Use cleanout for sink drain

pachaiJuly 15, 2012


I have a basement bathroom that lacks one thing...a sink.

Three options present themselves...

1. There is a cleanout. a 24"x18" vanity would cover it nicely, so I could open the cleanout and put a new PVC cleanout and some fittings for a 2" drain, and set the vanity over it. I would need to find a path for a vent stack. It might be hard to get all the way to the attic without demolition. There is a 2" cast iron pipe that seems to head toward the pipe chase where the soil stack is, might be a vent, but I don't know how hard it is to tap into that.

2. The soil stack is nearby, but it is cast iron. One plumber said that's a big job. I read a bit about it, and I am not so interested in that job.

3. There is a sink that replaces a toilet lid and you can wash your hands for free with the water that will refill the tank. People who were willing to try it seem to like it. The ad says it is easy to install.

The factors are:

1. a real vanity would add more value to the house - and that is the reason for wanting to do this now, for a refi.

(The cost to implement 1 or 3 would be similar, about $150), though I really would like any sink soon.

2. The tank-lid-replacement stunt probably does not require a permit. Getting a permit would add expense, and might just be enough to make me get a plumber.

3. If I open the cleanout to stub it up to a new cleanout, am I going to have a flood? This cleanout is probably as low in the house as anything else. (in other words, is a cleanout going to be full of water? under pressure?

4. Would I really need to have a new cleanout? Above the toilet in this same room is a PVC with a cleanout, but it is not directly on the pipe out to the street. There is one 90 degree to the main stack, and another to get to the street. A second floor-level cleanout is across the basement further from the street.

I appreciate your comments and insights


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A cleanout is a cleanout. It's not there to add a sink to. You NEED a plumber to look at other options and give you his professional opinion. And YES, you need a permit. If it's not done correctly and with a permit, it doesn't add any value to the home. It actually detracts value to the home when it has to be ripped out and the fine paid because it wasn't done correctly and with a permit.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 3:50PM
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You may tie into the drain line through that cleanout providing you still retain a cleanout of the same size.

Begin by removing the cap and thoroughly cleaning the femal threads of the existing cleanout with a wire brush.

Now apply pipe dope to the male threads of a PVC male thread adapter and screw the thread adapter into the existing cleanout.

Stub up a short piece of schedule 40 PVC and attach a DWV grade Tee with the side inlet of the Tee pointing towards the wall and at the elevation where you want your new drain line to tie in.

Now install a PVC Female thread adapter on the top of the Tee and screw a plug into the threads. (that is your new cleanout).

A word of caution here. From the existing cleanout up to the new cleanout you must maintain the same size as the original cleanout.

Per code tables the proper size for a Lavatory drain & p-trap is 1-1/4", however a lavatory is the only fixture in a residential structure that is allowed an 1-1/4" drain & P-trap. Code will allow us to increase the size of a line by "one nominal trade size" which would then be 1-1/2". In order to preclude the necessity of maintaining an complete inventory of 1-1/4" pipe and fittings just for single lavatory drain most plumbers opt to increase to 1-1/2". (In fact, most big box stores do not even stock 1-1/4" pipe & fittings).

In your post you stated the existing cleanout is 2" so the bottom Tee must also be 2" but your new line will be 1-1/2" so you have two options.
1. You can install a 2" x 1-1/2" reducer bushing in the side opening of the bottom tee or:
2. You can get a reducing Tee. When specifying the size of a Tee if all the openings are the same size we describe it by the size, example, if all the openings are 2" it is then said to be a 2" Tee. For a reducing tee the top inlet or the side inlet may be smaller than the outlet size. In this case the tee is specified by the size of the top inlet, bottom outlet and the size so for your application you would need "a 2" x 2" x 1-1/2" reducing tee". Either method is perfectly acceptable.

You will then run a length of PVC back to the wall and install a "1/4 bend" turning up.

Note: PVC pipe is used for both pressurized water supply and DWV (drain, waste & vent) but the fittings for either service are damatically different. Pressure fitting elbows all have a sharp change of direction whereas DWV fittings all have a radius curve and the two types of fittings MAY NOT be interchangted. In the plumbing trade in oder to insure we get the correct fittings all elbows intended for pressure pipe are identified by the angle of the fitting expressed in degrees. I.E. a 90deg elbow, 45deg elbow etc.

