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Sewer piping: this article series describes how to diagnose problems with building drain, waste, and vent piping (DWV), main building drains, and sewer connection or private septic system piping.
We include information about the proper inspection, installation, diagnosis, and repair of building drains including clogged or slow drains, damaged or broken drains, and improperly-constructed DWV piping.
How to Diagnose & Repair Problems in Building Drain Waste Piping & Sewer or Septic Connecting Pipes
Our page top photo shows a sewer line cleanout under and building exit piping under construction at a New York Home, courtesy Galow Homes.
Definition of building drain
Plumbing codes define a building drain as "that part of the lowest piping of a building drainage system that receives the discharge from soil, waste, and other drainage pipes inside the walls [or upper floors] of the building and conveys it to the building sewer [or septic system] beginning two feet (0.6m) outside the building wall."
This piping and its horizontal branches are required to have cleanouts, however no cleanout is required for any pipe or piping above the first floor of the building.
In our list of plumbing piping articles below you will find description of inspection, installation, diagnosis, and repair articles concerning building drain waste vent (DWV) piping. Types of building supply piping and supply piping problems are described and listed at PIPING IN buildings, Clogs Leaks Types [Link given just below]
PIPING in BUILDINGS, CLOGS, LEAKS, TYPES - Illustrated guide to different types of Water Supply Piping, & Drain Piping, Water Supply Equipment, other Building Pipes and Plumbing materials; guide to supply and drain pipe problem diagnosis, repair.
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(Oct 31, 2011) Alex in Seattle said:
the sewer line that comes through the foundation wall has a large irregular hole around it. the space between the copper sewer line and foundation is between 2" and 6". It was crudely made. I have water seeping in here and would like to seal it. If it was smaller I'd use hydrolic cement, but it seems to large. Can I fill the hole with regular cement and call it good? I'll use a bonding agent. Or I was thinking of doing some sort of sleeve that would allow the pipe to move a bit if needed.
I was thinking of wrapping the pipe with rope and then taping plastic over the rope. fill the hole with cement. after the cure, then pull out the rope and the plastic. should give me some space between the cement and the pipe. seal this space with a high quality sealant or spray foam. Any thoughts or ideas would be helpful. I can't seem to find any helpful info on this issue. Thanks.
(Aug 13, 2012) Gary Rice said:
I have a septic system with a house on blocks that I can crawl under. We have two toilets downstairs discharging into a 3 inch PVC with a 3 inch vent pipe going upstairs and venting outside the house. I want to add one more toilet in an up-stair bathroom and I want to discharge it into the 3 inch vent pipe - will i have any problems if I do this?
(Aug 11, 2014) Dave A said:
What would be the acceptable limit for foundation settling before
it would seriously affect the pitch of the drain pipe leading to
the septic tank? My pre-purchase home inspector suspects that the
foundation for the home I'm buying has settled as much as 1-1/2"
over 15 years.
There's no smart succinct "right" answer to the question as you post it.
Any settlement that results in loss of the proper minimum pitch of 1/8 to 1/4" per foot in the drain line can lead to clogging.
I'd be worried that settlement might also break a sub-slab drain line leading to leaks, blockages, and possibly unsanitary condtions. Some investigation is in order. YOu could start by having a plumber send a camera through the line.
I'd also want to know the cause of settlement and what else it may have affected.
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Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Lagrangeville, NY. Mr. Galow can be reached by email: email@example.com or by telephone: 914-474-6613. Mr. Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
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TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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