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» ICC Bulletin Board » Code Chat » Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas Codes » Studer Vents

   
Author Topic: Studer Vents
zeboba
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Are Studer vents approved by the IPC.Is this a good product or just a way for contractors to save cash???
Posts: 68 | From: ASU-Tempe. AZ. | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hurricane
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In your bookcase you will find the International Plumbing Code. A "Studor" vent is an air admittance valve. In the index of your code book you will find Air Admittance Valves. The index will refer you to Section 917, Air Admittance Valves and it is here you will find your answer.
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Navy Seabee
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zeboba,

The IPC DOES allow these mechanical devices to be used. Is your particular situation a Residential, Commercial or Industrial application ?

Like a lot of things, these devices must be properly installed in the appropriate locations.
If it is a Residentail application and they are not installed properly, the homeowner WILL have issues to address down the road, and most homeowners do not know that these devices are even installed in their brand new Mc-Mansions. [Eek!]

Yes! They DO save the builder money, but they will cost the homeowner down the road. If the builder insists on installing one of these in an attic area, then require him / her to have an approved attic walkway, a switch controlled light and an electrical receptacle installed by each one installed. Technically, these devices ARE a piece of mechanical equipment ( moving parts ), and because they are, the mechanical codes also apply.

We've had experience with these devices here. A particular builder whined and complained enough here so that a previous Building Official allowed him to install it, ...in an area of the attic that is unlighted, no walkway and no receptacle.
Makes it kinda hard on the unsuspecting homeowner to diagnose and fix a drain vent that no longer functions properly, doesn't it ?

One manufacturer of these air admittance valves is Studor. Check their web site out for more info:

www.studor.com


Hope this helps! [Smile]

.

[ 04-05-2007, 08:02 AM: Message edited by: Navy Seabee ]

Posts: 202 | From: MS | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Hurricane
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Navy Seabee,

http://www.toolbase.org/pdf/techinv/aavs_techspec.pdf

see page 3.

There is no requirement for walkways, lights and receptacles for AAVs in attics. There never was and probably never will be a requirement.

IPC 917.4 and 917.5 covers location and access.

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Paul Sweet
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They're permitted, but I try to avoid using them unless it would be extremely difficult to install a conventional vent pipe.
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Navy Seabee
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Hurricane,

I disagree with your reply! In the IPC 917.4 ( 2003 edition ) section, is says that " ...the AAV's shall be installed a minimum of 6 inches above insulation materials". I have never seen one builder or insulation installer actually check to make sure that the AAV was installed at the correct height ( in an attic area ). If the AAV isn't at the correct height and covered completely when the thermal insulation gets installed, then guess what gets covered over and stopped up !

In Section 917.5, it says " ...access shall be provided to all AAV's". Again, I have never seen one installation ( in attic areas ) that provided a correct acces to them, ...not one! Around these parts, the house builders do not do any quality control. They do not go behind their subcontractors and check to make sure that the insulation was installed correctly or that the various areas in the attics are lighted, or that walkways are correctly installed. Maybe they do in your end of the galaxy, but not around here. I hope that other municipalities have a better class of house builders and that they actually perform some type of quality control process, or that the house builder is actually on their sites to check some of these issues. It is just NOT the norm here, nor will it be anytime soon! [Frown]

IMO, I would still consider the AAV's a piece of mechanical equipment and have the builder install the attic walkway, a switch controlled light and a receptacle at each one of the AAV's installed.
Eventually the AAV IS going to need repairing or replacing. I have actually been in some of those attics without proper lighting, a walkway or a receptacle. It ain't no fun either! [Mad]

Also, remember this, ...the majority of house buyers don't know squat about the houses that they are buying. So I tend to want to reduce the amount of complications that I can for them. If an AAV gets installed under the kitchen island, then fine! But in an attic area where the house owner doesn't even know its there, or its purpose... then NO! My ultimate customer is the house owner, NOT the builder. Beside, around here the majority of house builders don't even know what an AAV is or its purpose. They're not the ones going up into the attics to try and locate one of these AAV's that accidently got covered over during the insulation process ( Oooooops ! ), or stepping on the ceiling joists trying to get to one ( if or when the AAV is actually located ). Once located ( and they're usually in remote, dimly lit locations ), now someone has got to tote tools and some form of lighting to make the necessary repairs or replacement of one of these devices.

So, " ...NO!" I disagree with your reply and will continue to do so. I vote to have some type of quality control on the use and installation of the devices by our house builders.

I don't have a problem with the use of the device itself, it's just the locations that I am trying to have them correctly installed in.

See Section M1301 of the 2003 IRC. This section also refers to the use of the 2003 IMC, check Section 101.3 Intent "The purpose of this code is to provide minimum standards to safeguard life or limb, health, property and public welfare by regulating and controlling the design, construction, installation, quality of materials, location, operation and maintenance of mechanical systems."

