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Thread: No vent pipe in home sewage system

  1. #1

    Question No vent pipe in home sewage system

    I have lived in my current ranch home for over 30 years. At various times when I have had a need for a plumber or anyone knowledgeable in the plumbing field, they have mentioned that I have to have a vent pipe in order for my commodes and drains to work properly. However, no one has ever been able to find where anything is vented. The only thing that I do have is a piece of 6 inch terracota tile that extends above the ground on top of my septic tank. Is it possible that this is where the system get the air so that the system works?

    There have been times, over the years, where a toilet doesn't seem to flush as it should, or there are gurgling noises in my tub drain when the toilet is flushed. I would like to install a vent pipe or vent system of some kind just to see if the toilets would flush better and eliminate the gurgling noises. I was told that I could vent into my attic, without going through the roof, without much odor problem in the house. How would I go about doing this, and is there anything on the market that would help with an odor problem, if I would vent into the attic?

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

    Jim

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    There is not much we can say if the plumbers you have had out all have said the same thing. Normaly there is a vent pipe protruding out the roof. It could be in the attic. Has a plumber looked there?

  3. #3

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    Cass,

    I have hot water heat, so when I had a central air conditioning system installed a few years ago, the duct work and air exchanger was suspended in the attic. The air conditioning guys wanted to run the drain from the air exchanger into the vent pipe. When I told them I didn't have one, they checked all through the attic for it, and were unable to locate it. They didn't think my toilets and drains would work with out a vent pipe. So, I'm pretty sure it is not vented into the attic.

    Jim

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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    It shouldn't be vented into the attic, but it may be vented through the attic to above the roof, or it may be vented outside up an exterior wall, or there might be a combination of air admittance valves, if O.K. by local code.
    If the plumbing isn't vented in some way, it will not drain.
    Look around.
    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Swearingen; 04-26-2006 at 09:13 AM.

  5. #5
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    If your HVAC guys couldn't find one there may not be one. Go outside and look on the roof for any size pipe sticking out somewhere.
    Last edited by Cass; 04-26-2006 at 09:19 AM.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Even with AAVs you still have to have at least one exterior vent, and the man has lived there for 30 years. I don't think we had AAVs that far back.

  7. #7

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    There really is no pipe coming out of the roof or on the side of the house. The only opening for air that I am aware of is the terracota pipe sticking out on top of the septic tank. Could this be where the system gets its air to work? Many people have told me that it's not likely. They say it has to vented somewhere else.

    Would it be difficult to run a vent pipe from the main waste line through an inside wall, and then, through the roof?

    JIm

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Call a plumber and ask. They would be able to tell far easier than we can.

  9. #9
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    When everything is working fine, then your 6" pipe is probably working as a vent, even though its real function was probably as a cleanout port for the tank. You may be lucky the AC guys didn't find a vent, otherwise you might be coming here asking why you get a sewer gas odor in the house every once in a while. If what you say is true, then your system must have been installed by a DIY'er who asked himself, "How hard can it be to just put some pipes together? I don't need no stinkin' plumber. Besides they cost too much."

  10. #10
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Where is this place located? Is there a chimney? I'm willing to believe that if a bunch of knowledgeable tradespeople looked and couldn't find a vent, then there isn't one, but that really stretches credibility. If you do want a vent (or, more likely, vents), though, it's time to call someone who can manage all the trades that will be involved while putting them in -- plumbers, carpenters, roofers, drywallers, etc. At least you're in a one-story building, I gather, so it's not too bad.

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