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Old 05-24-2010, 01:05 AM   #1
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Need help with sink plumbing


Hey ppl.

I had a stupid contractor build my island and do the plumbing and i could kick myself for it ... anyhow

The first few months everything ran fine. The water drained fine at full pressure. Now it floods the sink after a few minutes and it bubbles and slowly drains. I doubt there is anything clogging the ptrap cuz i don't pour crap down my drain, but it is possible.

The sink uses an air admittance valve ... or what looks like one. It's about a foot up from the main drain pipe as high as it could go ... but the sink is kind of in the way. It's a double sink and a garbage disposer on the right.

When i ran the garbage disposer the first time it flooded, the water started coming out of the AAV. It seems to be getting worse. I used to pour water down the drain from a pot and it would be fine. The last time I did this the water backed up the opposite sink (it sits lower).

I tried to use baking soda and vinegar just in case there was something in the piping (this cleared up my bathroom clog) ... perhaps i should try something else?

I tried flushing the main vent pipe (located in a wall about 5 feet from the island). I stuck a hose all the way down and even ran some water in it. I read about this on askthebuilder. I was too afraid to run the water full blast cuz who knows what this contractor did to it. What if water started leaking out of the walls?

So now i'm just stumped. This is stressing me out cuz ppl use the garbage disposal and i have to clean up after. Also, it is damaging my cabinet. I guess telling them not to use it doesn't seem to work. Sometimes pouring large amounts of water in the sink also creates a mess. this isn't working.

Could anyone please help me out?

Thank you in advance.


Last edited by profenx; 05-24-2010 at 01:09 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:51 AM   #2
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If water is coming out of the AAV (I would avoid using one at all costs) my guess is that it is installed way too low.

It should be installed as high as possible ALMOST touching the underside of the countertop, but with just enough space to unthread it and change it out later.

As for why it's plugging up, you might have to make a crawl and look at the fittings and check the pipe with a torpedo level. It should have about a quarter bubble all the way from point A to point B.

Check what kind of fittings he used. Sometimes those guys that think they know plumbing use short sweep fittings instead of long sweep, and these typically get plugged up.

Sometimes they even cut fittings in backwards.....

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Old 05-24-2010, 10:04 AM   #3
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Not that its helpful but whomever plumbed my kitchen (before I bought the house) stuck an AAV in the wall w/ no access or anything. Thankfully, it still seems to be working but will be getting fixed soon when we redo the kitchen.

Shane
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by profenx View Post
Hey ppl.

I had a stupid contractor build my island and do the plumbing and i could kick myself for it ... anyhow
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Originally Posted by profenx View Post
I doubt there is anything clogging the ptrap cuz i don't pour crap down my drain, but it is possible.
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:05 PM   #5
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Alan, thanks for the reply. The area where the aav is installed is a little tight. The sink is pretty deep and large. So it is right under it almost touching the base of the sink ( i just checked even though i stared at it for many hours during the months). This might be the problem. The only solution to raising it higher is if I curve it slightly. Will the aav still function properly if i curve it and bring it up near the countertop? I'm not sure if it can unscrew. I tried to loosen it but maybe he sealed it in? Or i'm just scared of breaking it. The pipe is plastic instead of metal. I have about 7 inches up to go if i am to bring it as high as possible. Maybe also get a brand name like studor vent?

As for checking the piping, I can't ... without huge cost at least.
I'm on a slab

The thing that bothers me is that the sink worked fine before. It's only been a few months!

JakAHearts -
wow ... AAV in the wall. Did you find that out cuz you had symptoms? Or were you bored and ripped out a wall?

Anti-wingnut-
I didn't get to see what you wrote, but maybe I offended you somehow. I don't mean to call everyone stupid or use bad language. It is just that this guy pretty much pissed me off. He won't return my calls or come fix any of the many things that went wrong. I'm obviously blowing off some steam. I feel ripped off and stupid. The thing is his referrals were all good. 1 of which were my friend and I saw the stuff he did for her. I guess quality went down hill since he worked on her house. Also could be that times are tough and he needs to cut corners to make a buck. I would have paid more for better quality. So ... i called him stupid. He isn't ... he is just mean!!!!! ok enough of that.

When I say i don't pour crap done the drain ... i meant I don't pour fats and oils or egg shells and left over foods. I scrape them off to the trash and bottle oils and fats. Just a habit my mother got me doing. I know ... waste of a bottle that i could recycle.


Thanks again alan, for some direction.
I will see if i can remove the vent. Let me know if you know if i could use some kind of elbow to change the direction of the vent pipe to move it higher while still keeping the vent fully functional. How does water come out of it anyhow? I thought it was a one way valve?

There's also a vent pipe attached about 5 feet away inside the wall that come out to the roof. How come this pipe isn't adequate for the venting?
I have a vent pipe in the garage that is 10 feet away from my sink and washer and it works just fine.
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:02 AM   #6
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Use 45* offsets to get it to the back of the cabinet, so that if it backs up, it will drain out easier.



Did you crawl below to check out the fittings yet?



Anti-Wingnut : Maybe your first clue that it's not the p-trap should have been that it was backing up out of his vent?
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:05 PM   #7
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Sounds to me like the line is clogged up and causing it to back up, and it will come out wherever it is easiest.
Let's address a couple of misdirections here.
1. There is nothing wrong with a properly installed AAV. In most area's it is well within code to use it on an Island. The alternative is to have plumbed in a Island Vent, according to what ever local code. Not a very practical way to go due to cost and the amount of fittings needed.
2. For whoever made the assumption that the AAV was not high enough, and should be installed as high as possible. That is ridiculous. Most codes require that the AAV be installed a minimum of 6 inches above the trap arm. If the drain was working correctly, there would be no possibility for it to come out.

