The system has given us no problems in all this time, but now that we are selling the house the buyers home inspector listed the drain connection as illegal, recommending the installation of a standpipe. Is this necessary?
A Connecting a water softener overflow pipe to a sewer drain is a definite code violation, and unfortunately, one that occurs in many homes.
A primary purpose of the plumbing code is the protection of water supply systems from sources of contamination. Essential to this objective is a general prohibition of direct hook-ups between water supply lines and sewer piping. Wherever such connections exist, there is the possibility of back- siphonage, with the potential for infecting the domestic drinking water.
In the event of a sewage backup, raw effluent could be forced through the overflow pipe into the water softener. From there, bacteria and protozoa could thoroughly contaminate your water supply. With a standpipe, instead of a direct pipe connection, a sewage backup would cause spillage only, without affecting your drinking water.
I strongly recommend that you follow the advice of the home inspector. The addition of a standpipe is usually not an expensive repair, and it will eliminate a definite health hazard.
Q We have a small guest apartment in the loft area above our barn. During a recent home inspection we were cited for not having a one-hour fire separation between the barn and the living unit. We know that firewalls are required between a house and garage, but does this rule also apply to barns?
A Fire-resistive walls and ceilings are required when portions of buildings have different types of occupancies. Common occupancy types include residences, factories, offices, stores and schools.
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