drain pipe for washing machine. (discovered mine has 2 -22 degree joints)

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by nickyv, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. nickyv

    nickyv New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    austin texas
    HELP...
    my wife and I purchased a house and after 1 1/2 years of living in the house we ran into a problem.
    I always had an uneasy feeling on the issue with the utility room, laminate floors were warping a bit and i think I figured out why..

    wife discovered a pool of water in the utility room and we located the water issue with the drain pipe for the washing machine, the water draining will overflow every once in a while. since we are not sitting over the washing machine box we never took note of the overflowing water. Plus, since the washing machine box was not sealed the water went behind the sheet rock, hence no pool of water on the floor.

    once the mushy sheet rock was discovered I also discovered that the stud in the wall was cut out so that the P-Trap would fit and the installers placed 2- 22 degree joints just so that the drainage pipe would reach/fit in the middle of the washing machine box.

    the question that I have is:
    1- if I place a straight pipe replacing the pipe from the p-trap to the washing machine box should this alleviate the overflow? ( I will use a washing machine box that has a right side drain pipe placement)

    2- would the 2- 22 degree joints in the pipe leading from the P-Trap to the washing machine box cause enough issues so that the water draining would back up every once in a while? we have no clue on the frequency of overflow, 1 in 5 maybe could be more or less.

    I attached an image of the washing machine box and crooked drain pipe. (circled the 2 joints(connectors) in question)


    washing machine drain pipeb.jpg
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    The 22* fittings should have little effect on the flow of the drain. You may have a partial stoppage in the line.

    John
  3. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    Agree with John...

    While you have everything torn apart, you should think about installing a cleanout in the vent above the trap. Some people like to put them high enough that you can get to it w/o moving the machine, some would rather it be behind the machine, but either way, I'd get one in there and have the cleanout come out through the drywall for easy access if you have any future problems. You'll probably need to cut into the pipes to snake them anyway, so perfect time to install the cleanout.
  4. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    In looking one more time at your pic... can you post a couple more with different angles showing the trap more? That looks like an S-trap with some goofy attachment to the drain...
  5. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
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    What they did was use the st. end of the trap into the sanitary tee instead of into the trap. What that did was make the trap seal a little deeper but it shouldn't have any effect on the washer draining.

    John
  6. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    3,249
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Also agree that the bends in the standpipe are not an issue. You have a restriction in the trap or further down the line.
  7. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    I see what you're saying, but something still looks off to me. Can you post a picture taken from a different angle? I think that's an S-trap with a different pipe behind it... it doesn't look like what we're assuming is the vent connects to the top of the trap arm to me, looks like a pure S-trap with another line tucked behind it.

    Regardless, this shouldn't stop the flow, but if that is the case, you have an illegal setup and could have sewer gasses venting into your house if that trap were to siphon.
  8. nickyv

    nickyv New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    austin texas
    thank you for the input so far.. I will take more photos.. a couple of things to add...

    1) I bought a smaller snake that attaches to a drill and it seams that I just cannot get it past the 90 to go down into the vertical pipe after the p trap. (it is the small version, neighbor has larger snake that we will try much thicker and is on a steal frame with wheels, he mentioned that they even used the wrong pipe after the P-trap, neighbor is a retired plumber)
    2) also used one of those bladder things that go onto the end of the hose, worked but again it still backs up every so often, it can be a `1/2 a cup or more never really know since we are not standing over the machine. some times it works, you can "hear" the water coming up the pipe, sometimes it stops and others it over flows.
    3) previous owners had plumbers here for 3-4 days, not sure if it was to fix this problem..

    will take more pictures and add, need to knock out dinner..
  9. nickyv

    nickyv New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    austin texas
    thanks, I will look into a cleanout in the vent pipe that connect to the "elbow" or corner pipes that connect to the P-Trap ( i have no plumbing experience)
  10. nickyv

    nickyv New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    austin texas
    here are a few more pictures of the drain pipe for the washing machine.
    - the pipe that is curving down into the p-trap and from the connecting pipe from the vent pipe is not 90* vertical, it is pitched a little bit leaning towards the right. (1/8th of an inch off from 90*)
    - this 90 * joint/elbow is 4 to 4 1/2 inches tall.

    I think the pipping wrapped black foam is for the AC unit and the smaller pvc pipe that is inbetween the vent pip and foam pipe is for AC, I think?

    as to what happened to the exterior of the pipes is that the guys putting it in did not use shields and melted the outside of the pipes. There is the foam that you can squirt in and the 2x2 to the left of all of this is a bit soft/rotted push a nail in about an 1/8- 1/4 washing_machne_drain_pipe 007.jpg washing_machne_drain_pipe 001.jpg washing_machne_drain_pipe 002.jpg washing_machne_drain_pipe 003.jpg washing_machne_drain_pipe 004.jpg of an inch.
  11. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    Well, I stand corrected... that isn't an S-trap. The perspective looked like it, but I was wrong. That is actually a good thing, you didn't want me to be right :p

    So, if this was my place, I'd cut out most of that and repipe it. The trap is too deep, which shouldn't stop up the water, but if you only occasionally have problems, and your washer drains really fast, and there's some other minor problem in the plumbing, it could be the last straw that makes it overflow. I'd also want that burned piping cut out and replaced, and a cleanout installed. The 2 bends in the standpipe doesn't concern me at all, though if you're having this problem, I'd also possibly make a longer standpipe. Take it up to 30" above the trap.

