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Rick
Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 13687
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
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Sewer line was installed 2010. It goes from a plastic 4" main

Customer Question

Sewer line was installed 2010. It goes from a plastic 4" main to a plastic 3" to a cast iron 4" in the stone wall to a 4" plastic underground outside. We have flooding/leaking at the wall inside the house where the 3" meets the 4" cast iron in the wall. Was this even legal? How to find out? Just purchased the home. In a small rural borough in PA.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 1 year ago.

Rick :

Welcome, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do my best to help with your issue

Based on your description is sounds like the pipe size was reduced from 4" to 3" in the direction of flow. This is the only thing that's illegal that I can tell from what you're saying

Customer:

Where can I find the regulations or code? It seems confusing online.

Rick :

Pennsylvania has confusing jurisdictional issues. I'm from NH so I can't speak to specifics in your area. Your best bet would be to contact the local code enforcement officer. My answer is based on standard plumbing practice and the IPC which is the most widely accepted National plumbing code. I don't know if the IPC is what is followed where you are

Customer:

sounds good - I guess this is probably our best route as I don't want to have the water in the basement every time we use the washer or shower, etc. The amt of rain we've had hasn't helped either. But if what you are saying about the reduction of the pipe in the direction of the flow - I thought that was quite odd - thank you. Any other advice you can give me about a remedy? I'm hoping we can just replace the 3" pipe in the basement and connect to the 4" cast in the foundation without too much work...

Rick :

It's not clear to me if the water is coming from the pipe joint or around the pipe where it goes through the wall. If it's coming from the joint then you probably have a stoppage which really shouldn't be happening with a line as new as this one. The size reduction could be the cause

Rick :

If the piping is exposed it shouldn't be too much trouble to replace the 3"

Customer:

The line is flowing fine. Plumber yesterday confirmed that and we rented a power drain cleaner over the weekend to unclog anything. There was nothing we could find. The plumber said it could be the pipe wasn't sealed properly.

Customer:

You can barely see the 4" cast iron pipe in the stone foundation.

Rick :

Could the water be coming from around the pipe? given all the rain we've been having it's a possibility. Otherwise I'd agree with your plumber

Customer:

It could be - but it is worse when we run the washer or use the shower - not the toilet

Customer:

maybe the amount of flow from the washer is just too much

Rick :

That's possible since it pumps out under pressure.

Customer:

I agree with that. What we can't see is the water actually coming from the pipe. It just comes through the stone

Customer:

so I'm guessing it's on the outside of the wall or inside the wall the pipe isn't connected

Customer:

but I guess the only way we'll be able to fix it is to open it up and I'm afraid that will be expensive

Rick :

Sounds like a bad connection if it's worse when you use the system. I'm afraid the only way you can fix or diagnose this is to expose the pipe

Rick :

There's no way I can tell from here if it will be expensive or not

Customer:

I realize that.

Customer:

Is there any way to get a hold of the codes that would over see this situation to read them?

Rick :

It sounds like you have a workmanship defect. There's nothing in the codes specific to this other than work must be done properly so it doesn't leak.

Customer:

But the downsize from the 4" to the 3" is illegal and that I can work on

Rick :

Yes, reducing from 4" to 3" in the direction of flow is illegal. You can increase the pipe size but not reduce it. The theory being that you cause a restriction if you reduce the size

Customer:

We've already unclogged it once...

Customer:

Thank you so much for your help!

Rick :

You're welcome!

Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 13687
Experience: Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
Rick and 2 other Plumbing Specialists are ready to help you

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