LESLIE: Now we’ve got Mike on the line who’s got a drain issue. What’s going on at your money pit?
MIKE: House was built in 1999. It’s on a septic, which is actually part two of my question. And the kitchen sink – I don’t know – about five months ago or so started draining slowly. And so – I am not actually on a direct vent. It has a vent – what do they call it? I just pulled it off – a mini-vent underneath the sink, because it’s on an inside island or what-have-you, so there’s no vent stack.
And so I took the mini-vent off, brought it to Home Depot or wherever. And I replaced it with another one thinking, “Well, maybe it got clogged or what-have-you.” And it still is draining slow. Now when I – if I have a sink full of water and I undo the vent, it will actually drain quickly.
TOM: Yeah. I think you’re talking about a – you’re calling this a “mini-vent.” I think you’re talking about an air-admittance valve.
TOM: Basically an under-sink vent. When you don’t have a space for a roof vent, you have one of these air-admittance valves. And you tried two of them and it’s still not working well?
MIKE: Well, the one – yeah, the one started slowing down. It worked fine before and then when I took that off and put – but then over time, it slowly slowed down. And so I took that off and put the new one in. I guess my question is: can I extend that higher? Because right now, it’s about – I don’t know – 4 or 5 inches below the sink. So I have enough room where I could put a 4-inch piece of PVC a little bit higher. And I’m wondering if that would help bring it in.
TOM: Yeah, it really shouldn’t make a difference.
Now, I wonder if there’s another way you could get to this vent because, sometimes, you can vent through the floor joist and over to the wall and intercept with the vertical vent there. It doesn’t always have to go straight up from the kitchen.
TOM: Because, sometimes, what you do is you take the drain from the kitchen sink, right? And where it turns down the drain, the water – you sort of go up in sort of a U-shape pipe, then go back down again and then across the floor joist and join the vent and go up. You kind of create this venting loop that could let more air in.
Have you talked to a plumber about other possibilities?
MIKE: I haven’t yet. No, no. We just wait an extra two minutes and then it goes down but …
TOM: Yeah. Well, sooner or later you’re going to get really annoyed with all that time. And I also wonder if maybe you could step it up and put a bigger air-admittance valve in, too.
MIKE: So that was the other thought – was right now it’s an inch-and-a-half. But it’s right on top of the drain. So, for instance, it’s almost like a W. I’ve got the dishwasher coming in one, the sink in the other and this air-admittance valve just above it. So, again, the thought was if I could extend that W, the center one, a little bit higher but it sounds like that won’t make much of a difference.
TOM: I don’t think it will. So what’s your septic question?
TOM: There are disposers that are specifically designed for septic systems and the difference is that they grind the food up into a finer particulate. And I think if you do that, you’ll be fine.
MIKE: OK. Perfect for when I’ll talk to my plumber for both issues.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.