What could this be?

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-04-17, 12:24 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
What could this be?

Hi All,

This is my first time posting on this forum, well posting on a forum ever.

I am looking to buy a house and had the Homebuyer's report back with various points on it. One of them says 'leakage is evident from the base of the soil stack and clearly repairs are required'. It has been noted as a 'level 3'.

We have gone back to the property to have a look and picture is as per the attached. Looks like something might be growing in behind out of a crack in the wall?

Name:  thumbnail_IMG_6776.jpg
Views: 218
Size:  15.3 KB

Does anyone have any advice for me?

Thank you in advance,
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-04-17, 12:27 PM
D
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,075
Received 45 Votes on 38 Posts
First, welcome to the forums. Is that concrete all around that pipe like a patio or something?
 
  #3  
Old 02-04-17, 01:18 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,031
Received 1,104 Votes on 1,024 Posts
Soil stack ?

It certainly doesn't look like one.
That would be the wrong coupling and there are no clamps on it.

Also... it would be an unusual place to see a soil stack.
How high up does that pipe go ?
 
  #4  
Old 02-04-17, 02:49 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi there,

This is the base of the 'soil stack'. The concrete is the driveway and so the pipe is going into the ground.
 
  #5  
Old 02-04-17, 02:56 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi there,

Thank you for replying. The pipe goes right up the side of the house - this is the bottom of it where it goes into the driveway.
 
  #6  
Old 02-04-17, 03:05 PM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 25,985
Received 665 Votes on 615 Posts
Number one, soil stacks on the outside of homes used to be pretty common on old 1900s houses. Number two, you wouldnt have "leakage" from a vent pipe. If you did, it would be rainwater... its probably damp from wet dirt sitting in the pitted concrete around it. number three, the cement around it could be cut out and patched... not a big deal. It looks like a cosmetic problem to me. No idea what is behind it... it almost looks like the square nut of a cleanout... if so, it would be impossible to get to it.

Not sure what kind of advice you are after, this doesn't look like a big deal. Is the wall leaking or wet inside the basement at this same spot?
 
  #7  
Old 02-04-17, 03:18 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 236
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Worth understanding if the soil stack is vented or not. In some old simple installations they were not vented, and there was an air gap at the pipe to the coupling to serve the purpose.

If it is vented, or can be (need to extend an open pipe out of the top of the stack), then you could just put some urethane caulking around the gap and that's that.

It my be leaking if it is backing up due to the drainage pipe in the ground being blocked. Depending where it goes, might get a sewer cleanout from the drainage end, other wise would have to cut the pipe to access and clean out the line.

I don't want to second guess your inspection report, talk to whoever did it for more specific expected remediation actions contemplated.

But from the picture, it does not look very serious to me, and unless your drains and toilets back up it would be viewed as a minor issue.
 
  #8  
Old 02-04-17, 03:18 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you.

The house is approx. 1953 built so probably why soil stack is on outside. Does the 'soil' go down this pipe into the sewer in the ground? If just a vent pipe I understand what you mean i.e. there could not be any leakage. Behind it is some sort of bark/growth?! Forgive my inexperience, I am buying my first home and a girl with no building/DIY experience whatsoever!!

We have just been told by surveyor on the Homebuyers that there is a 'leak at base of soil stack' and when we spoke to him he said that when he had put all the water on in the house, flushed toilet etc there was a damp patch on the driveway round this area.
 
  #9  
Old 02-04-17, 03:23 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yes we did ask the surveyor and all he said (likely arse covering), was that 'it needs further investigation'. I was more concerned when looking at it as to what the stuff is in behind it i.e. something growing there and whether this is common. Perhaps it could be pushing the base of the soil stack and thus causing a leak?!
 
  #10  
Old 02-04-17, 03:36 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,031
Received 1,104 Votes on 1,024 Posts
If that pipe just goes up the side of the wall.... with NO connections thru the wall.... it can only be a vent pipe. I can see the vent pipe having no clamps on the coupling.

Finding moss, grass or weeds growing next to/behind a pipe like that is not uncommon.

I don't see any issues here.
 
  #11  
Old 02-04-17, 03:58 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks again.

There is a connection through the wall - to the toilet on the first floor. There is a clamp about a metre up and then a further clamp further up as well.

