backed up drain & sewer gas

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by xen, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. xen

    xen New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I apologize for the length of this post...
    I bought my house (built in 1938) 2 months ago and have been having sewage problems that no one seems to be able (or willing) to figure out. On Saturday I went down to my basement while my wife was showering upstairs and saw water coming up from the floor drain, flooding the basement/office. The water receeded fairly quickly after my wife turned off the shower but not before ruining the carpet in my office. This drain has been a problem because the washing machine drains into it faster than the drain can handle. I "solved" this problem by diverting the washing machine into the utility sink which then drains into the floor drain via the cleanout in the floor drain. (The sink was already plumbed like this.) This slows the flow down enough that the drain can handle it.

    I called a plumber out (couldn't come until Monday). He snaked the basement drain, didn't find anything, couldn't recreate the problem, and basicaly told me there was no problem.

    Then, on Wednesday, I flushed the toilet and went down to the basement. A few minutes later I heard a rushing sound accompanied by a gurgle. I went over to the utility sink and there was sewer gas rushing out of the drain. It wasn't just seeping out, it rushing out in a very strong and audible way. The water in the p-trap of the floor drain was gurgling. Later I discovered that the toilet had also been gurgling, apparently quite violently. The lid and seat were wet (lid was down) but the floor wasn't, so I know it didn't overflow.

    I called a different plumber and told him the story. He said he could put a p-trap in the utility sink to stop the gas but that was all he was willing to do. (I can & will do this myself.)

    Some other facts that I think are important: The toilet backs up about once a week and often smells of sewer gas regardless of how clean it is. Both events happened after a heavy rain which is somewhat rare here in SE Idaho. I have run water down the stack thinking it was clogged but I could hear the water run all the way into the main sewer line.

    Does anyone have any ideas how I can troubleshoot this? I can't recreate the problems which makes it difficult to convience the "pros" that there is any problem at all. Any suggestions are much appreciated.
  2. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    smell

    The way I read you problem, it's outside away from the house.
    There may be a problem in the city main.
    Could you get the city DPW to come and pop a couple man-holes and
    gaurentee that the city drain is ok?
  3. plumguy

    plumguy New Member

    Messages:
    192
    Location:
    MA
    Usually when there is a floor drain in a residence it has a combination main drain that handles all plumbing fixtures plus storm drains(roof leaders,gutters,etc.). This might be why you're experiencing this problem during or just after rainstorms.

    You could have you're main inspected(camera) and see if there are any problems that would cause this besides being too small and not being able to handle the volume. Or look at the possibilities of rerouting you're gutters and downspouts and not using you're main drain.
  4. xen

    xen New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Thanks for the suggestions

    I'll contact the city and see what I can find out. I live in an old section of town so I'm not sure what kind of condition the city lines are in.

    I don't think I have a storm drain. There are no gutters or anything. (We really don't get much rain here.) There are several plumbers in town that use cameras. I'll look into their services if the city angle doesn't pan out.
  5. casman

    casman New Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    New York
    I had problems just like yours 1890's house, plumber ran a camera, he found what he called a tilted wye in the line, so like if you drew a Y, with the line running north up the Y the waste was getting hung up at the junction in the Y. Aparently my washer drain was running to the top left of the Y making it worse, as it pushed the waste back and forth. The top right branch of the Y was the way out to the drain...Plumber said I needed to break up floor to fix, but he did get it working OK then later I discontinued the washer drain and rerouted it and haven't had any problems since. They did some funny plumbing back then and I would suggest the camera....Good Luck
  6. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    plumbing

    In the old days there was always a couple of farmers that moonlighted as plumbers and they did some funny things.........
Similar Threads: backed drain
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice kitchen sink, dishwasher drain backed up Feb 8, 2013
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Setting up pump in sump pit to pump to sidewalk if sewer line is backed up May 27, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Backwater Valve Stuck - Toilet Backed Up Mar 27, 2012
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Main line backed up again! Feb 20, 2010
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Main line backed up...need help now. Aug 12, 2009

Share This Page