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cibula11 03-13-2009 10:39 AM

Main Drain Backing Up
The past couple of weeks I've noticed that every time we do laundry on our first floor, the main drain the the basement backs up and the area around it fills with water. There is also a toilet in the unfinished part of the basement that has started to have water seep through the bottom as this is occuring. It seems to happen only when doing laundry (I'm guessing because of the volume of water). Do I have a clog? Any ideas?

I thought about getting some drain-o type product or a snake, but I don't know if there is a clog or not.

handyguys 03-13-2009 11:12 AM

Likely a clog downstream. Do you have trees on your property? Could be tree roots and time to call roto-rooter or similar type service. Chemicals are not that effective if thats the issue.

cibula11 03-13-2009 11:14 AM

I do have one tree somewhat close the city line outside, but do you think it would be worth a shot to rent an auger or buy a snake to try myself or is the problem likely more than what I could do?

handyguys 03-13-2009 11:22 AM

If it IS tree roots then a snake wont work. You can rent the augers versus calling in the guy with the truck. I have never needed to do this so I cant give you specific advice to DIY. Sorry.

cibula11 03-13-2009 11:40 AM

If it were roots, wouldn't the backup occured more slowly. It's like all of a sudden it backs up. I suppose it could have been slow for awhile without me knowing. Is there any way to tell if it is a clog or tree?

glennjanie 03-13-2009 11:16 PM

Hello Cibula:
I'm betting it is a clog and that it is most likely from tree roots. To find out if it is a clog and if it is roots, run an auger into the drain and, when you get to where the tree is, you would hit some resistance. Try to break the roots loose and pull them out.
If tree roots are the problem, buy some pellet salt like you would put in a water softener. Put a cup of the salt pellets in the toilet once a week and flush it down. Those pelltes will collect on any root formation, lay there and slowly dissolve, killing the roots. If you keep them killed they can't accumulate enough to make a blockage.
Tree roots in the drain mean there is a small leak in the drain; bermuda grass is just as wicked as any tree.

jdougn 03-14-2009 01:28 PM

Tree roots hit the top of my list too. How long have you been in the house? Also, are you on city sewer or septic tank? If you rent an auger get a power one with different size cutter heads. If you start with the big cutter head it could get snagged. So, start with the smallest to investigate then move up in size as the location and cause of the blockage is determined.
hth, Doug

pintopony 03-15-2009 07:09 AM

I have had a similar problem and it was do to sags developing in the line out to the sewer. You get sludge buildup that effectively blocks the line. What I did was have the line scoped and ended up running a new line. A very ugly solution but, one that worked!

glennjanie 03-15-2009 01:48 PM

For those of you who have a leaking, Orangeburg, clay tile or other sewer that is giving a lot of trouble, there are folks who can come to your location and re-line your sewer pipe with very little excavation. They only dig up each end of the existing line and pull in a new plastic liner without destroying the driveway or your hard work on landscaping.
I Googled Sewer Liner and found lots of information.

Nestor_Kelebay 04-08-2009 09:21 AM


Your clothes washer is the "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to determining how clogged up your main drain line is. No other fixture or appliance puts so much water into your drain piping as quickly as your washer.

You need to get this problem fixed ASAP because the weeping tiles around you're house's foundations will also connect to the catch basin in your basement floor (that's backing up now when the washer spins). If you have a heavy rain, then the ground water coming into your weeping tiles is going cause your catch basin to back up as well. BUT, that water isn't going to stop at 25 gallons or whatever your washing machine holds. It might keep going to 500 gallons, and that spells FLOODED BASEMENT.

As long as it's a puddle of water around your floor drain, it's a nuisance. But the conditions you have which are causing that puddle can also cause a flooded basement after a heavy rain. So, until you get that drain pipe cleared (or whatever) don't do anything that might be mistaken by the Almighty for a rain dance.

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