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Thread: Final word on Air Admittance Valves

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member gregnoob's Avatar
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    Default Final word on Air Admittance Valves

    Hey everyone!

    I just finished moving my kitchen sink about 10 feet. Moving the copper and drain was fairly simple (once you forget what hours in a tiny crawl space was like). The final step is to put in the vent.

    I have two options:
    1) Put in a traditional vent that will hook up into the existing vent system
    2) Use an AAV

    Option 1 will mean running the vent outside some dry wall but inside a permanent soffit above the cabinets, then zig-zagging it down the inside of a wall (still not drywalled, contains a pass-through hence the zig-zagging)

    Option 2 calls for the AAV. This *seems* like it would be the simple solution. It is allowed in Fairfax County, VA (where I live) but the code calls for it to be installed 4" above the drain/where the s-trap meets the drain (no problem there) and a min. of 6" above the flood rim in this case of the sink. In pictures I have seen and in installation instructions that I have read, the AAV is just 4" above the drain.

    I'm looking for the pros to weight in. Is the AAV worth it? Should I just run the traditional PVC vent? If I go with the AAV, it has to be 6" higher than the maximum water level the sink can hold?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Since an AAV will fail at some point it would be better not to install one...Since you can't install the AAV 6" above the flood rim then the hard pipe is the way it will have to go...

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    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    I think you are confusing two separate things. 4" above the horizontal branch drain. Stack type AAV's 6" above flood rim. You aren't dealing with a stack, so you need it 4" above the horizontal branch drain.

    At least that's how it reads in my code. (Florida)
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

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    Master Plumber-Gas Fitter shacko's Avatar
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    Default Vent

    An AAV is not a real vent, it is a mechanical device, they do go bad. Anytime you can get mother nature to do her magic that is the way to go. I would put in a real vent, but thats your call.

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    DIY Junior Member gregnoob's Avatar
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    Default More Info...

    Just some pictures to show what I am dealing with. So far we're 2 to 1 against the AAV...



    1) This is how the drain pipe currently comes up. I am thinking about extending it to the red circle to leave more room in the cabinet for the disposal.




    2) These are my two options for running a traditional vent... RED option goes up and over the cabinets behind a soffit. Then it would have to turn up through the ceiling and T into the vent line there. BLUE option means more holes. The pipe is 1.5" so holes shouldn't be too bad.




    3) BLUE connection to existing vent network




    4) RED connection


    So, any thoughts? RED, BLUE or AAV? And should I move the drain to come through the base?

    Thanks,

    Greg
    Last edited by Terry; 05-31-2012 at 04:16 PM.

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    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    Just to clarify, I'm not really for AAV's but if you can't get a natural vent out then that's the next option.
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

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    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    I would run the vent pipe. Never been a fan of AAV's they go bad, also the only allow air into the venting system , they are no good for when there is a positive pressure in the DWV system.

  8. #8
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    There is no final word on AAVs. Some licensed plumbers use them in certain situations and some plumber curse them as the devils inventions, and that's not going to change. Certainly they are not be preferred method of venting, but they do work. As noted, they are mechanical devices therefore they can fail. That's why they can not be buried in a wall. I'll not argue the previous posters statement that they are not vents, but if it has long ears and hops like a rabbit, it probably is a rabbit. I hope you do not plan on having a true S trap. S traps have been illegal in most codes and jurisdictions for many years. The correct trap is a P trap.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member gregnoob's Avatar
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    Well thanks to everyone for the advice... Looks like I'm running the traditional vent!

    So... blue route or red route?

    Also, for ease of putting in the P trap and disposal, should I move the drain pipe so it comes out of the wall?

