Drain for Softener

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and r' started by elmwood, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. elmwood

    elmwood New Member

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    Oct 10, 2012
    Location:
    Missouri
    First timer here. So I've installed a water softener and put in a new water heater. Trying to figure out the drain situation. When the house was made there was a 1 1/2" PVC pipe put in the floor for the A/C air handler. The Contractor has the pipe coming out of the floor about 1' then placed an elbow and a reducer in it for 3/4" pipe. Coming out of the A/C air handler is 3/4" and a series of elbows forming a "P" trap and loosely fiting into the reducer. This is my only place to use for the water heater and the softener. The water heater overflow was originally only piped to overflow out on to the floor but I want it so that if it did would go into the drain. Now adding the water softener I need a place to put the overflow and the drain hose. Can someone throw me a bone on an idea of how to handle all of this? This is in a basement that is used and there needs to be some sort of a P trap for sewage order. I had thought to just get more 1 1/2" pipe and elbows and form a circle with 4 elbows and then put a 1 1/2" to 3" reducer on top and have all 4 (A/C air handler, water heater and 2 softener) hoses and pipes suspended above that to drain. I figured since the softener drain periodically that would provide water to keep the "P" trap with water to maintain the block for the sewer gas. One other thing, the A/C air handler, water heater and softener are all side by side.

    I do hope this makes some sort of sense to someone to give me ideas. If need be I can post a pic online later this evening to provide a pure visual and post a link here.

    Thanks,
    Eric (elmwood)
     
  2. mialynette2003

    mialynette2003 Member

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    If there are no sewer gases coming from it now, then most likely it is not tied into your sewer system or it already has a pee trap. I am not a plumber but most of the floor drains I have seen do not drain into the sewer system. They merely seep into the ground. Use a hose and try to run about 3 GPM into the floor drain for about 15 minutes. If it keeps up with the flow, you could use it for a softener drain. I don't think it will.
     
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  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    You can check to see if there is a p-trap by shining a light down the 1.5" standpipe. You should be able to see the water seal.
    Yes, floor drains do connect to the waste system.
     
  5. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

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    If you are on 'city' sewer, the floor drain could be connected to the sewer line but if you have an on site septic tank/system, it more than likely won't be and the dry well it is connected to may not be large enough for the volume of discharge water from a softener.

    The best place to connect the drain line is into the house drain lines in the ceiling of the basement. You can run the standard 5/8' OD PE line (called 1/2") across the basement on the ceiling as far as needed. Or use the drain for a clothes washer in the basement.
     
  6. elmwood

    elmwood New Member

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    Oct 10, 2012
    Location:
    Missouri
    I appreciate people chiming in but the point is being missed here. There is a drain pipe already in existence in the basement floor in front of my A/C air handler. It is part of the sewage system which is city (county actually but that doesn't matter it's not septic), there is no P trap in the pipe below ground. The pipe is only 1 1/2". I need to be able to put the A/C drain, water heater overflow and water softener overflow and drain in a configuration so it all fits into the one drain pipe. I know regulations state that I need to have an air gap between the sewage drain pipe and the 4 drains I'm trying to have use this one. I was just looking for some sort of solution to the problem of 4 drain lines using 1 pipe and a good solution to a P trap solution to keep the sewage gases out. Everything I am dealing with here is in the basement.

    The only thing I can come up with is to make a P trap with 1 1/2" and then put a 1 1/2" to 3" reducer on top. This would make it look like a funnel. I am trying to avoid having a weird and large configuration of pipes.

    Thanks,
    Eric (elmwood)
     
  7. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

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    Maybe you missed a point or two.... IF the floor drain was connected to the sewer line and it has no trap as you say, you would have sewer gas in the basement.

    Now if you don't have sewer gas in the basement, the line is not connected to a sewer and most likely you have yourself a dry well or the pipe is connected to a foundation drain system etc.. If a dry well it doesn't have to be very large for what is now draining into the floor drain.

    Hook up a garden hose and run about 3 gallons per minute of water into the drain for not less than 10 minutes, I suggest 15 is a better test, and see if the drain can handle that but if it does, then repeat the test after waiting 10 minutes and see f it can handle that water flow.

    If not, your softener can not be drained into that drain. If you don't want to do the test, go with your idea and hook up the water heater and softener to the drain and see how long things go well without flooding the basement. BTW, you can install a piece of 3" into the 1.5" x 3" fitting and drill holes in it to create an air gap and connect your drain lines to the top of the pipe.

    And as I said, there will be drain lines in the ceiling and that is where the softener drain should go. I certainly wouldn't want the contraption you are designing poking up in my basement floor...
     
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    We often use fittings to make a "funnel if we need to drain a lot of pipes. A picture posted would have helped us with what you had going on there.
    Frankly, I can't imagine an inspector not insisting on a p-trap for a floor drain. If you have a standpipe now, it would be a simple and quick job to install a p-trap above ground, with the funnel to add your collection of pipes. A Studor or AAV could vent the p-trap.
    And a picture would be nice.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  9. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    4 x 1-1/2 reducing coupling
     
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    A funnel on a drain.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. rafjr64

    rafjr64 New Member

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    Sep 3, 2015
    Location:
    Dixon, California
    That's a clean looking job. I have a slight twist on this and would appreciate anyone's help. Converted garage to laundry room and playroom for kids. In laundry room I have one drain that handles only three things 1) softener discharge 2) heat pump water heater condensate 3) water heater pressure relief. I ran a straight pipe 2ft up the wall and then down under the floor 90 degrees and straight out the side of the house. I just dug a 3' x 3' x 3' dry well pit and I am ready to connect everything. Dry well will be lined with geo-textile fabric, filled with gravel, covered with fabric, then 1ft of dirt. The discharge pipe will be placed at half the depth of the gravel and halfway into the gravel. QUESTIONS:

    1) Do I need a P trap in this set up? There is no sewage in this drain but I wonder of the dry well would get smelly?
    2) Do I need a vent if I don't seal the end of the pipe in the laundry room where the three lines enter the drain? Does the the end of the funnel where the pipes enter and the end of the pipe in the drywell provide enough of a vent?
    3) Should I be concerned with insects coming up through the pipe and into the laundry room?
    This is 2" or 2.5" abs pipe.
     