Also, see Chapter 2 of the 2003 IMC, DEF: Equipment - All piping, ducts, vents, control devices and other components of systems other than appliances which are permanently installed and integrated to provide control of environmental conditions for buildings. This definition shall also include other systems specifically regulated in this code."

I take those definitions to mean that the venting of the drain lines is indeed a system that would affect the environmental conditions of the building.

Also, see Section E3803.4 of the 2003 IRC - Lighting Outlets: Storage or equipment spaces.

I still say " ...have the walkways, a receptacle and a light installed by ALL AAV's in a Residential attic, or don't put them in." Hopefully, this will deter the plumber and house builder from incorrectly installing these devices where no one knows that they are even there.


.

[ 04-05-2007, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: Navy Seabee ]

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fatboy
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We only allow them in the most difficult circumstances, and my favorite reply when the plumber says he has to use one is, "how would you have vented this application 10 years ago?"

--------------------
Arguing with an inspector is like wrestling with a pig in mud.....
after a while you realize the pig enjoys it!

1997 FLSTF

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Hurricane
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If you work for a jurisdiction, then you have no business enforcing anything other than what that jurisdiction has adopted.
If you are in quality control, then your business is to ensure that the AAV was installed as per manufacturer's instructions/industry standards.
In either case, personal opinions or preferences have no place and you will encounter much resistance trying to enforce your views.
Misinterpreting the codes to agree with your opinions are also not allowed.

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fatboy
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Forgive me for not being clear, BY AMENDMENT to the code that I enforce, studor vents are not allowed, except in certain situations.

--------------------
Arguing with an inspector is like wrestling with a pig in mud.....
after a while you realize the pig enjoys it!

1997 FLSTF

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Uncle Bob
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Zeboba,

"Are Studer vents approved by the IPC.Is this a good product or just a way for contractors to save cash???"

Yes, a Studor is an Air admittance valve and is acceptable when installed in accordance with section 917 of the 2003 Plumbing Code and/or 2003 IRC; section P 3114.

If your jurisdiction is allowing air admittance valves it important that they be accessible and within a ventilated space that allows air to enter the valve.

As you can see from the picture on page 3 of Hurricane's example; the AAV appears to be 6" above the insulation which apprears to be batting (if the insulation was blown, and most are, it is likely that the insulation could/would block the AAV from proper ventilation) and, it is not accessible. It is in a narrow space that would be extremely difficult to get to. If we allowed AAVs; my Building Official would not consider this location to be accessible.

It is the responsibility of the Building Official; who has the authority to render interpretations of the code and to determine what is and isn't accessible.

We amended the code to "not allow" the use of Air Admittance Valves in our jurisdiction.

Hope this helps, [Smile]

Uncle Bob

[ 04-06-2007, 06:39 AM: Message edited by: Uncle Bob ]

--------------------
Putting back my e-mail address; osoros@hotmail.com (ps. my real name is not "Bob Hamilton"); just in case I find that I am not a "valued member". :(

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peach
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excuse me, Hurricane.. an inspector ABSOLUTELY needs to see the manufacturer's installation instructions as well as the ICC report (if they have one)... I had a contractor wanting to bury a studor in a fully insulated wall without ventilation. (Violates the manufacturer's installation instructions)... oh, hey by the way.. lots of code sections actually DEFER to the manufacturer's instructions

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Thanks for the memories.. Frank (old blue eyes) Sinatra

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Hurricane
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No where did I state the manufacturer's instructions did not apply.
What does not apply in either code enforcement or quality control is the inspector's personal opinions and preferences.
My response was directed to Navy Seabee.

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peach
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just commenting on your QA business being responsible for manufacturer's instructions; those instructions trump the code pretty frequently. No offense intended

--------------------
Thanks for the memories.. Frank (old blue eyes) Sinatra

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CSL
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I have all kinds of personal opinions about AAV's...I won't bore you with them. I certainly don't think the code is completely clear about the nature of the accessibility required for an AAV. Therefore, as UB points out, it is up to the BO to make the "interpretation"

Hurricane, I think Navy makes a few decent code points, that I think deserve consideration. Your belittling comments to Navy fail to give any rebuttle to his arguments. If you intend to claim that he/she is a rouge inspector out making his own law, why don't you break down and devalue his code citations? That would be more convincing.

AAV's don't last forever.

CSL

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If we all agreed...we would never know when we are wrong.

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Hurricane
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I see these issues much different than most of you do. The company I work for builds several hundred units a year and most of these we own and lease so maintenance and durability are major concerns.
AAVs, like AFCIs, were designed, tested, and approved by people much smarter than any of us on this board. We install and maintain these products as required by the respective code and manufacturer's instructions. We have had very few problems with any of these products.
I am more inclined to trust the evaluation/test results and performance history of these products than the opinions of inspectors who see two or three of these a month.

