Clogged Washer Drain - Help!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by LLogan, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. LLogan

    LLogan New Member

    Messages:
    1
    My washer drain (post pipe) overflows when the washer is on the drain cycle, even on small loads. The water spills down onto the floor and causes damage to the nearby 2x4's. I've tried a variety of crystal and liquid drain cleaners, but no luck. I don't have snake equipment.

    Any ideas??
  2. casman

    casman New Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    New York
    The line needs to be snaked out as you already know. I wouldn't run to home depot and buy a snake like I did, everyone told me they can be dangerous but I bought one anyway and almost ripped off my hand, its best left to the pros....
  3. casman

    casman New Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    New York
    Almost forgot, don't forget to tell the plumber you put chemicals in the line....
  4. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    Messages:
    131
    If the water overflows soon after the drain cycle, you probably have a lint ball clogging a nearby elbow or tee. New washers flush the lint out with each drain cycle, rather than trapping it in a filter. Buy a small, rotating hand auger. ($25?) Feed the line in the pipe until it stops. Keep the auger end close to the pipe entrance at all times. Lock the line, then rotate it through the bend. Continue this until all the line is extended. Pull it in and out a few times, then remove it. Hopefully, you will have unclogged the line and saved yourself ~$80 bucks.
  5. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    Thanks Casman

    Casman, thank you for sharing the dangers of using drain cleaning equipment. It is really not a handyman or diy type of work. It would be rare for a little hand cable to open a 2" line. They often double up on themselves and do not have a big enough head if they even have a head.
  6. Deb

    Deb Plumber

    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    Idaho
    Deb

    I second Lonny's advise. A small hand snake is good for nothing. Save your money. And do not use drain cleaners. They do not work (as you found out), they can damage pipes, and they can damage augering equipment and they can damage people. Tell the person that augers this exactly what you have put down the drain. They need to protect themselves and their equipment (if they can), but you will probably have to pay more because you have a line full of caustic chemicals.
    As you have read, there is an art to running that equipment.
    Deb
    The Pipewench
  7. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    Messages:
    131
    I have to disagree. I have opened many a line with just a rotating hand auger.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2005
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,487
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    snake

    The next time you have to unplug one that is 70' long, come back and tell us, You say you have unplugged many lines with the hand cranked auger. Were any of these the same drain because that little head did not clear the pipe completely and just drilled a small hole through the obstruction? If a $20 hand snake would do the job, why do we invest a couple of thousand dollars getting the one we think we need to do the job?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2005
  9. jrejre

    jrejre New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Minnesota
    hj, I have yet to need a $2,000 unit to clear a washer standpipe unless there are other drain symptoms. In that case, I can rent one for about $50.

    If you want to just say, "Don't try, always call your local plumber...then at least be up front about it."

    Here's a source for various flexible cleaning tools. Even the largest PRO-XL model is far less that $2,000.

    http://plumbertool.com/

    I thought Terry Love's board here was "Where homeowners get advice on how to plumb"... Come on hj, cleaning a washer stand pipe typically isn't that complicated. Granted it can be, but not usually. LLogan was asking for help here, not to get slammed.

    Maybe I'm in a cranky mood tonight, but there sure seem to be a lot of posts here slamming the non-plumber, homeowner for asking for help.

    Sorry, Terry... I'll try to be a better behaved "homeowner" on future posts. Also, FWIW on my first post on this board asking about replacement water heaters, I had e-mails directly from people with suggestions and advice that didn't want to post openly on this board and receive the wrath of other members. That's a say commentary about an "open" internet "self-help" board.
  10. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    Easy Everyone

    I prefer us not to take plumbing so serious. I've recently had to leave another forum because it got so bad. And that's plumbers attacking plumbers. Bob you may have gotten two inch lines open many times with a hand augar but that is not a statement a licensed drain cleaner or plumber would make. You can poke a little hole in a line but it takes a power machine with a head to get it open. Or you have to keep poking a little hole in it.
    And hj is probably enlarging on the drain cleaning question and talking about the house drain cleaning equipment. A sink machine is around $500.00 and a sewer machine is a thousand without the extra cables and heads. The machine from your site is only a hundred dollars less than $2,000.00 and it doesn't have all the accessories. It takes about three years of experience to learn how to clean lines. Many think they're getting them cleaned when they're only allowing them to get worse.
    I agree we should help homeowners with their plumbing but in plumbing it can always get worse and we see diy's get into big messes. There is a reason it takes classroom and practical experience in addition to a test to become licensed. There's more to it that it first appears. We probably should explain more why a person should not attempt some things.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2005
  11. jrejre

    jrejre New Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Thanks Lonny (really!) You made the point that I did not make clearly. I think it is just fine to help and also warn the homeowner... explain why they should or shouldn't try something. Explaining more would be helpful.

    Lord knows I've gotten in over my head before. I still remember jackhammering away the floor of my California slab home to get access to the embedded water pipes. I wish someone had warned me of that one.
  12. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    Messages:
    131
    Oh, Oh, the plumbers have closed ranks against hand augers. ( He said, while adjusting his flak vest.) Lonny, I didn't say a hand snake was the BEST way to clean a drain. I'm not talking 70' lines here, HJ. Do you really want someone to call you every time he has a hair clog in his sink? You can remove the pop-up and have it open in seconds. And even if the repair only lasts a few months, this can be done over and over with only the initial price of the tool as an expense. That's not "good for nothing" is it, Deb? I want people to be at least somewhat enabled, even if it means a little less business. I never had trouble getting work. Do you? In fact, I bet you're over-worked. BTW, I didn't recommend renting a power auger. You CAN get hurt using one.
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