Main drain pipe clogged after washing machine

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Tom W., Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Tom W.

    Tom W. New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Last night we noticed that the washtub in our basement that the washing machine drains into was overflowing. After bailing out the water we also noticed that the kitchen sink draining down from the first floor was backing up into the washtub, thus leading us to conclude we had a clog in the drain pipe below where the washtub drain butted in. (Hopefully the attachment will be visible to clearly represent the configuration). There was no lint trap on the washing machine which probably led to this situation.
    We have tried plunging and gel products for clogged drains with no luck. What would you suggest next?
    Should we try to snake out the pipe from the end cap protruding to the right in the photo? Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    1. Get rid of that "abortion" you call a sink drain.
    2. THEN, snake the drain from the plug on the left.
    3. IF the sink is draining down into the top of that fitting, it was installed improperly to begin with.
  3. Tom W.

    Tom W. New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    The flexible PVC on the left is where the washing machine is draining from (through the washtub). The kitchen sink is draining down from the first floor from the copper pipe on the right.
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,359
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    HJ said it pretty well, get rid of the flex. Flex PVC drains are a cop out to proper plumbing sold to DIY who don't know any better. They frequently clog because of the interior ridges. Now whether that is the location of the clog or not, I can't say, but I can say that your use of "gel products" indicates you have little knowledge of plumbing and plumbing problems. That's OK, that's why this forum exists, but you need to understand that drain cleaning chemicals do not work, can damage plumbing, and create a hazard for anyone working on the pipes. A professional plumber, with a professionally sized snake is the only way to get the clog removed. My suggestion at this point is to contact a licensed plumber in you area to fix the connection and auger the drain.
  5. shacko

    shacko Master Plumber-Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    561
    Location:
    Rosedale, Md
    Have to agree with H J, that is an abortion, don't know what's the reason for that hook-up, would like to see where the plactic pipe is hooked into the system.

    Drain cleaning products are usually a waste of money and mixing the wrong ones together can damage you system.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,129
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Normally when you have an upstairs sink dropping down to the lower floor, you would have a separately vented p-trap for the laundry tray sink.
    The vent would go up to the second story and revent at 42" on the second floor.

    You could add an AAV between the trap and the standpipe to help the lower sink drain.
    Snaking from the threaded cap is your best option for cleaning the drain.

    I'm glad it was someone else that called it an abortion. Saves me the time typing it in.
  7. Tom W.

    Tom W. New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Thanks for all the input. I ran a snake through and all of the pipes above the floor are clear. I was able to get the snake about 3' down into the pipe below the floor and could not get it further.
    Feels like there may be another bend where this drain angles over to butt into the wider main drain. Looks like its time for a pro with a better snake.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Yes it is. And maybe he will remove that drum trap and flexible sink drain at the same time. An AAV on the drain would help after the sink finishes draining, but would do nothing for the situation when the upstairs starts, and continues draining.
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,129
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    And that's why plumbers like to run vents and not AAV's
    A vent will always work.
  10. Doherty Plumbing

    Doherty Plumbing Journeyman & Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    810
    Location:
    Penticton, BC
    Get rid of that bell trap and flexible drain.

    Run a snake through the piping. Hire a professional with a good contractor-quality-machine.
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