I saw Richard Trethewey of Ask This Old House install an AAV as part of a kitchen island sink system. I thought I might be able to use one for the water line for my washing machine. I'd like to relocate the machine but I don't want to have to open a lot of wall area for the air vent. The AAV seems like an good approach but apparently its not code in a lot of places.

I live in the San Francisco Bay area of northern California. Apparently California has the "California Building Code (CBC)...based on the... International Building Code (IBC)" but I think one has to be a professional plumber to read those. How can I find out if I'm allowed to install an AAV?

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    I have found building departments to be really helpful for this sort of thing. Ask to speak to one of the residential building inspectors and they will be able to tell you. – auujay Mar 27 '12 at 14:19
  • I don't recall the exact amount, but your drain can run laterally some distance before hitting the vent stack, and also your vent pipe can jog using 45's to get to a good place to penetrate the roof. I used both of these techniques to move my washer to a more convenient place. – dbracey Mar 27 '12 at 16:20
  • @dbracey: I'd need to move my washer about 8 feet laterally but the two plumbers who gave me estimates said that they'd have to run a new vent line up and out instead. That added a lot to the labor costs which is why I'm considering the AAV. One said he wasn't certain that the current vent pipe was actually venting, even after going up into the attic. They were highly rated contractors (on yelp) so I'm not sure what to believe. – Ryan Mar 27 '12 at 18:47

Your municipality's Building Department will be really helpful for this sort of thing. At least in the USA, some cities are small enough that they do not have their own building department but may use the counties instead. Either way, they will know what codes apply for your property and can get you the correct answer.

Ask to speak to one of the residential building inspectors. Simply calling on the phone is probably enough, though they may have certain rules about when an AAV can and cannot be used and talking to them in person may make it easier for you to explain your situation (a picture can be a thousand words).

They will want you to get a permit. This is not a bad idea and in my City it is pretty cheap if you are the homeowner and doing the work yourself. If you really do not want to get a permit you can still ask them about it since you are simply in the planning stages now and tell them you will pull the permit once you actually start working on your project.

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  • Thanks auujay, thanks make a lot of sense. At first I thought you meant a department of my local home center (in which cased I'd be SOL) but then I realized you were talking about my city. – Ryan Mar 27 '12 at 18:38
  • @Ryan- Noted, I will edit my answer to make it clear :) – auujay Mar 27 '12 at 19:19

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