Everyone loves the calming sound of a gentle waterfall - except when it's a plumbing drain!
Frequently the laundry room is in the basement.
And very often, when in the basement, the washing machine drains into the laundry tub.
Looking further, that dark tube on the left is the condensate line from the AC unit in the next room.
The AC condensate tube is drained into a little box, which pumps the water up and into the sink in the next room.
Nothing is wrong with any of that.
Except that the laundry room wasn't always in this location!
The former laundry room location, and drain, was turned into a toilet and sink area, beside a new basement bathroom!
So, what's my beef with this new installation?
Just that the "gray" water from the washing machine, and whatever is put into the laundry tub, drains into the former floor drain for the furnace room!
I did the old smell test.
Yes, you know the one. I had my client flush the toilet in the bathroom next door and I listened, and smelled, here at this drain.
I heard and smelled nothing untoward.
The unusual white tube stuck in the drain line presented a problem.
If it is tied into the main drain underground I looked and there is no trap so it would be an incorrect installation.
If this drain remains plumbed as it was originally, as a floor drain which sent possible basement water into the storm sewer, it would be similarly incorrect as plumbing is not allowed to send "gray" water into the storm sewers.
It also introduces a lot of moisture into the air inside the house.
My client did ask me how costly I thought it would be to correct this and my answer was an honest "I have no idea."
Perhaps the easiest repair would be to have this laundry tub drain into a pump which sends the water up and into a sanitary drain line near this room. But really, an experienced plumber would have to look at it to determine the best course of action.
This installation leads me to wonder if there was a permit for the new basement bathroom as the county probably would want to know where the new laundry room would be located. This arrangement would not have been approved.
My recommendation: houses are systems. When one thing is changed, it often demands changes to other aspects of the home. All those changes must end up meeting code or not affecting other house systems detrimentally. What initially seems like a good idea or an easy solution to a problem often times is not.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560