How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

What is an auto vent, air admittance valve, or check vent?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

This device goes by a number of different names, including Studor® vent, in-line vent and mechanical vent. It is designed to open and admit air into a sink drain line when there is negative pressure (suction) in the pipe, which allows the drain to flow freely without gurgling for air. The one-way vent only allows air into the system for drainage, then closes to keep sewer gas from escaping out into a home. When the location of a plumbing fixture makes it difficult to run a regular (passive) vent pipe through the roof this type of vent is an alternative solution.

    Although all the different names are often used interchangeably, there are actually two different technologies used to open the valve for air when needed and then close it afterwards. The older system is spring-loaded and allowed in mobile/manufactured homes under the jurisdiction of HUD, but not site-built homes. It is shown below and correctly called a mechanical vent, auto vent, in-line vent, or check vent.   The more recent design utilizes a rubber-like membrane that flexes to allow air into the drain system. It is an air admittance valve, sometimes referred to by the acronym AAV. The Studor Corporation is the largest manufacturer of AAVs, so they are often referred to as Studor® vents or Studor® valves. An air admittance valve made by Studor is shown at the top of the page, and an example of an AAV we saw under a kitchen sink at a recent home inspection is shown below. 


    Two requirements for correctly installing an AAV are that it must a minimum of 4” above the fixture drain and readily accessible. Although they are rated for a minimum of 500,000 open-and-close cycles, which is approximately 30 years of usage, they do fail eventually and, occasionally, prematurely; so it’s important to be able to get to the AAV to change it out. They have a screw fitting, so switching out a dead air admittance valve is an easy plumbing chore. 

    Air admittance valves can also be installed in an attic, but must be 6-inches or more above the insulation. Because an AAV requires negative pressure to open, it cannot be installed to vent a sump pump, which generates positive air pressure when operating. Also, a home’s plumbing drainage cannot rely entirely on AAVs; a minimum of one vent through the roof is required by the building code. 

    Also see our blog post How many plumbing vents through the roof are required by code?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about PLUMBING:

How can I protect my pipes to keep them from bursting during a hard winter freeze in North Florida?

Why is there sand in the bottom of my toilet tank?  

What causes a gurgling sound when a bathtub or sink drains? 

Are drop-in toilet bowl cleaner tablets safe? 

What can I add to my septic tank to help it work better?

What are the code requirements for layout of drain piping under sinks? 

Why is there mold inside my toilet tank?  

What are the pros and cons of a wall-mounted toilet?

Which plumbing fixtures require water shut off valves in a home? 

How can I tell if a house is connected to a septic tank system or sewer?

Are plastic pipes (PVC, CPVC, and PEX) safe for drinking water? 

Why is a backflow preventer required on lawn sprinkler systems? 

How can I locate my septic tank? 

Is a hot water faucet handle required to be on the left? 

Can you live in a house while the plumbing is being replaced? 

Why is the European-style bottle trap not approved by the plumbing codes in the U.S.? 

Why can't PVC be used for water pipe inside a house? 


What are the common problems to look for when the plumbing has been replaced in a house? 

What's that powdery crust on the pipe connections at the water heater? 

How can I tell what type of plumbing pipe I have? 

  What causes low water pressure in a house?

Should I call a plumber or septic tank contractor when my septic tank backs up into the house? 

How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?  

What are the pipes on my roof? 

Should I wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket? 

My water bill went way up last month. How do I look for a leak?

Why does the water have a rotten-egg smell in some empty houses? 

What is an "S-Trap" under my sink? Why is it a problem? 

Where is the septic tank? Are you going to inspect it? 

What does polybutylene pipe look like? Why is it a problem?

Which water pipes are an insurance problem and possibly uninsurable? 

• Does a home inspector check the plumbing under the floor slab?

• Is it alright to disconnect the washing machine drain from the septic tank and divert it to the ground in the yard?

      Visit our PLUMBING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.  

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

Wells

Septic Tank Systems

Structure and Rooms

Plumbing Pipes

Termites, Wood Rot

& Pests

Sinkholes

Stairs

When It First

Became Code

"Should I Buy A..."

Park Model Homes

Site

Shingle Roofs

Safety

Stucco

Remodeling

Wind Mitigation

Roof and Attic

"Does A Home

Inspector...?"

Pool and Spa

"What Is The Difference Between..."

Radon

Brick

Plumbing

Concrete and

Concrete Block

Metal Roofs

Foundations

Modular Homes

Rain Gutters

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants

Condominiums

Older and

Historic Houses

Crawl Spaces

Mobile-Manufactured Homes

Building Permits

Life Expectancy

Clay Soil

Insurance

Floors

Insulation

Toilets

Exterior Walls

& Structures

Generators

Common Problems

HUD-Code for

Mobile Homes

Garages and Carports

Flat (Low Slope) Roofs

Electrical Panels

Sprinkler Systems

Electrical Receptacle Outlets

4-Point Inspections

Hurricane Resistance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Home Inspection

Heating and Air Conditioning

Building Codes

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Inspector Licensing

& Standards

Energy Efficiency

Washers and Dryers

Electrical

Kitchens

Doors and Windows

(placeholder)

Cracks

Electrical Wiring

Click Below  

for Links

to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Plumbing Drains

and Traps

Appliances

Smoke & CO Alarms

Aging in Place

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.

Bathrooms

Lighting

AFCI, CAFCI,

DFCI, & GFCI

Sinks

Air Conditioner & Furnace Age/Size

Attics

Electrical Switches

Siding

Search

This

Site

Water Intrusion

Electrical - Old

and Obsolete

(placeholder)

Foundation Certifications

Tiny Houses

About Us

(placeholder)