Seattle Home Inspector's Blog

head_left_image

Never pass up an opportunity to get egg on your face!

Perhaps it is the fact that I like eggs that I came up with this analogy for "learning." 

Sooner or later we all have to come face to face with discovering that something we thought was true, either is not true, or is not true anymore.

This particular bit of egg on my face is about outside faucets.  There are lots of things to think about regarding outside faucets for an inspector, but this post is only about “Anti-siphon” devices, and whether they are present on the valve or not.  If it is newer construction the inspector will note if they are missing or present--and any conditions associated with them that might be observed.

Typically in older homes it might be appropriate to recommend that the devices be added or that newer style valves be installed in the context of overall repairs to the plumbing.

What these devices do is protect the swimming pool water that the kid has just peed in (or worse), from being sucked back into the house water supply if the flow of water were to reverse.  There are several conditions that can allow this to happen, such as flushing water mains/hydrants at the street, or even running faucets on the opposite side of the house.  Regardless of the science of how this happens, they are required by current plumbing codes.

Back to the egg on my face.

Historically I have only looked for, or known about, two types of anti-siphon devices for outside faucets.  One is connected on the place you connect the hose to like in the following picture.

Outside faucet 

The other is mounted on the top of the valve like the one in the following picture with its protective cap missing. 

 

Recently I found the following valve that did not have an anti-siphon device at either of the usual locations but it did have this interesting, albeit embarrassing, tag.

 

This tag told me that there is a third way to accomplish the requirement for a vacuum breaker--and it is built into the valve itself.  It also made me aware that I likely mistakenly called for installation of anti-siphon devices on some valves where I mistakenly thought they was "missing." 

My first reaction was, “Well what if someone cuts the nice informative tag off?”  The clue is in the valve stem that the handle attaches to.  There is a small hole present in the stem (like in the next picture) and that is where the faucet will draw in air if the valve goes under negative pressure.

While I had to deal with the egg on my face, I am just grateful there is at least a way to identify a valve that has this type of anti-siphon device.  Also with a proper outside faucet I can sucessfully wash the egg off my face.

 

Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Seattle Home Inspector

 

The Human Rights Campaign   QR code for Charles Buell Inspections Inc  ASHI.org

 

WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

Comment balloon 46 commentsCharles Buell • August 07 2014 05:34PM
Never pass up an opportunity to get egg on your face!
share
Perhaps it is the fact that I like eggs that I came up with this analogy for "learning. " Sooner or later we all have to come face to face with discovering that something we thought was true, either is not true, or is not true… more
Getting your home started on the right footing
share
Poured-concrete foundations--how difficult can they be? One takes a bunch of boards and plywood and nails them together to make a form system and then pours in some concrete. How difficult can that be? To be honest however,… more
Does Net Zero Energy really add up? Ask the dinosaurs
share
Politics, ego and selfishness all play roles that sometimes blur the more altruistic desire to do what is right for the planet, the country, and our families. In the widest of contexts, most people involved in the Green Movement are… more
Sounds simple enough!
share
“Access and working space shall be provided and maintained about all electrical equipment to permit ready and safe operation and maintenance of such equipment. ” This is from the National Electric Code, and for the purpose of today’s… more
An idea whose time has not come.
share
I was a design build general contractor for more than 30 years and I have been a home inspector for more than 10 years. I have seen a lot of interesting things in houses over all those years. At a recent inspection, I found a type of… more
Who doesn't like getting “lucky? ”
share
Part of the way that Merriam Webster defines “luck” is: “the accidental way things happen without being planned. ” People talk about luck, whether it is about being “lucky” or about being “unlucky. ” I find the whole notion of luck… more
A little more duct tape please!
share
When “fixing” something, it is important to do the whole job or you might as well forget doing it at all. Someone knew enough to know that combustion by-products should not be allowed to enter the building but apparently they… more
What are skylights for?
share
Many people think of skylights as past, present or future leaks. Actually, a skylight that is properly flashed is no more likely to leak than any other thing attached to your roof. Chimneys and pipe flashings can leak too---when they… more
Stack Effect---it affects your home whether you can see it or not.
share
You don’t have to be around the questions of moisture control, heat loss, and air infiltration in homes for very long before the term “Stack Effect” come up. Stack effect is when the natural buoyancy of air causes it to lift due the… more
Moisture Control in Homes in the Northwest
share
I get lots of calls from people about moisture issues inside their homes. Sometimes these moisture issues are related to the building itself, such as: roof leaks, plumbing leaks, foundation leaks, flooded crawl spaces, etc. Obviously these sorts… more