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Thread: Is my backwash Drain from Softener OK? -Pic included...

  1. #1

    Default Is my backwash Drain from Softener OK? -Pic included...

    Check the picture out. My plumber said that this is an air break and will work just as good if not better than an air gap because it won't splash out. He said this is code and ok for my application. Please confirm.

    I have a whole house sediment and chlorine filter that backwashes so it needed to go to the same drain. I had him run two separate drain lines to this vent stack because the filter manufacturer said they couldn't use the same drain line. Any issues with this either?

    They both drain and don't leak, so I guess that is good.

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  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    i'm not a plumber, but that does not look code approved. that is not an air gap or an air break, that is a direct connection from the looks of it, and that is a no-no. if that 'vent stack' is above other fixtures you cannot drain into that either.
    Last edited by Chad Schloss; 12-22-2011 at 07:29 PM.

  3. #3
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    The purpose of an air gap is to ensure that the sewer/drains can never back up into equipment that is connected to the potable water system.
    That connection does not meet this requirement.

    I would also be concerned about using such small ID tubing for the softener drain, as it might limit the required flow to properly clean the resin bed in the softener.
    Last edited by cacher_chick; 12-22-2011 at 07:37 PM.

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    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    If your in a area with a cold climate that foam insulation won't prevent the trap from freezing.

    John

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    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    I take it the systems are in the attic? I wouldn't put anything that uses water in the attic. When (not if) they leak, they cause a mess. If the drain tubing for the softener has an opening in the short tube, then the air gap is there. It is hard to tell, but it looks as though the drain line has a clear piece directing the water down the short tube. There looks to be a gap there. Can you provide another angle of the connection?

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    If your filter is a normally sized unit, there was no reason to run a separate drain line or a larger than the normal 5/8" OD PE drain line used for softeners. And certainly not as large as was run.

    And it is not "to code" but will work fine with some changes.

    The softener drain line is running uphill to the elbow and that will prevent gravity draining of the line leaving water in it to freeze. That is a serious problem and has to be fixed. The hole in the side of the PVC under the softener connection may leak

    If the softener is in the room below this attic area, you should have run 3/4" PEX, PVC or CPVC instead of using regular softener drain line; or increased the DLFC in the control valve for more flow due to the height to this connection is above the softener.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Schloss View Post
    i'm not a plumber, but that does not look code approved. that is not an air gap or an air break, that is a direct connection from the looks of it, and that is a no-no. if that 'vent stack' is above other fixtures you cannot drain into that either.
    It is the vent stack that is used for the washing machine. There are many plumbers, DIY'ers on here, and even most of my neigborhood that has an air gap in the attic that is attached to the top vent of the washing machine.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    The purpose of an air gap is to ensure that the sewer/drains can never back up into equipment that is connected to the potable water system.
    That connection does not meet this requirement.

    I would also be concerned about using such small ID tubing for the softener drain, as it might limit the required flow to properly clean the resin bed in the softener.
    That's what I was told as well about the air gap. My plumber, however, said this is fine because the water will never back up that far into the attic to reach the drain. If it did, he said I would have much more issues because that means all the toilets, sinks, drains in the house would be overflowing first.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobiecatter View Post
    It is the vent stack that is used for the washing machine. There are many plumbers, DIY'ers on here, and even most of my neigborhood that has an air gap in the attic that is attached to the top vent of the washing machine.
    if that line is serving a fixture as a vent below it, you can not tie it in like that. they may have a line in the attic, but it should be a drain line connected BELOW a fixture, not into the fixture's vent.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobiecatter View Post
    That's what I was told as well about the air gap. My plumber, however, said this is fine because the water will never back up that far into the attic to reach the drain. If it did, he said I would have much more issues because that means all the toilets, sinks, drains in the house would be overflowing first.
    your 'plumber' is incorrect. you CANNOT use a VENT as a DRAIN like that.

    ( I tried to be more like HJ with his BOLD type, lol)

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnjh2o1 View Post
    If your in a area with a cold climate that foam insulation won't prevent the trap from freezing.

    John
    I'm in a climate that gets cold, but not for long periods. Since this is a drain line for the softener, this foam insulation should be the only place water is collecting. So during a freeze wouldn't that insulation not keep me safe...no?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Schloss View Post
    your 'plumber' is incorrect. you CANNOT use a VENT as a DRAIN like that.

    ( I tried to be more like HJ with his BOLD type, lol)
    Because it is not an air gap? Since when can you not use a Vent as a drain. I agree this may not be code, even though he said it was, but please let me know how to get it to code using an air gap.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by mialynette2003 View Post
    I take it the systems are in the attic? I wouldn't put anything that uses water in the attic. When (not if) they leak, they cause a mess. If the drain tubing for the softener has an opening in the short tube, then the air gap is there. It is hard to tell, but it looks as though the drain line has a clear piece directing the water down the short tube. There looks to be a gap there. Can you provide another angle of the connection?
    Sorry, the system is not in the attic. In the garage, but the drain line goes up and across the attic to the vent to drain down. I'll try to get more pictures.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    look up 'air gap' on google. you don't understand what an air gap is. here, look at this:
    http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&b...9&tx=133&ty=49



    every fixture needs a vent. when you use your washing machine's vent below, you send that wastewater from the softener past that trap and it may siphion that trap, as it no longer has a vent. you need a separate line underneath the washing machine drain to come up from where it is to the attic and then you can drain your softener into it. your softener p trap needs a vent as well, tied in after the p trap before it goes into the drain. tie this vent into the one coming from your washing machine.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    If your filter is a normally sized unit, there was no reason to run a separate drain line or a larger than the normal 5/8" OD PE drain line used for softeners. And certainly not as large as was run.

    And it is not "to code" but will work fine with some changes.

    The softener drain line is running uphill to the elbow and that will prevent gravity draining of the line leaving water in it to freeze. That is a serious problem and has to be fixed. The hole in the side of the PVC under the softener connection may leak. What is a good remedy to fix this?


    If the softener is in the room below this attic area, you should have run 3/4" PEX, PVC or CPVC instead of using regular softener drain line; or increased the DLFC in the control valve for more flow due to the height to this connection is above the softener.

    Gary,

    The filter is a Whirlpool whole house filter that does a backwash every couple of weeks. The reason there are two drain lines is because I called the manufacturer of the filter "Whirlpool" and they stated many times to me that the drain for their filter cannot tie into a water softener drain. They must be run separately. It cost me more to do it this way, but I was going by what Whrilpool said. It kinda made since to me as well, because the water could go back into the other unit and contaminate it. The size was also recommended by the Whirlpool rep. They said if the run is more than 25 feet, I needed to go to one inch drain. So I had the plumber do the 1" drain instead of the 1/2" for the filter and keep the softener drain line seperate. So I ha the plumber do them separate all the way to this point where they go into the p trap and down the vent.

    So the elbow on the top of the drain in this picture is a concern because water will freeze underneath it causing the PVC to break?

    The softener is below the attic, but runs across the attic at a slight downhill slope until it reaches this point in the pic where it rises just before the elbow. I can get a better pic of the rest of the run. It is PEX (the blue line) but I was told by the softener dealer that increasing the size wouldn't be necessary as long as it doesn't go more than 8 feet up.

    So in summary... if I'm reading this correctly, you say I should have used a smaller drain line for the filter and larger drain line for the softener, and I should do something to fix where the elbow is on the top in this picture?
    Last edited by hobiecatter; 01-05-2012 at 07:46 AM.

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