Clog in the main drain line

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by Cephus, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    This is an annual problem and I have no idea how to solve it. Once a year or so, our kitchen sink, washing machine and a utility sink all back up whenever the washing machine drains. They are all on the main drain in the house, the system goes from washing machine to utility sink to kitchen sink, then straight to the city sewage line. When the washer drains, the utility sink will fill and may overflow, dumping water all over the floor. The kitchen sink will then start to fill but usually only leaves a puddle around the drain. We've had a plumber out and he's cleared the drain but found no evidence of tree roots or anything else and he said his snake went way, way, way down to the end, maybe even into the city's pipes. A couple of years ago, before this started happening, there was a leak right in front of our house that the city came out and took care of, but now they refuse to even consider the possibility that it's on their side of the line. I would like this to get fixed before it starts backing up into the rest of the house but the only access I have at all is a clean-out near the kitchen sink, all of the other pipes in the house are inside the walls with zero access to go down drains, etc. I've tried chemicals and they don't seem to work at all.

    Ideas?
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,279
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    It is possible that your main line has a belly or does not have enough pitch to effectively keep itself clear. Once it has been cleared, a sewer camera might be telling.
  3. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,801
    Location:
    IL
    Does this always happen in the rainy season?
  4. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    I have no idea. The house was built in 1926 and if there was a difficult way to do things, the people who built the house did it. I was going to have the plumber cam the pipe last time but his camera was broken. It's just strange that this happens once a year, I'd think that if it was just a dip in the line or the pitch, it wouldn't take a year to plug, and it's not plugged, it's a slow drain.
  5. Cephus

    Cephus New Member

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    California
    This is California, we have no rainy season. :)
  6. rebarman

    rebarman New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    My kitchen sink drains into the main line in the crawl space. We don't put grease down it and hardly use the disposal, but about once a year, that line clogs. It was originally cast iron, but I replaced it with plastic. I go down there and pull it off and run my snake through it. Looks like crisco, but cakier. It really fills up with this junk. I think the issue with mine is that the line is not steep enough coming from the sink. I should probably shorten the tail coming out of the sink drain so that I can increase the slope to the main. Maybe you have a similar issue?
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,801
    Location:
    IL
    Is the material at the bottom of the line from the sink? If you change anything, make that a wide sweep fitting at the transition from vertical to horizontal to make that less of a catch point.

    You must be putting something down the sink or disposer. When you run the disposer, run cold water.
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
  9. rebarman

    rebarman New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    California
    The line doesn't clog right at the tail. It's really the complete line and looks like a blocked artery all of the way! We always run cold water and we really don't put much down the sink for that reason. Less and less through the years to avoid the problem. I'm not sure what a "wide sweep fitting" is. A larger angle? I will look into the enzyme cleaner. I really don't appreciate the trip down into the crawl space once a year :)

    thx for the suggestions!
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,251
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    COLD water congeals any grease which is why you use it with the disposer, but once the material is IN the drain, cold water congeals any residual grease and causes the clog. You have a disposer, so once a month, or so, fill that sink bowl with HOT water, then run the disposer while it is draining to "melt" any grease and flush it away.
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