that period of time.

The finished basement has an ejector pump - for the past few weeks my mother-in-law tells me that a small amount of bubbles have been coming out of the trap of her toilet whenever she flushes it, I watched and verified that that is true. Sounds to me like the ejector pump is still working just fine so I tried pouring a large volume of water through the toilet and plunging it in case there was a partial obstruction w/o any improvement. I'm wondering if the vent line may be be the problem. However, around the same time I noticed that when I flush the toilet in the master bath I can hear the sound of water in the tub drain. Now these systems are completely across the house from each other and there are separate vents on the roof for each side of the system so I can't imagine the vents are clogged bilaterally (though I guess it isn't impossible...). Water seems to drain just fine everywhere and there are no bad smells coming from anywhere (aside from the inside of the ejector pump closet which has a very faint smell of sewage - and I am not sure if that is considered normal or not).

What are you guys thoughts about this?

Secondly - in my attic I have this vent and it does not appear to be connected to the other two sewage vents - what is it for? It seems to run straight down into the wall space along the hallway below.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
For the upstairs, I assume you have poured water down the tub drain so its trap is sealed with water. If so, then its vent is likely plugged and the tub drain is acting like a vent. Time to kick the birds' nest out of the vent.

For the basement, where is the water appearing? At the very base of the toilet, against the floor? That could be as simple as the wax ring needs to be replaced.


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
yeah I realllllyyyyy don't want to climb onto a steep roof 3 stories off the group - will be calling the pros to do that. I'll run some water down the tub drain today.

The basement doesn't have water appearing - just bubbles come into the toilet from the trap whenever it is flushed.


tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:6
reply to Count Zero
A few bubbles on a flush isnt unheard of. Mebe a video of it, if its that much of a worry.

How does it relate to the sump pump? When the pump runs, does it make bubbles in the toilet? Edit- just re-read, its a sewage ejector, which services that toilet, yes?

The noise from the bath trap could be a disconnected vent pipe in the wall, do you have a trap door access behind the bath to inspect the pipes? A pic here would help too.

If everything works, and no smells, not sure i'd fix somethin that aint broke

Oh- that autovent in the attic is a kind of shortcut, but not illegal. You -do- have a large (3"+) stack vent goin thru the roof somewhere, yes?

-j
--
if it aint broke, tweak it!!
currently on FiOS (kick aZZ!)


Salty_Peaks

@173.255.181.x
reply to Count Zero
I hate this EXACT problem. In the picture, you have what's called an AAV or air admittance value -- as the name suggest, it's specifically designed to admit air into the plumbing system so that things flush. It does not release air, like a traditional atmospheric vent. I can describe the exact systems you are talking about due to positive air pressure differentials. My solution was I removed the offending AAVs and vented to atmosphere.

The problems I had manifested whenever there was a pressure differential between outside the home an the atmosphere and specifically during pumping operations -- the washing machine running is an active pump and generates positive pressure. You can end up positively pressurizing your line and toilets won't flush until the pressure starts venting sewage gas/pressure past your P and S trap -- toilets gulping or tubs burping or sucking.

I would recommend removing that AAV or making sure it isn't stuck and extending it using DWV line as an atmospheric vent.

Hope this helps.


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Count Zero
The valve is an Air Admittance Valve »www.homedepot.com/p/Oatey-Sure-V···00140686

I use one here on the basement laundry tub pump.


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
reply to tp0d
I'll get a video of the bubbles later - it's a pretty small amount but I want to make sure it isn't a bigger problem coming.

The pump running does not cause any bubbles or noises from the drains, they appear when the toilet is first flushed and the pump runs several seconds later (or if it just ran it may not have to run at all until the sink is used to wash hands...)

The jacuzzi bath sits in the corner and there is an exterior wall on two sides and a separate shower on the third side so no vent access I can see.

I have two 3" stack vents going atmospheric (one on either side of the house for the plumbing on each side of the house.


Salty_Peaks

@173.255.181.x
reply to Salty_Peaks
Sorry for typos, on a Netbook. "I hate this EXACT" should read "I have this EXACT". An AAV is great for negative pressures but they seal closed for positive pressure.

I bet if you unscrew your AAV, as I had to do before I vented to atmosphere, you'll here the sound of the positive air escaping akin to opening a 2 liter soda bottle and the entire plumbing system that you're having issues with will work fine until the next instance of positive pressure build-up.

As I understand it, even with AAVs, for the plumbing system to function correctly each "stack" MUST be vented to atmosphere otherwise you have issues you're describing (and the same issues I had).


