What Is A Drain Stack In Plumbing?

Are you aware there is a vertical pipe that passes over your house that serves as the central point for your unified plumbing system? Well, there is! The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) defines a drain stack as a primary pipeline for any water or waste system that spans through different building or home floors. The drain stack is a very crucial part of your plumbing system.

Precisely, in plumbing, the stack is a huge pipe that takes all waste from other drains in your home, such as sink, toilets, bathtubs, etc. It’s rare for you to hear about plumbing stacks from the plumbers since the term refers to a whole long pipe. Instead, you will listen to them talk about drain stacks, vent stack, and soil stack. Usually, the vent stack is above the topmost drain of the home as it allows air to enter into the whole plumbing stack. 

As for a drain stack, it starts where the topmost fixtures begin draining into the plumbing stacks up to where the lowest fixtures drain into. In comparison, soil stack refers to everything below the most inadequate institutions and is connected to the sewer. However, drain stacks do last for a long time but eventually wear out, especially if you have an older home. You will need a professional plumber to do drain stack plumbing and fix up everything for you in such a case.

Drain Stack In Plumbing

How Does A Drain Stack Work?

A drain stack’s primary goal is to ensure that the pipes’ pressure is equal while preventing backflows. The central stack is vertical, thus allowing gases to properly vent while liquids and solids are pulled downwards into the main sewer line. That is a fundamental process because it moves waste quickly through your system to prevent contamination.

If your drain stack is not functioning well, there are chances you will start smelling lousy odor, having sluggish drains, gurgling toilets, wet spots, molds, etc. In such a case, it’s advisable to reach out to a drain stuck plumber to replace them right away. Replacing a drain stack is a risky, lengthy and complicated process. You need the proper skills to correctly perform the work and legal licensing from a professional plumbing service. Expert plumbers are also in a position to provide you with an estimate of drain stack plumbing cost.

What Is The Purpose Of A Stack Pipe?

Stack pipe is a crucial feature for any plumbing system since it increases the water flow efficiency through the pipes. Typically, it’s a vertical pipe that doesn’t carry any waster, and its principal purpose is to regulate air pressure all around the areas of your home’s plumbing system. Sometimes it’s known as plumbing vent or vent stack as well; it also prevents the remain of gases and smells inside the septic system.

That chimney-esque protrusion coming out your roof is what we are discussing. It does help with ventilation by ensuring gases won’t accumulate within the system. Instead, they are passed through the pipes leading out your home’s roof; at the same time vent stack keeps the water level inside the tubes that form the trap seal. If there is any odor in your home, it shows that the vent stack is not working correctly, though this happens rarely.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Sewer Stack?

The central stack’s replacement cost ranges from $1,500 to $4000, depending on length and accessibility. If steel, cast iron, brass stacks are adequately maintained, they can last between 70 and 100 years. PVC stacks can last you up to 30-40 years only; even so, it’s much easier to use.

Let’s also touch sewer repairs a little bit since they tend to be a rush job. Though it might cost you more for sure, it will keep your family safe while hindering more damages to your home. In this case, fixes include a simple clog to even replacing a section of pipe. To install a sewer main will cost approximately $3,000, while average sewer line cleaning cost you $300. As for the central line repairs, the average cost goes up to $2,500.

What Is The Difference Between A Soil Stack And A Waste Stack?

The soil stack pipe carries wastes from toilets to the house trap if you have it installed. It combines with the sewer line that spread outside the building and directs to a septic tank or a public sewer. In contrast, waste stack pipe refers to any vertical drain piping in your home that doesn’t carry sewage from the toilet. Usually, they have drainage away from the tubs, sinks, and showers.

The soil stack is the large-diameter main vertical waste pipe that extends outdoors above the building roof. The central drain piping section in the building that slopes closer to horizontal extends to the soil stack even though it moves waste horizontally where needed.

However, nowadays, the newer houses use a more straightforward single pipe system that maximizes an internal soil stack. It’s a thick vertical pipe that reaches out above your gutter to enable safe venting. The two lines, i.e., soil and waste pipe, will run from your sink, shower, toilet, washing machine, and any other appliances that void water and join the soil stack. Afterward, the stack runs straight into your underground drain.

Older homes are the ones that still use both soil and waste pipes that exit waste separately until they reach the drain. Afterward, they would combine and live your building through the underground sewer. It’s highly recommendable for one to use the right pipe, especially for dirty water.

Does Every Drain Need A Vent?

Absolutely, yes! Drains are a crucial part of your home plumbing system, and without them, there is no plumbing. So, every drain in your house, be it the kitchen sink, shower, laundry, toilet, floor drain, plus other appliances, needs venting. Vents are the basic allowance of atmospheric pressure in your gutters to avoid airlock from occurring.

Plumbing in your home is far more complicated than you think. Venting is as significant as the drainage itself, and without it, you will experience many problems. To prevent such from happening in the future, ensure both the drainage and vents pipes are installed during rough-in plumbing. 

Our Kitchen And Bathroom Pipes Connected?

Both the kitchen and bathroom have separate drain lines, but eventually, they will connect to a single line that goes straight into the sewer. If your sink is draining into your bathtub at all, something is wrong somewhere between your plumbing lines. If you notice such a thing, get an experienced plumber to check your plumbing system.

It’s good to familiarize yourself with how your plumbing drains do work. When there is a problem, you can think it through and pinpoint the issue. If you know one, two, three of plumbing, you might have minimal problems here and there. But if the matter is complicated, find a professional plumber to check it out.

How Far Can You Put A Toilet From The Stack?

Generally, your toilet should be no more than six feet away from where the stack is located, for a three inches waste line diameter. Suppose your waste-line diameter is four inches, then your toilet should be more than ten feet away from the stack. In short, the distance line between the bathroom and main stack depends mainly on the diameter of the waste line.

The main reason behind these two is that it changes the slope of the pipe. The drop rate of your lines should always be a quarter-inch per horizontal foot. In this case, the large the diameter, the further away the toilet will be from the stack to keep the right slope. If you plan to remodel and think of moving your bathroom, keep in mind how far it must be away from the stack. 

How Do You Know If Your Main Line Is Clogged?

It’s true; you will be worried that you may be experiencing a mainline clog every time there are some hitches here and there. But before you panic and start making phones calls take your time and check problem if there are these signs mentioned here:

1. Multiple Slow-Running Drains– when you notice that more than one of your gutters is running slow, there is a high indication that one clog is causing these problems. The issue will start on the first floor and get worse when you go up.

2. Gurgling Sound– if you hear a gurgling sound whenever you run water down the drain, it’s very likely you are having trouble draining.

3. Sewage Odors Coming From The Drains– the smell alone indicates that the sewage water is backing up into them, and there is a problem somewhere.

4. Water Backing Up Into Other Drains– when water starts coming out of the drain in a main floor shower or tub, it’s highly likely one has a main sewer line clog.

Final Word

Drain stack plumbing is a crucial part of your plumbing system, so do stack venting. It’s because all these enable you to feel safe in your home while enjoying the serene environment and fresh air. If you experience any problems with your drainage system, reach out to a professional plumber. 

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