Proper method for piping existing floor drains

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by cl1, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. cl1

    cl1 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Location:
    Vermont
    Hello all, first post here, but long time appreciative reader. I'm hoping to find help with a somewhat unique situation that I can't find any references to in the archives - here are the relevant facts:

    I have three floor drains in my attached garage, not sure if they are trapped or not. When I bought the house, I assumed they worked fine - I don't wash my cars in the garage or anything like that, so the only thing that went in them is melted snow I would track in with the car or on foot. Months go by, then suddenly they are backed up and won't drain anymore. I snake them, plunge them, pour drano in them, etc. Finally I find a pipe in the basement of the house with a Fernco cap on it and realize these floor drains aren't hooked up to anything. So what I have is a 2" PVC line that enters the basement at a level about two feet below my main 3" horizontal drain serving the fixtures in the house. I do have a floor drain in the basement that connects to my basement sump, so I have considered piping over to this floor drain and allowing it to drain freely much like the condensate drain from the furnace. That would probably be fine for the minuscule amount of flow this drain receives, plus I wouldn't have any connection to the sewer so no worries about trapping these drains properly. However, at some point I will likely add a washer and utility sink to the garage.... now, getting those fixtures hooked to the drainage system and properly vented won't be a problem as I have the elevation I need, BUT this will mean there there is now live water lines in the garage and that brings about the potential for a leak/overflow/whatever that causes the garage floor drains to take on a serious amount of water, which will quickly exceed the capacity of the solution described above. That brings me to option 2 - install a pre-assembled drain pump system such as what one would use with a utility sink in a basement. My questions are:

    Will the fact that the water is flowing into the utility pump strait down from an elevation of 6' or so from the floor be an issue?

    When venting the utility pump, how high do I need to bring the new vent before tying into an existing vertical vent?

    What is the best way to trap this whole mess in the event that the existing floor drains have integral traps vs if it turns out that they do not? I'm guessing they do not since the previous owner was a hack cheapskate who didn't bother to connect the other end of this system to anything. As an aside, he also installed all his own gas distribution piping using 3/4" soldered copper pipe and nearly burned the house down by the looks of the torch marks on the floor joists. No idea if that is legal or not, but I've been a general contractor for 20 years and never seen anything but black iron used in this area, so seemed pretty bizarre to me. Fortunately this was a modular house so there was a very limited amount of stuff he could work on.

    On the subject of traps, the Zoeller unit boasts being able to put the trap inside the enclosure, whereas the Liberty and Little Giant does not mention this idea. Any opinions on this?

    Thanks very much for any advice you can offer
     
  2. hj

    hj Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    First point, "soldered" copper gas lines are NEVER "okay", the reason being that in case of a fire the joints would melt, come apart, and the flowing gas would contribute to the blaze.
    2. Pour water down the drains, then look down the drains and see if there is water in them, if so, they are trapped. If so they are trapped.
     
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  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    Occupation:
    Test, Don't Guess!
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Where I am, it is illegal to have a floor drain in a garage connected to the sanitary sewer unless there is an installed oil/water seperator. Before you move forward, you should research the codes where you are located.
     
  5. cl1

    cl1 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Location:
    Vermont
    A couple things I realize I should have mentioned:

    The sewer connection is to an on site septic system, not municipal. As to the codes, there is no local code enforcement authority where I am. Only the cities large enough to justify a building dept. have any kind of inspection process. All the same, I am primarily concerned with doing this in the way that will function the best over time, even if that means more work involved.

    btw HJ, I didn't think it was safe either for the same reason, so I ripped out the copper gas lines right after I bought the house and replaced all of it with black iron.
     
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