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1.If the spring or other closure device fails then you have sewer gas in the building.
2.If the seat is ever worn then you have sewer gas in the building.
3.If the seal is ever torn or wears out then you have sewer gas in the building.
4.If a foriegn object is ever drawn in and caught between the seat and the seal then you have sewer gas in the building.
5.If there is a manufacturers defect then you have sewer gas in the building.
6.If the device fails to open then a trap seal may be siphoned and then you have sewer gas in the building.
7.If the device is installed improperly there are several different ways for it to fail to work properly and then you have sewer gas in the building.
8. If the device is installed improperly there are several different ways to have sewerage or grey water leak out into the building.
None of these scenarios can happen with a simple properly installed vent.
A properly sized and installed vent on a waste system works very well and is not expensive when compared to the cost of a building today. Even for a remodle job it is simply not a big deal for someone who knows what they are doing to run a vent line to the outside atmosphere regardless of the situation.
For more reasons why these things should all be tossed into a coke oven it will cost more than a penny.
Thanks Dog. Your point about their not expelling sewer gas is a great case in point. The sewer gas concentrates in the riser leading up to the mechanical vent. The taller the riser the more concentrated gas is available to escape into the building.
Plus an absentee landlord who may have ten or twenty or more in a building could care less if they work or not as long as his tenants have a lease they are stuck with. Mechanical vents are a health hazzard.
I've found these stupid things inside of enclosed walls and in dead air spaces behind cabinets, tub enclosures even the hollow area in the wall of a tub.. The reek from the smell of mold, sewer gas and slimey stale water was another nail in the coffin of my service work days.