Does Anyone Know What This Is?

First time I have ever seen anything like this. There is a piece of galvanized pipe that is tapped into the sewer line vent stack in the attic. The pipe is then running to this box that is made out of wood and cardboard and has this white/gray powder substance in it. The pipe goes down into the box. Didn’t want to poke around in the powder since I didn’t know what it was. I have never seen anything like this before. [ATTACH][ATTACH]


It’s a first for me.

Not a legal connection to the vent stack .
My mind runs loose and it could be some thing has been put in that box that could be giving off a bad odour and they did not want the odour in the home .
Some thing could be decaying or has already decayed in the Box .
Yes I would not touch it and would be inclined to Let the agents know ,
Pass the info on … Roy

Did the home have hot water heat?

Head tank
generally vented to the exterior…
some plumbers would route to the stack…

Good one and insulation so it does not freeze Thanks … Roy

It had a boiler. Thanks for all of the input. Barry Adair contacted me earlier by phone and he had seen one once before but didn’t know what it was either. I am sure a lot of people are curious. I told my client to request information from the seller and if they didn’t have an answer to contact a plumber about it. Either way they have to have a plumber fix the broken vent stack and do something about the way this thing is tapped into the line.

Look at Mr. Evans with his Level III Certification now. Way to go Chuck!

Pretty good chance…given that we still haven’t seen the tank!!

Those are a 1920-30’s hydronic system here…have only seen 2 in my HI career. The last one still had the original cast iron boiler operating but wasn’t very effiicent…60%

These are an “open” to the air system as opposed to the closed system with the “air cushion” tanks in use in modern systems.

PS: Wonder if the insulation was powdered perlite?

Galvanized piping was the clue that this was an older open gravity hot water system…

Is this the setup?

Isn’t their a risk for Legionnairs disease with open to the air systems?

This is heating water and should be protected from entering the potable water supply by a check/backflow valve. Never heard of any cases caused by this system…but back in the days when it was most in use, we didn’t know about Legionnaires’.

If there were a chance of cross-contamination, I would be afraid of it being vented/drained into a plumbing vent stack!!!

The weirdest case of Legionnaires’ I studied when I was in the IAQ game happened in England:
-solitary cases started showing up in various places around the country
-they had never seen anything like this before; it had always been multiple cases from a single mass exposure
-after months of study, the source was traced back to a cooling tower on a commercial building on the outskirts of London that all the infected people had walked by during a specific summer period when the cooling water was warmest and supported the bacteria.