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Thread: Automatic Vents in MA

  1. #1

    Default Automatic Vents in MA

    I am looking at a house in MA which was built in 1850 (obviously there have been significant upgrades since then). The downstairs bathroom and kitchen were updated within the last 5 years, but the plumbing was done incorrectly. There are no vents, automatic or otherwise. The homeowner had a plumber come and look at the situation and he suggested automatic vents. To the best of my knowledge these are not allowed, is that correct?
    I am being quite wary of any major problem because of my last home which I recently sold in VT. There were issues with code violations on work performed well before I bought the home and I was forced to repair them before I sold the home because of a new town by-law. I am trying to aviod this problem in the future with this home by carefully inspecting the major systems. I don't want any surprise expenses when I go to sell. I know nobody can assure me of no surprises, but certainly someone has an idea whether automatic vents are legal or even allowed in MA.

    Thank you in advance for the help.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    AAVs may be regulated by local codes, but they are otherwise legal if properly installed. There must be at least one vent to the outside. The AAV can not vent the entire house. Also, the AAV must not be concealed within a wall. Since they are a mechanical device, they can fail so they must remain accessible for replacement. I don't think there is a high failure rate on them so I wouldn't get overly concerned on that point. I think most pros will advise venting to the outside if at all possible, and I would second that unless there were construction issues that made outside venting very costly or difficult. I suggest you discuss local codes with you local authorities before installing. They do work quite well, so if allowed, you ahead.

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    MASS has its own plumbing code. Not sure, but I don't think they allow AAV/s.

    1850 is a new house by MASS standards. I grew up there in a small town, and we had a number of houses from the 1670's., and tons of housed from the 1700's. My best friend lived in a house, which had not been historically maintained. It had been heavily modified and added to over the years. But in the central core of the house, were orignal pine floor boards that had to be 24" wide. They stopped making trees that big a LONG time ago!

    And of course, I am sure you are aware that it is ILLEGAL for a homeowner to do any plumbing work....even on your own house! ( This is MASS only, and not the norm in most other places)


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