I have a home that was built around 1940 and I am selling it.
The buyers had an inspector tell them that the drains from the sink are not
vented and he is correct. I don't believe when the home was built it was
required, and in my opinion it is not reasonable to expect an already
existing home to be brought up to code after the fact especially since the
walls would have to be torn out.
My plumber already said that the plumbing is in good working condition and
that it would be unreasonable to install vents after the fact.
Can anyone steer me or cite the Illinois plumbing code that states the
requirements for venting sink drains and if there is no requirement for it
to be vented since the house was built before the code was written?
Well every fixture in your house MUST be vented. I don't have a copy
of the code as it was written in the 1940's, but I suspect that the
original code requirements would have definitely required that your
sinks be vented. Plumbing has been around for a long time. Proper
venting sorta falls under the plumbing 101/remedial deck. I find what
you say difficult to fathom.
All that aside, if your sinks need to be vented, they make air
admittance valves that can easily be installed without tearing out any
So just do what the inspector wants and install some air admittance
valves and be done with it. They cost about $25/each.
Any plumber in town can get your AAV's installed without tearing out
anything. So don't panic. This is not a big thing.
For the record, the inspector has already done his damage by
underscoring a problem that may not actually exist. He does not have
the right to require that you bring the house up to the current codes.
Codes have changed significantly over the last ten years (let alone
the changes that have happened over the last 70-years). If home
inspectors required that property be brought up to current code, most
of them would have to be torn down to the footing and re-built from
the ground up. (in fact a lot of them would need a new foot poured
I seriously doubt that the sinks in your house have been working fine
for 70 years without a vent. I think this home inspector is flat-out
wrong. Before you pay your plumber anything at all, have him verify
the status of the vents. That doesn't sound right to me. If the
plumber determines that this home inspector is mistaken, don't pay the
plumber to do shit. Just slip him a few dollars for his time and ask
him to put it in writing. Then make a phone call to your friendly home
inspector and tell him to amend his report...or his erros and
omissions insurance just bought a house (the cost for chasing a buyer
away from the deal in the first place). Frankly...I find it very hard
to believe that not a single sink in your house is vented. It would
also suggest that NOTHING in your house is vented as most of us will
use the vent from the lavatory to wet-vent both the toilet and the
tub. This does not make sense to me.
More than likely, the plumber pulled a line off the same stack that
serves the toilet and bathtub and then tied it all back together in
the attic so you wouldn't have a dozen roof penetrations. Personally,
most of us like to tie our vents together. Most of us shoot for ONLY
That's a good point. Thanks for the update on when the codes were
actually written. That's one little fact I did not know. I know that
in my state, they didn't start enforcing ANY of the building codes at
all until 1976. So there are lots of older homes around here that
aren't built quite up-to-snuff.
However, it has been my experience that even without specific codes, a
lot of those older homes are built to a sort of tradesman code. Even
buildings that were built pre-code were built pretty well. However, I
don't agree with the people who roll their eyes and say "they don't
build 'em like they used to. I think it's a good thing that they
"don't build 'em like they used to."
I did own a 105-year old home over in the city. I was pretty
impressed. This damn thing was framed completely with old hard oak.
Just hammering nails into the joists to hang pipe was a major pain in
There getting better though. Watch for pine construction to fall away.
There is a new trend that is going to revolutionize the way homes are
built. Slowly but surely, it appears that metal-framed homes are
becoming more and more popular. In addition, they've started to build
homes where the walls are no framed in any traditional manner. The
studs are not exactly studs. Instead, they're welding up a skeletal
frame. It's a very cool development in the trades.
I'll be building a spec home with a friend in the next 6-months. The
plan is to do a cost comparison between welded metal vs. metal stud
framing vs. pine framing to see how the costs pan out along the entire
project. I'm pretty excited about it. Since it's spec, I'll have a
chance to try out some of my inventions on a real project.
As for the dude with the venting issue....SEND ME EMAIL. I'll take my
digital camera and email you a step-by-step and show you how to do
this thing yourself with the studor vents.
You say the buyer is the one yanking your chain not the city inspector. He
is just trying to find an angle for a discount. If you're smart, you
already overpriced the house to account for cheap asses like that. Unless
it has been hard to sell, let him walk, if he really wants the location, he
will buy iy anyway.
Unless the city gets involved or you cannot sell the house like that, you
can just do nothing.
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