Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them. This month, we learn about structural issues with Dale Kimber, president at Bay Point Plumbing.

Q1: A “Johnson Tee” is another way to vent a dishwasher drain which is somewhat common in the Seattle area, but less common in our local area. Can you tell us about the “Johnson Tee” and if you like this method of vent for dishwasher appliances?

Johnson tees have been used to protect homeowners from drains back-siphoning sewage into appliances like dishwashers and clothes washers. Johnson tees are less commonly used as they are an “old school” method. Johnson tees can only be installed when U.P.C. listed as an approved fitting. 

Here at Bay Point Plumbing, we prefer to protect dishwashers and clothes washers by using physical air gaps and/or approved air gap dishwasher fittings. Always consult with your local jurisdiction about their provisions on the code (See the paragraph below).

The Uniform Plumbing Code section 807.4 of the uniform plumbing code states: “No domestic dishwashing machine shall be directly connected to a drainage system or food waste disposer without the use of an Approved dishwasher airgap fitting on the discharge side of the dishwashing machine. Listed airgaps shall be installed with the flood-level [FL] marking at or above the flood level of the sink or drainboard, whichever is higher.”

Q2: Can you tell us about AAVs or Air Admittance Valves? In what general situations would one use such a device?

Air Admittance Valves are not allowed in most jurisdictions. They can be used in Island County and Anacortes city limits. AAVs are typically used to substitute installing a vent pipe from one sink to the outside air. AAVs should be installed in a vertical manner, 4” above the p-trap weir, and 6” above its highest flood level rim. 

Bay Point Plumbing does not like to install Air Admittance Valves as they are a mechanical device that will eventually fail. We install pipes venting directly to the outside air and contain no mechanical components.

Q3: New technology uses “Push-On” connectors to easily and without tools join PEX, copper, CPVC water supply piping. Is this a good route for DIY homeowner-plumber?

Push-on connectors are great for homeowners connecting to old copper piping, CPVC piping, or polybutylene piping. Most Push-on connector manufacturer’s warranty their products for 25 years which will usually exceed the life of the mentioned above. Make sure you have a push-on connector specifically designed for the material of piping that you are using and following the manufacturer installation instructions.

Bay Point Plumbing does not recommend using Push-on connectors when joining PEX-to-PEX, because the push-on connector will probably not last as long as PEX fittings.

About Bay Point Plumbing

In 1989, Gary Jones founded what would become Bay Point Plumbing while working out of his home. Gary’s goal was simple: to bring much-needed professional plumbing and mechanical services to Whatcom County, Wash., and the surrounding areas, Bay Point Plumbing employs a whole team of expert, certified, and licensed technicians. Gary’s philosophy was to work exclusively with the area’s best technicians, recruiting local talent to fill out his crew. This expansion led to the hiring of Dale Kimber, a certified plumber. Dale brings years of industry experience to the job and holds certifications in plumbing, gas fitting, pipefitting, and backflow testing. Under Dale’s expert guidance, Bay Point Plumbing has continued to expand to deliver on Gary’s vision. For expert commercial and residential plumbing and mechanical services, contact Bay Point Plumbing today at https://baypointmechanical.com/.

A big “thanks” to Dale for his responses!If you have questions or comments about plumbing issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).