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Thread: Interpreting IPC cleanout requirements

  1. #1
    DIY Member Gordan's Avatar
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    Default Interpreting IPC cleanout requirements

    The code states that a cleanout is required at the start of every horizontal branch and at 100' intervals thereafter. It also states that a cleanout is required at a 45 degree or greater change in direction, but a single cleanout is sufficient for multiple changes in direction as long as they occur within 40' of each other.

    1) It would stand to reason that a horizontal branch that is 40' or shorter would require a single cleanout, as long as the same pipe size is maintained throughout, yet the code does not say that. What's your take on the proper interpretation here? This is not a theoretical question... there are plenty of instances where cutting into existing plumbing at the first turn is simply not feasible, and you'd think that having a 0 degree "turn" as your "first turn" would present less impediment to any snaking than having a >0 degree turn.

    2) Does a horizontal drain that briefly dips a few inches at a 45 degree or higher angle still qualify as a horizontal branch, or if not, what is it? I can find no definition of, or requirements for, vertical offsets in horizontal branch drains, such as what would occur when the drain runs between the joists but then drops into a soffit to run perpendicular to the joists.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    I am not a professional plumber, but it reads pretty clearly to me that only one cleanout is required if the developed length of the drainage piping is less than 40 feet. I also read it to say that a slip-joint trap connection is a suitable cleanout, as long as the opening is no more that one pipe size smaller than the drain.

    Not to complicate things, if the drain piping is not vertical, it is considered a horizontal branch drain.

  3. #3
    DIY Member Gordan's Avatar
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    Thanks, CC! I am not a lawyer, but the language still seems like it's left too open to interpretation to me. In other words, kind of sloppy. A strict reading would seem to me to suggest that a cleanout is required at the start AND at the first turn, though the latter would not seem to have a reasonable purpose as long as other requirements (every 100', every 40' if changes in direction are involved) are met. In fact, I could envision people putting bends in their drains for the sole purpose of having that first change of direction happen at a spot where a cleanout can be feasibly located...

    As for the other question, it would seem that, according to the definitions, if it's not a stack it's a horizontal branch or a fixture drain. And a stack is anything that vertically spans a whole story or higher. Does that, er, wash?

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