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
I had briefly unscrewed it (not while pump running) and there were no noises.


tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:6
reply to Count Zero
If you have 2 vents to the outside, there is no possible way pressure is building in you r system

-very- uncommon to see any kind of static pressure in a drainage system, unless something is installed wrong

-j
--
if it aint broke, tweak it!!
currently on FiOS (kick aZZ!)


Salty_Peaks

@173.255.181.x
reply to Count Zero
said by Count Zero:

I had briefly unscrewed it (not while pump running) and there were no noises.

Sounds like it's not a positive pressure issue then, good test validation. Could be the AAV is stuck and it's a negative pressure issue -- you could try a quick test with the AAV unscrewed. I'm with tp0d though, you shouldn't have positive pressure issues as long as each stack is vented to atmosphere.

Other than that, not sure what the issue is (outside of my skillset) but did want to at least contribute my experiences and explain the fun with AAVs

I'll be watching this thread to learn more.

kherr
Premium
join:2000-09-04
Collinsville, IL
reply to Count Zero
You had a crappy home inspector that didn't catch this. I'd say that this is a by-product of unpermitted work. There's no excuse for not running the vent through the roof.


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
House is relatively new. If this was unpermitted I'd be extremely surprised. Home inspector was a pretty thorough guy, don't remember if he mention this when we were going over everything tho.

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to Count Zero
I have a AAV under my kitchen sink. Mine is just for the kitchen sink and dishwasher, since there isn't a good way to run a vent line from kitchen through the roof. Not crazy about it, but it works without any problems.


Salty_Peaks

@173.255.181.x
reply to Count Zero
said by Count Zero:

House is relatively new. If this was unpermitted I'd be extremely surprised. Home inspector was a pretty thorough guy, don't remember if he mention this when we were going over everything tho.

I'd leave the AAV unscrewed, have someone flush the toilet, and put your hand over it. See if you can feel suction, if you can, the AAV should do it's job. Verify that the AAV plunger inside moves freely. If you feel the air pushing out, the AAV won't work here, this is positive pressure and you need to extend that DWV to atmosphere. At a minimum it'll let you know how that AAV/stack is functioning with respect to the toilet/pump and if they're even connected.


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
reply to tp0d
downloadIMG_5932.MOV 24,129,840 bytes
Here is a video that shows the bubbles I am talking out - it's a small amount seen immediately after flushing the toilet.


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
reply to garys_2k
We used the bath last night and I've flushed the toilet several times since and not heard the sound coming from the bathtub drain since. Perhaps since we hadn't used the tub in a several weeks the trap had evaporated enough water to allow sounds to pass through? I'll keep my eyes out for it again...


jrs8084
Premium
join:2002-03-02
Statesville, NC
kudos:1
reply to Count Zero
I would hardly call those "bubbles" anything to worry about.


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
That was my initial thought when my M-I-L told me about them and then kept saying that "someone she knew had gotten bubbles once and it was a sign their sewer line was collapsing..."

Anyways - since the tub isn't making the noise when the toilet is flushed now and the bubbles aren't very impressive I will ignore this and tell the plumber never mind when he calls back tomorrow to schedule the visit.


tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:6
Looks like a normal flush to me.

GusHerb94

join:2011-11-04
Chicago, IL
kudos:1
reply to Count Zero
The toilet appears to be functioning perfectly fine. If you had bubbles or air coming up AFTER the flush that is a sign something is wrong, and that is often accompanied by a sluggish flush.


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
Gotcha. So since I posted this video the ejector pump has become "quieter" and runs longer than it used to. I really hate this overly complicated mechanical system.


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
reply to Count Zero
just to follow-up on this issue: about a week after I posted the last response my ejector pump up and failed completely. Had to replace it ($1100 total) - and now things are working perfectly normal again. The old one was almost 9yrs old so I guess that is a decent lifespan for one.


tp0d
yabbazooie
Premium
join:2001-02-13
Carnegie, PA
kudos:6
that sucks it quit on ya.. smelly fix..

9yrs for a submersible grinder with moderate usage is very good.. It gives you an idea of life tho, so i`d replace it in 7-8yrs next time if you got a comparable unit

-j
--
if it aint broke, tweak it!!
currently on FiOS (kick aZZ!)


Count Zero
Obama-Biden 2012
Premium
join:2007-01-18
Winston Salem, NC
It had not completely failed - but it started running for upwards of 5 minutes to clear the basin.... so we called that time enough.