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  12. Bannerman

    Bannerman Active Member

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    Ontario, Canada
    Not sure why you are not draining those appliances to the sewer/septic system or if draining them to a dry well would be legal in your area. Those issues however are not what you are questioning.

    1) Do I need a P trap in this set up? There is no sewage in this drain but I wonder of the dry well would get smelly?
    A 'P' trap is a simple safety device to prevent sewage gas (methane) and odors (usually from bacteria) from entering the living space. It would be simpler to add a trap now then later finding there is an issue and having to retrofit a trap to an existing installation.
    2) Do I need a vent if I don't seal the end of the pipe in the laundry room where the three lines enter the drain? Does the the end of the funnel where the pipes enter and the end of the pipe in the drywell provide enough of a vent?
    A vent is not located on the inlet side but is situated on the drain side of the trap to allow air into the drain line to 'break' a vacuum condition resulting from the flowing drain water. Venting is intended to prevent water from being sucked out from the trap, ensuring water remains to provide a gas tight seal. The vent pipe is typically 'terminated' above the roof as an open air vent stack.
    3) Should I be concerned with insects coming up through the pipe and into the laundry room?
    A 'P' trap should prevent this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  13. rafjr64

    rafjr64 New Member

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    Location:
    Dixon, California

    Thanks for your reply. Main reason did not tie into existing drain is lack of funds. Did not want to tear wall apart - did not have funds to pay the necessary tradesman to accomplish this. The dry well is legal in my area. Question 1: Is there enough flow from softener regen to move water thru p-trap?

    Question 2: And at times when softener is not regenerating but only water heater condensate is dripping, does that water heater condensate have enough volume in a 2" pipe to move water thru the p-trap and not back-up into the building? It only drips. Or is it more of a case that once enough water loads up in the pipe, that gravity will push it thru the p-trap? Water would have to travel 15' and then up 2' to back-up into building.
     
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    In my non-professional opinion, water always flows downhill. Only problem I can see here is if the dry-well becomes a wet-well to the extent that the drain is effectively plugged, water backs up to the rim of the P-trap thingy, then you will have water overflowing as long at the water arrives faster than it leaves, either via drainage or evaporation. Obviously the risk is proportional to the flow rate of incoming water -- for condensate drip, minimal; for a softener regeneration discharge, more; for the water heater pressure relief, all bets are off.
     
  15. Bannerman

    Bannerman Active Member

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    Location:
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    To answer both questions, minimum water flow has no relevance to the operation on how a "P' trap operates.

    A trap is similar to a drinking glass filled to the brim. If one more drop of liquid is added, then one drop will overflow the brim to flow down the side of the glass. If 5 ounces are added, then 5 ounces will flow over the brim.

    Compare Terry's photo of the 'funnel on a drain'. The trap (curved section = the water glass) remains always filled with water. The water in the trap acts as a gas tight seal to prevent sewer gas and odor emitted from the sewer or septic system, from exiting into the open room. Any amount of water added to the funnel (inlet side) will flow through the trap to flow out the outlet into the drain pipe where it will then flow to the sewer or septic via gravity. The outlet is at a lower height than the inlet but in Terry's photo, that may not be so obvious.

    FYI, a 1 cuft water softener (9" diameter tank) will typically flow to drain at a maximum 2 gpm for a portion of the regeneration cycle. A 1.5 cuft softener (10" tank) will be 2.4 gpm and a 2 cuft (12" tank) will flow 3-3.5 gpm.
     
  16. rafjr64

    rafjr64 New Member

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  17. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Ontario California
    Codes vary by municipality, but in general The pluming portion of the Residential Code (P2706.2), allows for a minimum height of 18 inches above the trap with a maximum height of 42 inches. This is more specifically for Laundry drains, but I would assume it would apply for softening/filtration drain.
    I am sure a real plumber on this sight will have more/better information.
     
  18. Bannerman

    Bannerman Active Member

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    That depends on the purpose of the vertical pipe leading upwards from the 'T' to the right of the trap.

    If the pipe leading from above is not used for draining water but extends up through the roof or connects to the main stack above all other drains, that would be the vent for the trap shown.

    If that pipe is used for draining a fixture located above, then the trap shown may not be considered by code to be vented. With an un-vented drain, falling water from above may create a vacuum condition which could result in water being drawn from the trap shown in the photo.

    For additional feedback, you may wish to post your question in the plumbing forum, not just the water softener forum.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  19. rafjr64

    rafjr64 New Member

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    Dixon, California

    The vertical pipe is open in the room...a vent. Was going to add an AAV to it.
     
  20. Bannerman

    Bannerman Active Member

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Depends on code requirements for your area. Auto Air Vents no longer meet code in my province.

    You now appear to be understanding the drain vent concept. Air entering that pipe above the 'T' will 'break' any vacuum resulting from water falling below the 'T', thereby preventing water from being drawn from the 'P' trap. The AAV should prevent sewer gas & odor from entering the living space.

    Here's a YT video which maybe of interest:
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  21. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Water systems designer, R&D, Technical Director
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    Ontario California
    AAV... never been a fan of them, especially in an occupied areas. I agree with banning them. I have seen a few in my 30 years that were not working, If it is going to be installed in an unoccupied location (garage, shed etc.) then I might consider it.
     
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