Foam Coming out of Washer drain pipe

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by froggy11, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. froggy11

    froggy11 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    We need some serious help! 2 year old home with 2 year old washer. At the end of the washer cycle, about 2 minutes from the end when it's spinning, foam starts to come up where the discharge hose runs into the wall. The foam is spilling over the edge of the plastic wall insert and onto the floor.
    Initially, what started all this was that we were sitting downstairs and heard drip drip. There was water leaking from the ceiling. Went upstairs and water and foam all over. This has obviously been going on for quite some time as the vinyl flooring under the washer is split. The plumbing company came out and discovered the box was about 18 inches too low, cut out the drywall and moved that up. Now, the water is not spilling over, but the foam still is. Talked to washing machine repairman and he suggested using vinegar to try to clean out but that didn't work either. Any other suggestions? Maybe the venting is either clogged or not installed properly?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
  2. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Messages:
    1,404
    Location:
    Licensed Grump
    Here in my state, we're required to have the drain inlet a minimum of 31" above the base of the washer.
    The standpipe above the trap/below the inlet should be between 18" and 28" long..also a vent should be connected where the drain connects to a vertical drop. If one of these is missed, you'll get foam or overflow.
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I usually try to get 24-28" long standpipes and seldom see a sudsing problem! How long is yours? Excessive detergent use or, boosters such as OxyClean contribute to this problem. This foaming occurrs after the bulk of the water has already pumped out and the suds are floating on the water in the trap.

    If it is indeed a foam problem there will be very little water associated with it! If there is abunch of water the line needs snaking!
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2007
  4. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    You need to snake the drain. Vinegar only works some times just like the liquid drain cleaners. If the drain worked fine in the past I would snake the drain. It is not worth pouring stuff down drains.
  5. froggy11

    froggy11 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    thanks

    I forgot to mention I know nothing about plumbing whatsover. I'm trying to figure this out to help my other half from going insane. So there is the plastic box (insert) in the wall where the hose from the washer goes in to the standpipe and drains out, and has the hot and cold water thingies. The drywall is cut out right now below this plastic box about 2 feet down. Is there any way I would be able to see where the vent should be coming off the standpipe? Or would it actually be in the wall above the plastic insert? I have a feeling we have a venting issue, but the plumber told us they will have to wait until spring to go up on the roof and inspect it. We have pretty much exhausted all other possibilities.
    Thanks Grumpy for all your help.
  6. froggy11

    froggy11 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Me Again

    The plumbing company snaked the drains and said they were all clear. The standpipe looks to be long enough. They put the plastic insert and connections above the washer now so we don't have the water overflow problem anymore, jsut the suds at the very end, last 2 or 3 minutes of the cycle. Then, at the very end, when the washer stops, all the foam sucks down.
  7. froggy11

    froggy11 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Vinegar

    I guess he recommended the vinegar to get rid of any excess soap/detergent that might be lining the washer or discharge hose. That didn't work. The other suggestion was to cut the end off the end of the discharge hose, where it narrows. That didn't work. Tried raising the hose up and down, lower and higher in the standpipe, that didn't work. Basically we have exhausted every other thing but the venting. Seeing that the guy who plumbed the house put the plastic insert about 18 inches too low, who knows what else he did. We just basically need to make sure it's not the washer I guess so that we can put the ball in the plumbers court, because it's still under warranty.
  8. wondering

    wondering Member

    Messages:
    106
    Is your washer a front or top loader?

    Why not change detergents? There are several very good low suds detergents on the market.
    Sears has a very good one in a bucket with the Oxi-Clean built in it and it is low suds. "All"(brand name) is low suds as is Fab.
    Then there are the HE(High Efficiency) ones for front loaders but you can use those in top loads if that is what you have.
    In HE there is:
    Tide powder and liquid
    Cheer liquid
    Gain liquid
    Wisk liquid
    You might also add a little fabric softener to your rinse water cause that will kill any suds in the rinse water and then in the drain when it pumps out the water.
    You could also cut back on the amount you are using. The manufacturers recommend too much so we have to buy it sooner but I know with a front loader(I have one) that it is recommended to use only 2 to 4 tablespoons of detergent.
    I hope that this will help.
  9. markts30

    markts30 Commercial Plumber

    Messages:
    630
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    1ST... i SUSPECT YOU ARE USING TOO MUCH DETERGENT...
    Does your home have a water softener?
    If so, you need a LOT less detergent than a home without one...
    Try using 1/4 as much as you use now....
    Most people use too much anyway...
  10. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut

    Kinda what I said... Even worse if your using oxi clean too!
  11. MG

    MG New Member

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    Illinois - Near St. Louis
    I vote for too much detergent. We have an extra-capacity sized washer and use only 1/4 cup - and we don't have a water softener. Its enough to clean our clothes just fine.

    If you have a water softener I'd cut way back - start with a 1/4 cup like I mentioned above. You'll be surprised how little you really need for laundry - even when it is particularly dirty.
  12. froggy11

    froggy11 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    I will try

    We have a top loader. I admit I used to use way too much. I used to basically use a whole cup of Tide. Then, after these issues, I tried doing about a quarter cup, the I tried using some Wisk low-suds stuff but we're still getting the foam. Tonight I will try to use even less. I'll use the Wisk low-suds and use just a tiny bit to see what happens. Thanks guys!
  13. markts30

    markts30 Commercial Plumber

    Messages:
    630
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Run a load through without any...
    see if the foam recurrs...
    That would be an interesting experiment...
  14. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

    Messages:
    1,404
    Location:
    Licensed Grump
    Yer typing's startin' to look like MPM's...
  15. wondering

    wondering Member

    Messages:
    106
    You could also try Charlies Soap. It is a detergent powder and you use only 1 tablespoon for a load. First you run it through the machine and it cleans all the residue that is left from all the other detergents out. Check out their website Charliesoap.com


    Also you might try (although this has been mentioned) to run a gallon of white vinegar through a hot wash cycle. A service tech told my Aunt to do this every few months to keep the "gunk" out of the washer.

    I have used the Charlies but I am in no way associated with them. Just thought I would recommend if since it cleans out the machine. An 80 load bag cost about $13 and that includes shipping.
    Fab powder is also very low suds. Is your washer a Kenmore/Whirlpool? To me those are the worst to get to not have suds in the rinse. I think it is the way they drain.JMO
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