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HOW- TO HOW-TO WORK WITH SOIL AND WASTE SYSTEMS

Whether putting in a new kitchen, refurbishing a bathroom or just adding a shower or washing machine,
work on waste and soil pipes is inevitable.
This How-To guide explains how the systems work, how to choose traps and fittings and how to construct
the pipe-work.

MATERIALS
• Soil pipe, for either ring sealed, push-fit • Solvent weld adhesive
or solvent welds
• Solvent weld cleanser or methylated spirit
• Fittings to suit the pipe • Fixing screws for clips and brackets
• Pipe clips and brackets to support the pipes • Abrasive paper, fine
• Waste traps to suit use and size of pipe • Silicone lubricant jelly, for use with push-fit fittings

TOOLS
• Hammer drill and masonry bits • Flooring bolster chisel
• Core drills for masonry. There are sizes to suit all • Adjustable water pump pliers or wrench
pipe diameters up to 120mm. They may be hired
together with a heavy duty drill • Pozidrive No.2 screwdriver

• Hard-point hand saw, 18 or 22 teeth per 25.4mm • File, half round 350mm second cut

• Hacksaw • Spirit levels, 225mm and 600mm

• Hole saws to suit pipe and fittings • Steel tape measure


• Club hammer • Plumb line

BEFORE YOU START


Soil and waste systems are covered by Building Regulations, so you may need to seek approval before
starting any major alterations.
There are basically two types of waste system. The type of system you have will largely depend on the age of
the property.
HOW - TO 1
F1

TWO PIPE SYSTEM


Before 1960, sewage waste from a WC discharged down a vented soil pipe into the main drain. Waste water from
sinks, basins and baths discharged into open hoppers and gullies outside the house (F1).
A hopper head
B gulley
C soil pipe
D vent
Soil pipes are vented so a vacuum cannot form. A vacuum would cause traps to empty, allowing foul smells into
the house.
Two pipe systems mostly relied on cast iron pipe, which is difficult to work.
HOW - TO 2
F2

S I N G L E S TA C K S Y S T E M
The modern single stack system channels all of the waste water, including foul water, into one ventilated pipe
called a soil and vent pipe or stack (F2). In new houses, the stack is installed internally, avoiding freeze-ups and
improving the external appearance of the dwelling.
A soil and vent pipe or stack
B air admittance valve
C access plugs
D branch connector
E running trap
F shallow shower trap
G access socket for rodding
H back inlet gulley
J equal branch
K 90-degree bend
L washing machine trap
M inspection chamber

To comply with Building Regulations, vent pipes in both systems must terminate at least 900mm above any
window or opening within 3m of it.
The vent pipe, when fitted internally, can be capped with an air admittance valve in the roof space (F2B). This
avoids unsightly pipes sticking up above the roofline.
WA R N I N G – P I P E S I Z E S
Though manufacturers are now beginning to standardize the outside diameter of pipes, this was not the
case in the past. Older pipe sizes were individual to each manufacturer and were rarely interchangeable
other than when used in conjunction with waste pipe universal compression fittings.

HOW - TO 3
F3 F4

SOIL PIPES
Soil pipes and fittings are made from U-PVC plastic. They may be joined using solvent weld cement or with ring
seal push-fit connectors.

Cutting soil pipe


1 Mark the pipe to length.
2 Wrap a piece of newspaper round the pipe with the sides lined up and against the cut mark. This will act as a
sawing guide ensuring the cut end is square to the horizontal axis.
3 Cut soil pipe with a hard-point hand saw.
4 Remove the swarf (waste matter) and chamfer (cut sloping corners) the end to 45 degrees with a half
round file.
5 Clean away filings with a clean rag or kitchen roll.

SAFETY
Never use a file without a handle – you may slip and injure yourself.

JOINING SOIL PIPES


Ring-seal push-fit connectors
1 Make sure the pipe and fittings are clean and dry.
2 Lubricate evenly round the pipe end and inside the socket with silicone jelly.
3 Ensure the components are correctly aligned.
4 Push the pipe fully into the socket (F3).
5 Mark the position of the socket on the pipe.
6 Withdraw the pipe 12mm to allow for expansion. Check that this gap is not lost during other installation work.