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Since I was involved a little in some earlier posts about AAV's......I will tell you what I did. As I said in those earlier posts...there are no proper indvidual vents on any fixtures in my 50+ year old two story two family duplex home. There is one main vertical 4" stack and a horizonatl branch on the second floor for the back to back bathrooms. No vent of any kind on the kitchen sinks or the basement washing machine drains. I think they decided when they built the place it was all wet vented by the stack but it really was improperly done. I redid the kitchen drains in PVC all the way to the main stack and there is just no way to get a vent up from that kitchen sink without alot of demolition of walls and up thru 2 stories. I added the AAV.... a Studor and it has worked with no issue of any kind for at least 2 years. No odor and the drain works better than ever as the old galvanized pipes were real bad inside....I can change that Studor valve in about 5 minutes if I had to.....It is not above the flood level of that sink but is higher then the requirements stated in the Studor install guide. I put it as high as I could get it and still be able to service it......I did also redo the basement washing machine drains and was able to put a proper vent in for those as I had a path thru some open walls. There is no way I could get that kitchen sink connected into that vent or I would have done it.....

    I do have a 4" cast iron vertical stack that goes thru the roof.......so the odds of having a positive pressure act on the Studor valve sounds pretty unlikely.....
    Last edited by Rich B; 08-06-2009 at 04:36 PM.

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default Aav

    Calling it the "final word on Air Admittance Valves" sounds like one of those Johnny Carson/Ed McMann routines where he is going to tell him EVERYTHING he needs to know. Positive pressure with an AAV often occurs when there is a stoppage problem elsewhere in the system. Without proper diagnosis, you will try to get the sink flowing by snaking its drain, when the real problem is elsewhere. This can lead to immense frustration after you snake it a dozen times and it still doesn't drain. Then you come here and ask why your snake is not working. This would be a common problem with a flooded septic system, which would not create a problem anywhere else in the house where there is a regular vent.
    Last edited by hj; 08-07-2009 at 05:45 AM.

  12. #12
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    I wonder if the people that giving glowing reviews of the studder vents are plumbers that went through 4 to 5 years of training and 4 years of schooling. As well as taking 4 hours of continued education classes. Also if they have any field experience.

    They do not work properly all the time, it is a hack way of doing plumbing. Why do you think half of the states do not allow them. Why do you think that the other half of the states that do allow them over half of them you have to get approval to use them from the building department.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    The family had a mobile home in Mattawa Washington, with an AAV in one bathroom.
    For less then the cost of a fitting or two, they could have hard vented, and then we wouldn't have dealt with the smell from that bathroom, until we realized it was a bad AAV.
    You don't have maintenance issues like that with proper venting.

    Any mechanical device made with rubber will fail.
    They need to be accessible and with proper ventilation.

    The valve only works with pressure in one direction.
    Plumbing provides pressure in two directions.

    If there is not other way, I can see it,
    But when you have the option during rough-in of hard venting, then hard piping is the way to go.

  14. #14
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    The family had a mobile home in Mattawa Washington, with an AAV in one bathroom.
    For less then the cost of a fitting or two, they could have hard vented, and then we wouldn't have dealt with the smell from that bathroom, until we realized it was a bad AAV.
    You don't have maintenance issues like that with proper venting.

    Any mechanical device made with rubber will fail.
    They need to be accessible and with proper ventilation.

    The valve only works with pressure in one direction.
    Plumbing provides pressure in two directions.

    If there is not other way, I can see it,
    But when you have the option during rough-in of hard venting, then hard piping is the way to go.
    Probably won't be, but that should defiantly be the last word

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member gregnoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    The family had a mobile home in Mattawa Washington, with an AAV in one bathroom.
    For less then the cost of a fitting or two, they could have hard vented, and then we wouldn't have dealt with the smell from that bathroom, until we realized it was a bad AAV.
    You don't have maintenance issues like that with proper venting.

    Any mechanical device made with rubber will fail.
    They need to be accessible and with proper ventilation.

    The valve only works with pressure in one direction.
    Plumbing provides pressure in two directions.

    If there is not other way, I can see it,
    But when you have the option during rough-in of hard venting, then hard piping is the way to go.
    Thanks everyone! I took your advice and went with the hard venting. It was actually a lot of fun running all the turns to get it up around the pass-through window!

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