Sunday, May 8, 2011

. Water Softener Drain Line Cross- Connections

The water softener drain pipe is connected directly
 into a sewer drain pipe in the attic.
Per The Arizona Standards of Professional Practice for Arizona Home Inspectors,  Arizona Home Inspectors are required to identify any/all cross connections between drinking water and waste water.
CROSS CONNECTION: As identified in the standards of professional practice glossary..  Any physical connection or arrangement between potable water and any source of contamination.

In this photo the  water  softener drain line is draining directly  in the washing machine sewer stand  pipe.

There are several ways a cross connection can exist in your plumbing system. 
 One common source of cross contamination is in your water softener drain line installation.                                                                                                 
When water softeners recharge, they often discharge the waste water through a ¾-inch diameter tube that is supposed to empty through a 1-½-inch air gap into a receptor such as a sink, a floor drain or a standpipe.

Water softener drain lines connected directly into a sewer line in the attic, and in the washer drain line, with out an air-gap,  is a very common problem with water softener installations in the Phoenix area.  Most of these water softeners were installed by a sub-contractor hired by the water softener sales company.

Why is this a serious problem?? #1-   If this improper installation is not corrected, sewer water can enter/mix with your drinking water. 
#2- On the first photo,  In two to three years the tape used to hold the drain line will deteriorate and the water softener drain water, and sewer water, if there is a sewer back- up will drain into the attic.

The Fix..***On newer homes there is often a stand pipe/ drain pipe, behind the washer hook-up,  next to the washing machine drain hose, designed to allow proper water softener drainage.

*** A proper air gap, or an air gap device can be installed on the pipe, where the water line connects to the sewer pipe...

Additional information on  this serious heath concern,  and information about a proper air gap device can be found at

TIP.. If your water softener installer did not install your drain line properlym, call the company  immediately and ask them to install it properly. 
 If they state this installation is OK, and refuse to correct it,   inform them you are going to call your local water company to confirm your installation meets current building code requirements.

.Why contact your water company for assistance?  This is a serious heath concern, if not corrected this can contaminate your, and your neighbors drinking water over-nite.  Over the past 10 years I've recommended this to several customers, after they either called the water company, or informed the water softener contractor/ installer they were going to call the water company, every one of them were properly corrected,   at no charge,  by the contractor with-in  1-2  days

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