Solvent weld jointing


1 Clean swarf and dirt from the pipe end.
2 De-grease the socket and pipe using de-greasing cleanser or methylated spirit. Use a clean non-synthetic
rag or kitchen roll. Lightly abrade the surfaces with fine abrasive paper.
3 Apply solvent cement (adhesive) to both the pipe and the socket. Brush the cement along but not round the
surfaces (F4). Ensure the surfaces are completely covered.
4 Immediately insert the spigot straight into the socket until the full socket depth is reached. Hold for 20 to 30
seconds. Each joint must be completed within 1fi minutes.
5 Joints may be handled after 10 minutes and used after 24 hours.
There are special joints for joining plastic pipe to larger diameter plastic pipes, as well as to cast iron and
clay pipes.
HOW - TO 4
F5

WA S T E S Y S T E M S
To stop smells from the main sewer pipe entering the house, the Building Regulations demand that all appliances
served by a waste or soil water pipe be fitted with a water-filled trap. The water seal depth should be such that,
after loss of water due to water evaporation and pressure fluctuations, a minimum of 25mm of water is retained in
the trap to prevent foul air entering the building. To this end, a trap seal depth of 75mm is required for traps used
in conjunction with pipes up to 50mm in diameter (F5).

Exceptions
The only exception to these rules is for shallow waste traps with a reduced water seal of 40mm. See ‘Shallow
waste traps’ on page 8 (F8A and F8B).
Traps present a hindrance to the flow of water in a pipe and are likely to suffer from occasional blockages. It is
important, therefore, that these are fitted as close to the appliance as possible, are accessible and easily dismantled
or fitted with a cleaning eye (F8A and F8C). A cleaning eye is a lid fitted to cover an access hole. If the trap is
an integral part of the appliance, such as a WC pan, then the appliance should be removable.
Apart from those for WCs, modern domestic traps and pipes are usually made from plastic. As well as plastic, in
older properties lead, copper and iron (rarely) may be encountered. If your house has lead waste pipes, you
would be well advised to change them to plastic, as lead is toxic.
The run of 32mm pipe should not exceed 1.7 metres. For 40mm pipe, the maximum run is 3 metres. If longer
runs are used, this could result in back-syphonage of water and discharge noise. To ensure the waste pipe runs
dry, fit it so it falls or slopes in a downward direction between the basin/bath and the soil stack or hopper, at a
minimum rate of 25mm per one metre run.
All plumbing should be carried out in accordance with your local water by-laws. Contact your local authority for
advice on new installations.

NOTE
Waste pipes must not feed into a rainwater pipe.
If in doubt, when carrying out an installation, contact a qualified plumber.
If pipes or fittings are to be exposed to direct sunlight, they should be painted with good quality gloss paint.
They should be cleaned with white spirit or liquid soap and water prior to painting. Wipe and allow to dry before
applying paint.
HOW - TO 5
F6 F7

PIPE SIZING
Waste pipe must not be smaller than the trap and appliance it serves, so a hand basin with a 32mm trap requires
32mm pipe. For washbasins and bidets, the minimum trap sizes are 32mm and the minimum seal depths are
75mm. The minimums for sinks, baths, showers, food waste disposal units, washing machines and dishwashers
are 40mm and 75mm respectively.
Pipes must be graded (the bore gets gradually wider) to avoid vacuums being formed that would empty the trap (F2).
To enable blockages to be cleaned, access plugs (F2C) must be fitted in conjunction with a tee fitting.

J O I N I N G W A S T E P I P E S I N T O A S O I L S TA C K
This may be done via a boss (branch connector) (F2D) or via a strap-on or solvent-welded boss. The base of the
boss is drilled out with a hole saw before any connection is made.

PREVENTION OF CROSS-FLOW
A branch connection into a soil stack must not be able to discharge directly into another pipe (F7).

C U T T I N G WA S T E P I P E S
1 Measure the pipe to length and mark it with a pencil.
2 Wrap paper round the pipe as a cutting guide, with the sides exactly overlapping to give a 90-degree angle
to the axis.
3 Cut the pipe with a hacksaw (24 teeth per 25mm).
4 Carefully de-burr the end with a sharp craft knife.