Elbows intended for DWV have a radius curve and the are called "Bends" as if one literally bent the pipe at that point. The actual angle is expressed as the fraction of a circle the bend represents. A circle has 360deg so a 90deg DWV elbow would be a 1/4bend (360/4=90) and a 45deg DWV elbow would be an 1/8bend. We also have a 1/6th bend(60deg), 16th bend(22.5deg).

Next run a section of PVC vertical until you reach the height were you want the sink trap and drain to connect, where you will install another Sani-Tee so the line to the trap can connect on the side inlet of the tee.

From the top of the tee you will extend the line on up and on the top you will install another femal thread adapter, into which you will screw an AAV (air admittance valve-commonly called a studor vent or cheater vent). You should stub that line up as high as is practical but it must be a minimum of 4" from the top of the pipe to the trap to the bottom of the AAV.

Now stub a short section of pipe from the side inlet of the tee out to where you want to connect the P-trap from the sink and install a "Trap Adapter" on the end of that line.

you now have a code approved tie in with a vent for the sink.

see attached illustration

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 3:56PM
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I am a plumber and I am telling you, if you do it in the manner I described you will be fine, and you do not need a permit.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Careful with the advice of lazypup. Where I live you certainly need a permit for this. And... air admittance values (though they are great and local plumbers will bootleg them in) are not legal.

The toilet toppers require no permit, and work fine, but keep in mind you get cold water. Depending on how lazy the appraiser is they may count that as completing the 1/2 bath.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:29AM
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I don't know where brycinesbitt is from and don't really care but I do know this... There are two national model codes in the U.S., from which the individual state codes are derived.

The International Code allows an unlimited number of AAV's

The Uniform Plumbing Code allows a Maximum of one AAV per structure.

And there is no permit required because the installation as I outlined it does not alter or modify the configuration of the original layout.

Now if you care to continue arguing, kindly tell us where you live and I will be happy to look it up in your code and give you the code references.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 1:56AM
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i only skimmed the long advice post earlier in this thread, so act as though I didn't even read it. My subject here is the advice of any person appearing to be highly competent.

there is never any specific "right" thread to post this, so here goes: I have previously spotted mistakes in lazypup's advice, and he refuses to respond to it with a simple "oh, golly, yes". Someone who never allows himself to make a mistake is someone whose advice is to be taken as merely one good source among many.

Any internet friend posting answers is merely one good source among many.

My post here does not discuss the specific advice contained in lazypup's long post above. I think it's great to see so much description, and to see lazypup helping so many people. Thank you lazypup!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 9:46AM
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Yea,,,well you can all kiss my advice goodbye

I actually did spend 4 years completing the apprenticeship and worked almost 30 years as a commercial & residential plumber with a company that operated in 11 states, yet everyday I try to share my expertise only to have hackers, wannabees and DIY'ers challenge everything I say...Well I officially retired from plumbing 5 years ago,,,and today I am retiring from trying to help ppl free....if you want advice from a real plumber your just gonna have to pay for it, or you can take your chances with the ppl on these forums who are not plumbers and probably don't even personally know a plumber.

There is one thing that I have noticed from these forums..Whenever a question comes up that actually requires knowledge of the codes nobody wants to go out on a limb and try to answer it, in fact, many times when a question was posted that only required fundamental knowledge of the codes I purposely refrained from answering for a couple days to allow others an opportunity,,,but they don't step up. Well they better step up now because I am done.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 10:14AM
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Lazy pup,

Sorry that you have gotten anything but thanks for your help over the years here. It is a rare problem that has a single answer- even under the silly Masonic shroud that tradespeople wave like a medieval sword: "It's Code!!! And No One But Those Admitted To Our Holy Order Could Possibly Understand!!!"

This is not say that uninformed or under-informed people don't do loads and loads of stupid sometimes dangerous stuff; they do. What I object to, something that happens so often in these and other forums, is that people forget that advise should be offered in a friendly and constructive manner. Based on your posting demeanor, "constructive" is the manner in which I believe you offer your expertise and advise.

Sadly, the spirit of "constructive" (ironically in a construction forum) is thrown aside so that experts can engage in a measuring contest. Again, there always more ways than one to solve problems; despite obvious expertise, people demean the cooperative element of forums and the obvious benefits of crowd sourcing to prove they are the only ones with divine knowledge of "The Code!!!". This behavior seems no more constructive than men lining up with a ruler in the locker room to prove who is the smartest.

Thanks for the generous spirit with which you engaged. Sorry to have lost your help.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:50PM
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