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Uncle Bob
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Hurricane,

The caution about air admittance valves is that they rely on mechanical moving parts to provide the neccessary air for venting; and to protect people from deadly sewer gases. When they do fail; and they do; there is the danger of poisonous sewer gases entering the house. I am sure you have heard of workers going down into a manhole and dying from toxic sewer gases.

Air admittance valves; when used; are many times used under kitchen sinks or narrow walls; with windows above the trap area because of the difficulty of installing a proper vent (difficult not impossible).

"I am more inclined to trust the evaluation/test results and performance history of these products than the opinions of inspectors who see two or three of these a month."

I don't and my Building Official doesn't rely on the "opinions" of inspectors either. The decision not to allow them was based on solid sound experience and input from several major plumbing companies; and an old Master Plumber with over 30 years experience; who has replaced numerous faulty air admittance valves and replaced them with proper vents; Me. Oops, almost forgot an extremely knowledgeable fellow inspector with several years experience as a journeyman plumber ( actually the youngster is smarter than I am). No worries, he doesn't read this board [Smile] .

I understand your position; where your company is responsible for the installation and maintenance; and your service department knows where these valves are; and I assume knows what to look for when a tenant smells sewer gasses and I am sure your company is aware of the dangers "when", not if, the valves mechanics fail.

Uncle Bob

[ 04-07-2007, 06:50 AM: Message edited by: Uncle Bob ]

--------------------
Putting back my e-mail address; osoros@hotmail.com (ps. my real name is not "Bob Hamilton"); just in case I find that I am not a "valued member". :(

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peach
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I had a construction superintendent suggest they were going to install them in a horizontal orientation.... (nope)

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Thanks for the memories.. Frank (old blue eyes) Sinatra

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Navy Seabee
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"What does not apply in either code enforcement or quality control is the inspector's personal opinions and preferences..."

Hurricane,

As someone who is in the business of interpreting and administering codes, sometimes opinions and preferences DO come into play. For example, my opinion ( and experience ) is to have these AAV's installed in a correct location so the house owner knows where they are when ( not if ) they fail. My preference is to have the builder / plumber install them correctly in a location so that the house owner knows where they are and can have them repaired / replaced when they fail.

Also, I DO have the manufacturers reports and installation guides for a number of these AAV's, not just the Studor brand. All of them say that this device must be installed in an approved location and positioned correctly ( not installed in a horizontal application ) for them to operate properly. I DID NOT see where they will operate correctly when they are covered over ( with insulation, sheetrock dust, duct tape, etc. ) or installed where circulating air cannot get to them.

I do not have the luxury of having a property management company servicing the houses ( SFD's ) in my area.

I am not a B.O. where I am employed. However, because of my circumstances, I AM called upon to render interpretations of the various adopted codes and ordinances, give advice ( which, for me, has come from 30+ yrs. of experience in Commercial, Residential & Military construction ) and Yes, sometimes opinions, on various code related issues. I learned a long time ago to "NOT" shoot from the hip with some casual, unknowledgeable, "off the cuff" remark when it comes to administering codes. I try to be as specific and quality control minded as I can. Again, with the house buyer as my ultimate customer, not the house builder. I am trying to get a quality built and maintained structure that will last for a very long time, that the house owner can maintain themselves without the services of a propery management company. Hopefully, that structure ( house ) will be there long after the builder has moved on to their next project.

I STILL stand by my earlier comments! Have the AAV's installed in an approved location ( in the attic areas ) where the homeowner knows where they are and can actually get to them, NOT in just any old location for the convenience ( and profit ) of the house builder or plumber, or do not install them at all! It's that simple !

A fellow forum member on here has a very wise statement on their signature: (1). If it were your house, you would want it done right, wouldn't you ? The answer is, " ..of course you would!" But because it "ISN'T your house ( or car / building / boat / etc., etc., etc. ), then just throw it together and sell it as quick as you can, quality be d_mned !


*&%$#@,

You are right, "Sometimes it just isn't worth the battle !" [Eek!] The light will never come on for some!


.

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Inspector Gift
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Navy SeaBee,
While touring a manufactured home factory I was surprised to see they were using AAV's (studor vents) and hiding them in the wall. They cover them with No access, or accessible panel. I asked the state inspector there, and he said this was accepted and approved by the state of Oregon. Go Figure!! The Manufacture Home lobby has some strong pull!
[Roll Eyes]

 -

--------------------
A friend in the Building Codes,
TERRE GIFT

"Build it well, whatever you do. Build it Strong, Straight, and True...."

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peach
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HUD has a different set of standards for modular buildings.... (sad)... AAV means Air ADMITTANCE valves... how in the world is air going to get into a concealed location.. (particularly an exterior wall)?

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Thanks for the memories.. Frank (old blue eyes) Sinatra

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insppectron
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Im Minnesota we had allowed them for a few months. We were told that if we did not allow them the manufactures would sue, and then were sued by both Management and labor orginazations and Lost so now AAV's are Prohibited. You can read about it at http://www.doli.state.mn.us/pe_aav_order.html
There is justice-----

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