    As John said, the 90 coming out of the trap and going into the SanTee on teh main drain line is backwards. They did this b/c of the tight space in there, but this makes the trap much deeper, requiring much more force to push water through the trap. There should be a better way to plumb this, especially considering that stud to the right is already cut out.

    While you have it cut apart, run a LONG snake down the drain... there could be a plug anywhere downstream of this. Then put in your cleanout so that you can do it again if it becomes necessary.
  12. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    Also, what is that other white pipe behind the laundry line? It looks totally destroyed by whoever did the copper sweating in there... that should also be addressed (ie replaced).
  13. nickyv

    nickyv New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    austin texas
    thanks for the tips.
    the small pvc pipe behind the vent pipe I think is for the AC, I need to check. there is another pipe wrapped in black foam next to the small white pipe and I think that is for the AC as well.
    - the top of the drain pipe as of right now is 32 inches from the foundation and i about 30 inches from the bottom of the p-trap.

    i came across a web post that the drain pipe needs to be 32'-44' from the foundation depending on state..

    my thinking is placing the top of the drain pipe around 40-42' from the foundation with a straight pipe to the p-trap with the other items fixed/updated and while I have this all torn out snake down into the pipe that is going into the foundation (vent pipe)
  14. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    I suggest you ask your neighbor for some help with this if you plan to do it yourself. Getting the right fittings, etc is very important, and I can tell from the way you talk about this you don't have the knowledge required to do this properly on your own. For example, the pipe going into the foundation is a drain line, the vent is the pipe that goes up from where the trap ties in. There is no point in you spending the time and money to reinstall all of this wrong again... make sure you have some good help from someone who knows what they're doing, or just pay someone to do it. Maybe you can pay your neighbor to do it, with you as his helper. If he's a nice guy, maybe he'll do that for you for a cheap price compared to the plumbers you'd call in.

    This is how I first learned the basics of what I know about plumbing... I hired a plumber to do work, I worked for free as his helper, and asked lots of questions. Once you have a pretty good base of knowledge, you can better understand the forums and such like this, to expand your knowledge.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  15. nickyv

    nickyv New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    austin texas
    oh yeah I agree, was going to hire him to teach me.. I am a complete novice and would not do this solo..

    the pipe the p-trap goes into heads staight up to the roof and down into the foundation, what looks like to me.. and the drain pipe then goes into the main line where you can see the run off in the front yard popping open the main trap lid. when we were tinkering with the washing machine we would have one guy out in the front yard on the main yelling when the water was going through.

    thanks again for your help
  16. nickyv

    nickyv New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    austin texas
    and i think i understand when you say that the pipe heading down into the foundation from the pipe fiitting (going to call it a T) to the p-trap is the drain pipe and the pipe extending to the roof from the T pipe fitting is the vent, correct?
  17. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    Yes. The basic concept of a plumbing drain is this: The water goes down the drain of the fixture (sink, laundry, shower, whatever), into the trap, through it, into the T (that particular one is called a SanTee, or Sanitary Tee), and down the drain. When the waste water stops flowing, the trap needs to be left with enough water that it seals off the pipe so that no sewer gasses can come back up through the trap and into the living space. While its nice sometimes to retrieve your wedding ring from a sink trap, that is not its actual purpose - the purpose is to stop sewer gasses from entering your home.

    However, when water is quickly flowing down the drain (and there are some other situations where this can occur, but for simplicity, we'll stick with just this one), it creates a siphoning effect, which can suck the water right out of the trap, leaving you with a dangerous situation of noxious sewer gasses entering your home. This is where the vent comes in. It goes up from the SanTee either through the roof directly, or ties in with other vents and they all go out together in a larger vent line. When there is a siphoning effect on the drain line, it pulls air from outside through the vent system, rather than sucking the water out of your trap.

    Does that make sense? It gets FAR more complicated than that in practice, but that is the very basic concept of a plumbing drain and vent system. The use of proper fittings, sizes and lengths of pipes, etc is all critical to building a system that both drains properly w/o clogging all the time, and keeps the traps full of water to prevent unsafe sewer gasses in the house.

    If you'd like to learn more, I suggest you study this document in detail. It will help you to understand more and more how it all works, which pipe sizes and lengths and which fittings you use where. http://www.co.lincoln.or.us/planning/plumbing/apps/plumbingguide.pdf
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Actually the trap is only SLIGHTly deeper and it has absolutely NO EFFECT on the draining, (in fact, it is almost exactly the same as when manufacturers supply a standard street ell instead of the short pattern one). Even a "retired plumber" should know that it is NOT "the wrong fitting", but the right one used in reverse, which is often done when necessary because of conditions.. The WRONG part about the drain is that they did NOT install a cleanout fitting above the drain's tee. Whoever did the work really "incinerated'' the pipes and studs in the area, which implies it was NOT done by a professional plumber.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2011
  19. nickyv

    nickyv New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    austin texas
    Do you think this is the original plumbing? any way to tell how old the work is by the ink imprint on the PVC ? the house was built in 1985.

    how long do you think it would take to replace the entire project? (2 days)
    - replace all of the piping and material from washing machine box to drain/vent pipe.
    - add clean out
    - extend hot/cold water supply pipes another 8-10" since I want to move the washing machine box a few inches higher by moving the top of the drain pipe from 33" to 43"
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  20. mtcummins

    mtcummins In the Trades

    Messages:
    380
    Location:
    Pittsburgh PA
    A plumber should be able to do that in half a day at most (allowing for a few "oh $#!^'s". A DIYer, who knows...
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