Some better pics of what is in behind:

Name:  IMG_6780.jpg
Views: 148
Size:  30.5 KB

Name:  IMG_6779.jpg
Views: 141
Size:  43.2 KB
 
  #12  
Old 02-04-17, 04:01 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,031
Received 1,104 Votes on 1,024 Posts
That is an active soil pipe then and needs to have that boot replaced and clamps installed over it.
 
  #13  
Old 02-04-17, 04:12 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks, I am having to 'Google' all the terms, is the 'boot', the brown bit at the bottom?
 
  #14  
Old 02-04-17, 04:23 PM
pugsl's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 9,029
Received 74 Votes on 67 Posts
Before buying house I would insist on camera inspection of sewer to street. Could be problems down the line that are unseen. Could be done same time they rare replacing boot. 70 year old sewer pipe may need replacing.
 
  #15  
Old 02-04-17, 04:28 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,031
Received 1,104 Votes on 1,024 Posts
The trade name is Fernco coupler and looks similar to this.

Name:  fernco.jpg
Views: 202
Size:  29.3 KB
 
  #16  
Old 02-04-17, 05:57 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 236
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Cleanout

Getting a line inspection is not a big project, there might be some roots or other things that block or crack a line over the years.

But might also be as simple as dumping a couple of gallons of bleach in the toilet, flush it, and have no other water run through the line overnight, then flush some more in the morning. Might be enough to get the pipe flowing adequately. Sometimes just build up over time that can be chemically cleared.

A bit of water leaking out there, and only when the drain is fully loaded from multiple sources, is still a very minor problem. With the age of the home, I would think the bigger surprises you want to avoid relate to electrical, heating more than plumbing. When you think about it, as long as you are safe, ie. furnace and electrical, anything else is just a nuisance.

If you have a proper modern fuse box (most old homes have been updated for modern appliance loads and such), and grounded outlets in the key higher use parts of the home, that's where the focus should be. A newer furnace (or boiler if radiators) would be nice. No leaky roof, and I say you are good to go.

If the sewer (soil) line is really worrying you, make the purchase conditioned on an inspection of the line, they use a camera probe to take a look inside. Or do the deal with a hold back of some amount depending on the results of a line inspection if it can not be arranged timely enough for the situation at hand.

Good luck with the house purchase!
 
  #17  
Old 02-04-17, 06:25 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,031
Received 1,104 Votes on 1,024 Posts
Dumping bleach down the drain is not a way to clear problems.

I feel the problem here is that since there are no clamps on the coupler.... it is allowing some sewage to weep out. It doesn't necessarily signal a clogged sewer line.
 
  #18  
Old 02-04-17, 06:48 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Canada
Posts: 236
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Coupling

I certainly agree the new clamp/seal idea is appropriate. But absent a pipe inspection, if there is blockage, better to have some leakage path outside than having the pipe back up into the house. The water leaking outside does not look like it will cause any issues in of itself.

Also, from the picture, that is a plastic coupling, and the incoming pipe is likely inside or the same diameter as the outgoing pipe. Although the bottom of the coupling appears to be slightly splitting, my read is the pipe would not leak in any meaningful way unless the drainage was backing up. Hard to tell from the pictures, but working with what we have here!

Bleach or chemical treatment is viable, absent reason to suspect mechanical blockage. Serious scum can build up that is appropriately cleared chemically, bleach works (over a longer time) and is easier on old lines than acids or lye cleaners. Older homes being sold often have not had drains cleaned for years.

The gold standard is to inspect and mechanically clear the line/replace if required, and have a sealed rubber clamped pipe coupling to the main stack (assuming there is a proper open to atmosphere vent to the stack).
 
  #19  
Old 02-04-17, 07:33 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,119
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
Just to help clarify, OP is in the UK. Somewhere around Plymouth it looks like.
 
  #20  
Old 02-04-17, 08:37 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,031
Received 1,104 Votes on 1,024 Posts
There is a connection through the wall - to the toilet on the first floor.
There is leakage from the fitting because there is a toilet above it discharging into that line.
 
  #21  
Old 02-15-17, 10:51 AM
Z
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 5,317
Received 112 Votes on 104 Posts
Just to throw in another opinion, this issue in itself doesn't seem like a big deal to me. It's probably fine the way it is, but even if you do need to have a plumber in to clean it up and redo the connection, it'll be an hour or two worth of work. Chip out a bit of the concrete, add a coupler like Pete showed, and fix up the concrete.

As with any house and any inspection, there are always questions as to things that the inspector/surveyor can't see... but I wouldn't let this stop your progress on buying the house.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: