Question about Plumbing?

Howe & Bassett Co. has Answers to all Plumbing-Related Problems:

1I have two questions regarding vent pipes as I am renovating a bathroom where the original ventilation system was non-existent. (1) I read in an article that roof vent pipes can run horizontally since gas-air pressure is drawn upward by the lower atmospheric pressure outside the house. Is there a specific length that this cannot exceed? For example, we are looking to connect to the vent in another bathroom, which is approx 40 ft away. Is this okay? (2) Is there is a specific number of bathroom/appliances that can be added to one roof vent pipe?

All plumbing waste and vent piping is to be “pitched”, slanted in the direction of flow. Waste piping is pitched downward, typically at 1/4″/foot. Vent piping is pitched upward, as it is drawing air from outside; anything other than flat is acceptable, 1/8″ or even 1/16″. It is pitched because rainwater that falls in the vent piping can cause problems. There are tables as to size, the length of all piping, generally, the longer the pipe gets, the size increases. Typically, any full-size vent stack in a residence can handle any amount of fixtures you’de be able to connect to it.

2How do you fix a leaky faucet?

My bathroom faucet keeps dripping. Any suggestions?

Call Howe & Bassett Company, 585.271.4040

3Why is my brand-new hot water tank pressure valve leaking?

I recently had my 4 year old water heater replaced because there was a slow leak in the bottom of the unit. It was still under warranty and I had it replaced with a new unit.

About ten minutes after the water was turned on, the temperature-pressure valve opened up and water started dripping. The plumbers were still here and they replaced the valve. The new valve leaked again.

I called a different plumber and had the inside pressure reducing valve changed as they thought there was too much water pressure in the house. That stopped the leaking until I started to use the dishwasher or clothes washer. Then the valve leaked again. I had the heater installer replace the valve twice more to no avail.

The valve only leaked when I used the appliances. The water pressure was checked and it was at 55 psi at the faucet. The valve is rated at 210 degrees and at 150 psi.

Now they are telling me that I need an expansion tank to solve the problem. I never had this problem before and I have lived here for years. I checked with the neighbors and they said they have not had this problem. This is a 40 gallon Craftmaster water heater with “Flameguard.”

Since the valve leaks after clothes washer or dishwasher use, hot water has recently been called for. The heater comes on to satisfy the demand for more hot water. In doing so, the pressure or temperature (water expands as it becomes warmer) causes the valve to leak.

The first thing to try is to lower the temperature control slightly. That may be enough to keep the valve from leaking.

If that doesn’t work, check the pressure-reducing valve you recently had installed. There are two types of valves: Those with a bypass that will allow for an open system and those without a bypass that maintain a closed plumbing system.

In an open system, if the pressure in the indoor plumbing lines increases beyond that which the reducing valve is set for, the valve will allow water to expand back toward the street and bypass the valve. Now, that will only work to your advantage if the street pressure is less. In some parts of Rochester, street pressure can be so high that indoor water pressure cannot overcome it.

In a closed system, the pressure reducing valve only works one way. Thus, any substantial increase in indoor water pressure may affect the pressure reducing valve on the water heater.

In some cases the expansion tank is the solution of last resort. So, first check what kind of pressure reducing valve you have and possibly change that. If the valve is the bypass type, I suspect you may have to install the expansion tank.

Water heaters manufactured today must have the “Flameguard” system that your heater has. This is basically a closed combustion system with a replaceable air filter that was designed to reduce the chances that gasoline or other combustible vapors don’t get into the heater’s combustion area. This change was mostly created to protect those heaters installed in the garage area of a house where automobiles, lawn mowers and gasoline are apt to be stored. This modification will add about $100 to the cost of the heater and will mean periodic changing of the air filter.

4Why does my shower run out of hot water?

I am the first person to shower five days a week at 5am. During the winter, the hot water runs out shortly into my shower, even if I run only a little water. It also happens on the rare mornings when I shower at 3:30am.

This does not happen to any other family member’s shower later in the day or when I am the first one to shower later in the morning on my day off.

The hot water heater is four years old. We’ve had two service representatives here who cannot find a heating problem with the tank. One suggested raising the water temperature, but it didn’t solve the problem. :cry:

My first thought is to tell you not to get up so early.

Your heater has a defective gas control valve. The valve does not sense the gradual cooling of the tank over the night hours. Once the first morning shower (yours) drastically lowers the water temperature in the tank, the valve kicks in and raises the tank water temperature to normal levels.

A new gas control valve should solve the problem. Keep in mind, however, that “winter water” entering your plumbing system is considerably colder than summer water. Thus, any water heater will need to work harder during the cold months.

5Can I install a toilet without a tank in my home?

Are the toilets in public restrooms (the ones without the tank) practical for home use? What’s the significance of the tank if you don’t need one? :wink:

Flush-valve toilets don’t fit in homes.

The reason flush-valve toilets are used in commercial installations is that they work better, have less clogging problems and require less maintenance.

The reason that one seldom sees this type of toilet in a residential installation is that they require a one-inch water main, installed up on the wall behind the toilet. Most residential toilets are supplied with a one-half-inch line through the floor.

The waste pipe location is another incompatibility. Most residential toilets are “roughed in” at 12 inches from the wall near the rear of the toilet.

Commercial flush-valve toilets are roughed in at 10 inches from the wall.

Most gravity and power-flush toilets have greatly improved in the past few years.

My favorite brands of tank-type toilets, listed in order of preference, are TOTO, Kohler and American Standard.

6What's the best toilet?

We recommend the Briggs Vacuity 4200. It is not carried at the big chain stores so you will have to shop around for it. You will likely find it at a plumbing supply store. It is worth the hunt. At around $190, it is a good buy as well. The Kohler Wellworth is a bit cheaper and is a good choice as well.

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