At this point you should get a professional out there and have them look it over, to see what is wrong. All the speculation on here is not going to help much for what you have, and even if you luck out and get it fixed, that does not mean it won't happen again.

To the OP on this thread, I have a question. While you claim that you had a stupid contractor for this install, was it a plumber, or just a general that claimed to be able to do plumbing?
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:58 PM   #8
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I agree with O'Leaky,, sure seems like the drain line is clogged somewhere, if you can't get at the pipes to take them apart to inspect,, I'd try a plunger to clear the line.
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Old 05-25-2010, 07:28 PM   #9
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I agree with O'Leaky,, sure seems like the drain line is clogged somewhere, if you can't get at the pipes to take them apart to inspect,, I'd try a plunger to clear the line.
Now, here is someone I can get along with.
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:36 PM   #10
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OK, so now we have established that your drain pipe is plugged, and you have a faulty AAV. The location of the AAV may or may not be correct, depending on the local AHJ ( Authority Having Jurisdiction).

You need to establish several things
1) Where is the clog located
2) What is the clog composed of
3) Why is it clogging.

If the pipes ran by your contracting team have the proper slope, no internal obstructions and no "belly", it is unlikely that they are in any way culpable.

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Read your 1st warning in your prior post
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:23 PM   #11
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2. For whoever made the assumption that the AAV was not high enough, and should be installed as high as possible. That is ridiculous. Most codes require that the AAV be installed a minimum of 6 inches above the trap arm. If the drain was working correctly, there would be no possibility for it to come out.
I'm not saying that it is or isn't code (heck we can't even use those things around here), but my point is that if it's up to the height of the countertop, water will never come out of it if the drain is clogged because it will back up into the sink first. Same reasoning behind running a vent at least 6" above the flood level rim before going horizontal with it.

Again, not saying that it's a code requirement, but if it were my house, I'd raise it up.
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:57 PM   #12
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if water can come out of the aav so can sewer gas and it has failed. You have a clog downstream that has at some point fouled the aav. I've seen brand new houses with sink drains plugged within a week due to hair, residual grease on plates and dishes and all of that thick handsoap the ladies love so much.
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:32 AM   #13
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He is a general contractor who claim to have a plumber and electrician on his team. I'm pretty stupid for trusting people so easily. I wasn't available to see them install every single thing cuz I had work. The piping looked fine at the time when I saw them install it. Slope wasn't too noticeable.

I understand the logic of having the AAV as high as possible. If it would flood, water would exit to the sink until it reached high enough to come out of the AAV.

I'm not sure if pressue would cause water to come out of a working AAV, but when running the garbage disposal, water is pushed down the pipe harder than gravity. This is the main reason for the water coming out of the AAV. That and pouring a large amount of water down the sink really fast.

It could be plugged in the few months I have used the sink ... but I find it unlikely. I did use baking soda and vinegar. set it out for an hour and flushed with really hot water. Then again, it won't cure every clog. For sure there is no hair.

I've heard AAVs working in a lot of places. I know a lot of people don't like them.

I can't look at the pipes because i'm on a concrete slab. There is no crawl space.

I hope this is repairable. I will attempt to unclog the sink ... or at least act as if it is a clog and do what i can. Plunger would be a lil difficult. I'll have to find a way to seal the AAV so air won't come out. Will this break it? Assuming it isn't faulty. If I had a faulty AAV it would also seemed clogged no? The drain still works fine when i flush water down it. It is at full pressure that the sink starts to flood and i see bubbles once in a while.

How come the main vent pipe connected to this doesn't work?

I don't smell any sewer gases coming from the AAV.

Thank you all for your input/advice.

Maybe I should remove the comment about the stupid contractor. I said that cuz i was mad. I'm sure he has plumbed a sink before. He told me so. He is just plain mean.

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Old 05-26-2010, 08:57 AM   #14
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He is a general contractor who claim to have a plumber and electrician on his team. I'm pretty stupid for trusting people so easily. I wasn't available to see them install every single thing cuz I had work. The piping looked fine at the time when I saw them install it. Slope wasn't too noticeable.

I understand the logic of having the AAV as high as possible. If it would flood, water would exit to the sink until it reached high enough to come out of the AAV.

I'm not sure if pressue would cause water to come out of a working AAV, but when running the garbage disposal, water is pushed down the pipe harder than gravity. This is the main reason for the water coming out of the AAV. That and pouring a large amount of water down the sink really fast.

It could be plugged in the few months I have used the sink ... but I find it unlikely. I did use baking soda and vinegar. set it out for an hour and flushed with really hot water. Then again, it won't cure every clog. For sure there is no hair.

I've heard AAVs working in a lot of places. I know a lot of people don't like them.

I can't look at the pipes because i'm on a concrete slab. There is no crawl space.

I hope this is repairable. I will attempt to unclog the sink ... or at least act as if it is a clog and do what i can. Plunger would be a lil difficult. I'll have to find a way to seal the AAV so air won't come out. Will this break it? Assuming it isn't faulty. If I had a faulty AAV it would also seemed clogged no? The drain still works fine when i flush water down it. It is at full pressure that the sink starts to flood and i see bubbles once in a while.

How come the main vent pipe connected to this doesn't work?

I don't smell any sewer gases coming from the AAV.

Thank you all for your input/advice.

Maybe I should remove the comment about the stupid contractor. I said that cuz i was mad. I'm sure he has plumbed a sink before. He told me so. He is just plain mean.
Can you post a picture of the undersink plumbing?
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:08 AM   #15
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I think you need to hire a plumber and or a lawyer.

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