Q.: light switch on main floor turns on fan in upstairs bathroom...

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My brother just bought a 10-year old house in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. I was just over 'inspecting' the house when we came across this magical switch. The previous owner said to turn it on several times a year. Yeah, ok. No reason, just do it.
Anyways, like the subject says, it turns on the upstairs bathroom fan. Is this code for new construction? Is it just a quick way to vent some smelly cooking?
Also, the builders dropped a 4-inch sewage line down the center of the basement. It's a big sticking point when it comes to finishing the basement...so they want me to divert it to another line. What sort of slope does a big pipe like that require? Also, can I use T's or would a more gradual union be preferred?
Finally, there is a standard switch that turns off the furnace, but it's located right beside the furnace. Shouldn't it be located on the wall/ceiling as you enter the basement?
TIA! Darryl.
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snipped-for-privacy@REMOVEhotmail.com said...

I built a house last year and they are allowed to put them next to the furnaces now. It's probably because of proven safety records in the modern units. I don't know if that was OK 10 years ago, but then again my previous house which had a 40-year-old furnace in the basement also had the switch at the unit. Of course, that house had many non-code setups.
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Hi, I am in Calgary, AB. House is built in the summer of 1994. Has high efficiency gas furnace and switch is right there next to furnace. I don't know if ON has different code. Tony
Brad wrote:

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Thanks for the replies. Any takers on the magical mystery light switch?

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If it is a new house with all the latest tight seal codes like they have here in Washington, the fan is probly used to get some fresh air into the house. Typically there is a timer set to run them for a brief period several times a day.
Erik Ahrens
said...

my
setups.
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Darryl wrote:

I live in Richmond Hill (just south of Newmarket) and we also have a "magic switch". When I had the home inspection done, the guy told me that all new homes have one now because the newer houses are built so "tight". It just turns on/off the upstairs bathroom fan.
I can't say I have ever used mine but it doesn't really bother me much that its there.
Regards,
Alex
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said...

If the house is so tight, what is turning on a bathroom fan going to do unless you crack a window?
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Pop your ears under the extreme vacuum that the fan will create? ;)
It's funny that the original owner (of my Brother's house) told him to turn it on several times a year for circulation. I can think of a daily act that would require it's use.
Speaking of which, what about the plumbing question. Is it ok to use 90 degree elbows on a 4" sewage line? I'm assuming so...how much should the line drop when running horizontally? (1" over 4 ft. or something?)
Thanks again, Darryl.
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On 15 Oct 2003, Darryl wrote:

BWA HA HAAA HA HA! I'm glad somebody else thought of that, I thought I was the only "practical" one around here. Really, it allows "mom" to flip the fan on as soon as she knows "dad" is (cough)evacuating the area, she doesn't even need to be on the same floor and accidentally catch a whiff.

Do they make 90's with a cleanout plug on them? I think I've seen them somewhere. That would seem to be the ticket, as you obviously need to be concerned with getting a little congestion at that spot.
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snipped-for-privacy@icubed.com said...

If you can't find a 90 with a cleanout, just buy a T and cap the unused end.
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I was having difficulty visualizing this. The 'T' would be upside down so that the flow would look like an 'L', right (Imagine a 'T' on it's side and the crap it would be catching--yikes)? Would I be better off using 45s?
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snipped-for-privacy@REMOVEhotmail.com said...

If the cleanout is pointing toward the output then the cleanout will be uphill flow-wise so it shouldn't catch anything. If you want it to point uphill you can always fill up the bottom part of it with caulk to keep it from storing goodies. Either way, the pitch isn't much so it shouldn't hold much.
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snipped-for-privacy@REMOVEhotmail.com (Darryl) writes:

That's a good way of saying 1/4" to the foot. For the fittings, you need to buy a home plumbing book. Tight Ls are only legal for venting, not for waste. Yes, there are code Ls with cleanouts.
Buy a book. Bad drains are a PITA forever.
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Why buy a book when I can ask someone as pretentious as yourself. Thanks for the input. Why are you surfing alt.home.repair?
Darryl.
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snipped-for-privacy@REMOVEhotmail.com (Darryl) writes:

I read alt.home.repair because I do a lot of home repair. I sometimes offer advice, knowing that most people will be too dumb to take it.
You need to learn about DWV codes if you are going to be remodelling waste lines. Just about any home center will sell you an inexpensive book on home plumbing that will fill you in on drops, Ls, venting and required supports for DWV piping. The questions you are asking indicate that you don't even know what questions you should be asking.
Buy a book. Read it. Look at the pictures. Or not. Your choice. If you didn't want advice, why did you start asking questions?
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I asked questions and they were answered. No superfluous comments required. Thanks, Larry, for your input. It's greatly appreciated. Your Dad would be proud of you.
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I worked on a large housing development in Ottawa last winter. Every single house had a switch in the kitchen, hallway or living room area that would turn on one of the bathroom exhast fans. I found it odd myself, but the other posts mentioning airtight homes make some sense. It does however seem to me to be a lame and cheap alternative to a proper air exchanger.

I seem to remember something about 1" per 4' myself... that being said, you should avoid a straight T connection, and use a Y. This is from a rather bad experience I endured a few years back.

The CEC states that it must be located between the furnace and the exit of the furnace room. I don't recall it specifing any distances from the furnace. In fact, a switch is not even needed at all if the service panel the furnace is fed from is located between the furnace and the exit.
-- Steve
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wrote:

Someone made use of existing wiring/switches. I have a 60-yr-old house with unknown upgrades and a switch inside the front door that turns on a 2nd floor hall light. That is, this light can be turned on and off both at the front door and with a switch in the upstairs hall. There's also a combo of switches in the furnace room that have some arcane connection with the (detatched) garage, as well as a back porch light. Interesting to speculate "why," but easier to just let it go.
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Isn't that normal to want to be able to turn on the hall light before you go up the stairs? If I didn't have a switch at the bottom, I would put one in.
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wrote:

Yes, it's a reasonable idea. I've never used the front-door->upstairs-hall switch, but *do* use the reverse -- upstairs hall to living room light -- to signal "I know you're there. I'll be down in a minute." People have different ideas of utility. A bathroom light switch that also engages an exhaust fan makes me ashamed of the air polloution I'm creating by washing my hands. :-) Perhaps the OP's example reflected some problem/utility previous owners were concerned with. Or maybe just "what the hell, let's connect these extra wires."
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