WA S T E P I P E C O N N E C TO R S
There are three types of waste pipe connector: ringseal push-fit, solvent weld and universal compression joints.
The first two are used in the same way as similar soil pipe connectors.

UNIVERSAL COMPRESSION JOINTS


These are made from polypropylene. The end fittings compress a flexible sealing ring onto the pipe. They can be
used to join different manufacturers’ pipes. They can also join plastic to clean copper or steel pipes.
Tighten the retaining cap finger tight and then add another eighth of a turn with an adjustable wrench.

WA S T E T R A P S
The traps mainly used are tubular traps (F5 and F6) and bottle traps (F8D and F8D2), which both do the same
job. Tubular traps are generally used in concealed areas, such as kitchens, vanity units and under baths,
because the clearance needed to dismantle one is less than for a bottle trap, which are therefore used in
conjunction with basins.
HOW - TO 6
F8

HOW - TO 7
TUBULAR TRAPS
The ‘S’ Trap is used where the waste pipe flows through the floor or joins a pipe at low level (F5).
The ‘P’ Trap is used where the waste pipe flows through the back wall or the side of a unit or cupboard (F6).
The waste outlets of both ‘S’ and ‘P’ traps can be swivelled to facilitate convenience and easy positioning when
fitting the traps to the waste pipe.
Slimline pedestal traps incorporate a cleaning eye and are particularly useful in washbasin pedestals, as they
are easier than other traps to conceal, fit and maintain (F8C).
Bath traps are more commonly tubular traps with a 75mm seal. Bottle traps may be used, but because of access
difficulties it is rarely practical to use them. When fitting tubular traps, in most cases, it is necessary to cut away
part of the floor to accommodate them. One type incorporates a flexible overflow pipe spigot. However, this pipe is
more usually attached to a collar or banjo round the bath waste outlet between the bath and the waste trap (F8E).
Running traps are used for aesthetic reasons, as the trap can be positioned in a cupboard adjacent to the appliance,
such as under a vanity unit (F8F).
Anti-syphon bottle traps may be used in any situation, but are especially useful where the fitting is subject to vacuum
conditions (involving waste water and traps). When the trap is subject to a vacuum, air is sucked through a by-pass
tube without loss of water. At the end of the discharge, the remaining water falls back to maintain a sealed trap.
Washing machine and dishwasher traps come in two types. The one shown in F8G is for machines requiring
an open vent. Those shown in F6 and F8H are for machines requiring a closed vent. F8H has a dual spigot, allow-
ing two machines to be plumbed in. Read the machine installation manual before buying any trap.
Bottle traps may be used in most situations. If the waste pipe runs vertically, however, then use a short length
of pipe and knuckle bend (F8J) or swept bend (F8K). If a new sink or sink unit is being replaced, it may be
found that the distance between the trap inlet and the bottom of the sink waste is too great to make a connection.
In this case, use a bottle trap with a telescopic inlet (F8D2).
Small bottle traps are used for the discreet plumbing-in of small hand basins. It has a 38mm seal.
Shallow seal traps are available for baths, showers and frequently used, small hand basins. Strict Building
Regulations apply to these installations (F8A and F8B).

These traps, having a 19mm seal, do not comply with the 25mm minimum seal rule. This problem may be
overcome in the following ways:

1 A trailing waste pipe into a hopper or gully no longer than 2.5m may be installed (F1).
2 When joining into a soil stack, as well as the shallow trap, a ‘running trap’ with a 75mm seal can be
installed into the waste pipe adjacent to the appliance (F2E). This will give a good seal, while the shower
trap is used to trap the usual detritus from washing.
3 Alternatively, an air admittance valve may be fitted to a 25mm vent pipe and situated above the flood
level of the highest appliance in the system. To reduce the emptying of the traps by evaporation, ensure
that no hot appliances or pipes run close to the trap.

The latter two systems only apply to buildings with a two-pipe system built before the 1965 Building Regulations
came into force.

HOW - TO 8