Quantcast

Neighbor's waste water backing up into my condo

Help Support House Repair Talk:

taviaromescu

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
30
Reaction score
7
Hi all,

At least that is what I think is happening. My kitchen sink is clogged,
and so was his. A couple days ago, he had a plumber come out snake
it. Right after that happened, our kitchen sink filled up with hot
water full of nasty food bits, which we had to immediately drain
by hand.

Then today, the kitchen sink backed up with nasty chicken grease
water. We don't cook chicken, so it was not coming from our
place. It was worse this time - lots more water.

His condo is right over ours. Our kitchen sink still won't drain.

I've been trying the hot water / dish soap / salt treatment thing,
and that doesn't work. Draino doesn't work.

It does drain, very slowly. And then we get the daily afternoon
water back up.

Does it sound like the plumbing in both condos is connected?
How could his plumbing problems be causing us problems?

Thanks for your thoughts!
 

Snoonyb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
4,045
Reaction score
782
It sound as if there is a problem with the waste line that should be the responsibility of the condo management to bare the cost of correcting.

Have the same plumber snake yours, and have a chat with them.
 

JoeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
1,711
Reaction score
329
The way a drain system is setup there is one main stack that runs the height of the building. Both of your sinks connect into it. If there is a clog in the stack the water will back up and come out next highest point on the system.
It sounds like there is a clog in the main stack below your unit. When you neighbour drains his sink the water starts backing up at the clog and comes out in your sink. You need to get the main line cleared.
 

Wuzzat?

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2010
Messages
2,471
Reaction score
175
You can clear clogs by forcing water into the drain with a garden hose but one time we had chopped vegetables coming out the roof vent with this method.
Once that pipe opening was plugged with a little inflatable rubber barrel, the pressure went way up and the clog gave way.
But with this method it takes two people to monitor things, one on the roof and one at the sink.

Does it sound like the plumbing in both condos is connected?
>Yes, as was mentioned, the DWV stack (see the diagram).
http://www.dummies.com/home-garden/plumbing/figuring-out-your-drain-waste-vent-lines/
The pipe above your unit may hold a gallon or two of waste water.
http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q="gray+water"&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

If you get your (local) clog removed, the people below you may have the same problem.
I have a 25' snake but sometimes you need a really long one.

Firewalls prevent a fire in an adjoining unit from burning your place down, and
circuit breakers prevent one person from bringing down the whole power grid, but
there doesn't seem to be a piping method that totally isolates you from your neighbor's habits.
 
Last edited:

taviaromescu

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
30
Reaction score
7
Thank you every one :).

JoeD, Good to know. The things is, we are on the ground floor. There is one condo over us. I don't know if his clogging problem cleared up after the plumber came, but I assume so. Our backing up problem started after his plumber visit.

I guess I have to wait until Tuesday to contact the HOA, and give up any socializing to man the water backup situation.
Yesterday it overflowed. Or pay a plumber triple rates now.

Wuzzat?, well that's just gross. Thank you for posting links, it helps me to deal with the plumbers.
I don't think I'll try that rubber barrel method though.

Since we are on the ground floor, the clog is probably in the main stack but near ground level?

Snoonyb, I now wish I had contacted the HOA before the holiday weekend.
 

Snoonyb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
4,045
Reaction score
782
You'll often find that an HOA board and a liability Ins. Co. bear a distinct similarity.

Ask you neighbor if the plumber was the HOA plumber.

Information can be biased.
 

Wuzzat?

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2010
Messages
2,471
Reaction score
175
I don't think I'll try that rubber barrel method though.

the clog is probably in the main stack but near ground level?
It occurs to me that you can use it to temporarily keep your neighbor's gray water out of your kitchen sink until the water goes past the clog, but you need to know your sink drain pipe ID (inside diameter).
You also need a tire pump and some idea of when to expect his sink usage so you can unplug at other times.

IIRC, it's about $20, has a Schrader valve and it's the size of a small fist.

The clog for kitchens is grease; for bathrooms, it's hair.
You could also try pouring a few gallons of boiling hot water directly down the drain, not into the sink. Watch your sink tailpiece and P trap if it's plastic.

If the clog totally blocked the flow (or runs very slowly) &
the drainpipe was totally empty (like at 3 A.M.) &
you knew the drainpipe diameter, just add water until your sink shows it.
The quantity you put in will say how far downstream the blockage is, at least in theory. Ten feet of a 2" ID pipe may hold 1.5 gallons.

Whatever you do and however long it takes you, you'll be paying yourself at least $30 per hour of tax-free income.
 
Last edited:

taviaromescu

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
30
Reaction score
7
It's ok, the HOA sent a plumber out. That guy snaked the drain.

I would like to know if this sounds plausible: He said the clog was not in the main sewer line; it was in a pipe in between our two units, and when our neighbor overhead snaked his drain, it pushed the clog farther down, and that is why the backing up started after his first attempt at snaking the drain. Then it got really bad, New Year's Eve, and our sink would not stop backing up. Soon after that, I head the guy overhead snaking his drain again. The backup stopped, but our sink was still clogged.

So it sounds like this guy is fibbing? This is different than the scenario JOeD described.
I just don't know about it. (We have an extremely evil HOA). I just don't want to end up
paying for this because they claim the clog was not in an HOA pipe....

I looked at this article:
https://tinyurl.com/ybsyngrt

And it looks like there are more connections going on there, and maybe it is possible for a clog that is not in the main stack to cause a problem between the 2 units? Just wondering....
 
Last edited:

taviaromescu

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
30
Reaction score
7
PS: it couldn't be the gallon or two of waste water, because it was way more water than that.
Turns out the guy overhead does cook chicken, and we were getting chicken-grease water in the sink.
 

Snoonyb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
4,045
Reaction score
782
What he is telling you is plausible because the sink waste lines could wye off of the main below your unit and also serve the unit above you.

Have the HOA show you in the CC&R's where the waste lines are distinctly separated, as to the responsibility for.
 

JoeD

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
1,711
Reaction score
329
I just don't want to end up
paying for this because they claim the clog was not in an HOA pipe....
If the backup happened when the upper unit drained water then it is in a common line to the building. If it was only in a line in your unit then the backup would only occur when you used water.
 

slownsteady

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Messages
7,010
Reaction score
1,346
Location
Sussex County, NJ
You should also have a chat with the guy upstairs. Whatever he is throwing in his drain is causing the clogs, and he may just need to be informed of his error in judgement. You may also want to stock up on enzymatic drain cleaner and do some preventative maintenance every so often. ....especially when you hear the snake in the upstairs drain.
 
Last edited:

Wuzzat?

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2010
Messages
2,471
Reaction score
175
(We have an extremely evil HOA)
They probably hang out with our mortgage company.

Get stuff in writing with them.
If they [foolishly] don't balk at this request, ask them for a sworn statement by a HOA principal employee (affidavit forms are on the Web).
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,327
Reaction score
460
Location
Cary NC
Throwing grease and oil down the drain is a surefire way to clog them. Especially if the grease is solid at room temperature. This is why commercial kitchens have to have grease traps if they put grease down the drains and it makes it out into the mains they can cause sewage spills when the inevitable clog forms.

Your neighbor should be pouring the grease into a container and putting it in the trash. My town will actually collect it for recycling into biofuels if you collect enough of it.
 

Latest posts

Top