Main Drain Backing Up

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by cibula11, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Mar 13, 2009 #1

    cibula11

    cibula11

    cibula11

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.
     
  2. Mar 13, 2009 #2

    handyguys

    handyguys

    handyguys

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    815
    Likes Received:
    2
    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.
     
  3. Mar 13, 2009 #3

    cibula11

    cibula11

    cibula11

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    0
    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?
     
  4. Mar 13, 2009 #4

    handyguys

    handyguys

    handyguys

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    815
    Likes Received:
    2
    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.
     
  5. Mar 13, 2009 #5

    cibula11

    cibula11

    cibula11

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    0
    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?
     
  6. Mar 14, 2009 #6

    glennjanie

    glennjanie

    glennjanie

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,990
    Likes Received:
    4
    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.
    Glenn
     
  7. Mar 14, 2009 #7

    jdougn

    jdougn

    jdougn

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    1
    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
     
  8. Mar 15, 2009 #8

    pintopony

    pintopony

    pintopony

    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    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!
     
  9. Mar 15, 2009 #9

    glennjanie

    glennjanie

    glennjanie

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,990
    Likes Received:
    4
    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.
    Glenn
     
  10. Apr 8, 2009 #10

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Emperor Penguin

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,844
    Likes Received:
    2
    Cibula11:

    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  11. Apr 11, 2009 #11

    cibula11

    cibula11

    cibula11

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    0
    I called Roto Rooter and they came out and pulled a couple of wads of roots out of my main line. The second time it happened we heard the water draining. I was impressed. Fast forward to today and I noticed that we had water pooling again. Is there any chance that in two weeks or so there is another blockage of the same kind....roots?? I used root killer immediately after Roto Rooter left, but apparenlty it didn't work. Suggestions?? (Im obviously calling them back to come out for free this time)
     
  12. Apr 11, 2009 #12

    cibula11

    cibula11

    cibula11

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the info. I'll call Roto back today, just because they guarantee 30 days, but who should I look for to come back should this keep occuring? Do I call a plumber or someone who cleans drains? I guess I am looking for a title to look for in the yellow pages.
     
  13. Apr 11, 2009 #13

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Emperor Penguin

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,844
    Likes Received:
    2
    Cibula:

    Certainly if Roto-Rooter will come back to finish the job free of charge, they're the obvious ones to call. But,...

    ...my best advice is to keep your old yellow pages phone directory every time you get new phone books for a few years. Any NEW ads for drain clearing plumbers that show up in the new directory (that weren't in last year's directory) are new companies started by people who are confident they've seen it all and learned it all working for someone else that they've taken the leap of faith and gone to the Bank of Dad to borrow the necessary funds to buy their own drain clearing equipment, and are now starting their own drain clearing business.

    And, those guys ain't dumb either. They know that their former company was charging you twice what they were getting paid for each job, so they're counting on the fact that they can charge less and still make more than they did as an employee. And, of course, they're hoping that charging less than their former employer will keep them busy and their business growing.

    Until you get next year's phone books, just phone around to the companies in the yellow pages who can't afford a full page ad or to advertise on the radio. You'll get just as good results for a lower cost from any of them. But, talk to several to make sure they're not charging as much as the Rooter anyway.

    But, I've found that you get the best results from the youngest companies because the work is most often done by the owner of the company, and he knows that the success of his business depends on his doing the best work he can for each customer he gets at a competative price, and so you both benefit. His business grows and gains a good reputation, and you get a good job done at a good price. If you hire a well established company and even if they send their best employee, he knows that he's gonna get paid the same whether he does his regular work or the best job he can. So, what do you think he's gonna do? He simply doesn't have any motivation to do it the best way he can. Only the owner of the business is in that position provided the customer understands the differnce and is willing to pay for any extra time it takes.

    And, what I do (which I think helps), is if a new company does a good job for me, I send them a card that they can pin up in their office somewhere (in a blindingly obvious place) saying what a great job they did and to use me as a reference for any other potential customers who may ask for references. That is, you help some young guy out with his business, and he'll reciprocate the favour cuz he'll remember you and help you out as far as he can. For the $3.50 it costs for a nice card and the postage to mail it, it's very cheap way to have a knowledgeable tradesman available you can turn to that you trust will give you honest advice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
  14. Apr 14, 2009 #14

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Certified Lunatic

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    887
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a friend that I just spoke with who works for RR.
    I have a question regarding your guarantee...
    30 day guarantee is usually reserved for multi family homes, or, properties that are rented out.
    The only other reason for a 30 day guarantee is if the only access for snaking the line is through a pulled toilet.

    I'm just checking to see if a tech might be pulling a fast one and give you a non-standard guarantee. I understand they are cracking down on those so if none of those exemptions are into play a complaint is in order...

    Do any of these exceptions apply to you?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  15. Apr 23, 2009 #15

    Seattle Drain Service

    Seattle Drain Service

    Seattle Drain Service

    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Most big national companies only give you a warranty if you also pay them to camera the line as well, but if the camera shows something bad then you still get no warranty:(
    Anyway back to the original problem the roots, yes he pulled some out and yes he poked a hole in the blockage to get you draining at first but it needed to be really snaked well and remove all of the roots. A camera would be my choice to see what is really going on for the future. Once you start to have root intrusion it only gets worse the problem as arrived. As the other poster said find a owner of a small drain cleaning company as he will usually do the best job.
     
  16. Jun 29, 2009 #16

    workoutbuddy78

    workoutbuddy78

    workoutbuddy78

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear Cibula11:
    Hi,
    Did you resolve your problem?
    I am having similar problem, and have rented and ran 40' of rooter snake, but the problem seems to come back.
    My problem has to do with volume of water. It seems as long as I use limited amount there are no problems. However once the blockage happens the water does not drain for several minutes.
    I actually see stuff start coming back into the tub.
    Please comment to see what you have been successful with?
    Thank you
     
  17. Jun 30, 2009 #17

    glennjanie

    glennjanie

    glennjanie

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,990
    Likes Received:
    4
    Welcome WorkoutBuddy:
    You may need to clean the drain again and add a cup of Water Softener Pellets (salt) each week to keep the roots killed out. It works for me.
    Glenn
     
  18. Jun 30, 2009 #18

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Certified Lunatic

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    887
    Likes Received:
    0
    workoutbuddy78,
    It sounds like you may not have used a big enough cutter blade or, a long enough snake. Rental equipment is seldom either of those...

    I would suggest getting a pro....
    How long do you want to play for marginal results?
    I really believe that a pro spends about a year on the road before they get really good at cleaning drains...
     
  19. Feb 28, 2011 #19

    royalfreebird

    royalfreebird

    royalfreebird

    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, we are experiencing the same issues with the sinks not draining when the washing machine drains as well as when the kitchen sinks drain, but we don't have any trees on the property. Any suggestions?
     
  20. Mar 1, 2011 #20

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,904
    Likes Received:
    3,122
    If you are hooked to the city sewer system and you find roots in the pipes you need to have the pipe replaced. If you are on septic system when was it serviced last.
    It sounds like your only a few gallons away from raw sewer overflowing the downstairs toilet.
    You need some expert to clean and scope the whole system and make reccemendations.
     

Share This Page