Sewage in shower; no clean-out?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by jenlion, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. jenlion

    jenlion New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    I live in a 1978 split-level in Redmond, WA. Have been in this house since March of 2008 and not had any major plumbing problems until tonight (Halloween, of course!). Sewage backed up into the lower-level shower.

    My husband called a 24/7 plumbing company based on ads he'd seen. Their guy came out quickly and started a hunt for a cleanout. We couldn't find one anywhere. He quoted $2k to dig up the line and add one in and do a video of it and all that; I figure we'll live through the night without much water and maybe look again in the morning, but after reading the Angie's List reviews in detail, I'm not going to have them actually do any work!

    I thought cleanouts were old news? Should my house have one, and we just need to wait for daylight to go looking again? We've asked a few neighbors if THEY have cleanouts, and none so far know.

    What would some good next steps be? We can't use much water at the moment, it bubbles back up that shower. Looking forward to a TREAT next year at Halloween..... :eek:
  2. D'Brie

    D'Brie Apprentice Plumber

    Messages:
    44
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    All homes should have a main line cleanout, not all homes do though. Wait till the sun comes up to look further. Do you have a basement or crawlspace? If so, look for where your main line (sewer line) leaves the house for a more precise location of your clean out. Next thing to do is to have your line snaked and run a sewer camera down the line to see if it is broken or compromised in any way. Find a competent, licensed and honest plumber. Try here for a start:

    http://www.phccweb.org/applications/ContractorReferral/search.cfm?navItemNumber=532

    Best of luck!
  3. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Sewage in shower ! ! !

    Send me a pm with your phone number,

    or contact me by e mail will give free advice to find clean out or who to call in your area !

    I have worked that area for 5 years, in the past !
  4. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Sewage in shower ! ! !

    Look at terry loves website ! Give him a call he more then likely knows

    a good drain cleaner and or plumber in your area
  5. D'Brie

    D'Brie Apprentice Plumber

    Messages:
    44
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    +1
    This is a great idea.
  6. jenlion

    jenlion New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    Since the house is a split-level, it has a finished walk-out basement. Street-side, it's half-underground; to the backyard, it's straight-out. All of the plumbing in the house is on the backyard-side of the house.

    No crawl space, and I have no idea where the main line would leave the house. I know where the water services comes INTO the house, but no idea where sewer goes OUT of the house!

    I'm sure by next week we can get a good plumber out (Angie's List is a godsend), but it'd be so much better (and cheaper!) to just fix it ourselves tomorrow rather than start sorting through contractors there and having people out and getting quotes and maybe getting to use our own toilets again by Wednesday or so.....

    Do we even need to be looking for a cleanout? Or is there something we can maybe snake from somewhere else??
  7. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Sewage in shower ! ! !

    Thank of your house drain system like a tree, the main trunk is what we call

    a main line !

    All the branch drains tie into it, and when it gets plugged by a blockage
    you need a very "heavy duty" sewer cleaning machine which is not
    recommended for home owners to mess with and since your main drain is 4"
    out to the street the drain person needs someplace to put the big 4" cutters
    into the drain line !

    This we call a cleanout ! Now are you on a septic tank or city sewer ?
  8. jenlion

    jenlion New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    I know he's local -- we've referred to this site in the past for other plumbing DIY stuff. And he's got a spotless Angie's List record. But I don't see any hours-to-call on the site, so I'm guessing it'd be a Monday call. :D

    Another couple of things we were going over here that might be relevant... or not...

    -- My husband just fessed up that he tossed 12 -- TWELVE -- "or so" -- flushable wipes down an upstairs toilet after the two-year-old had a bad digestive experience. This was JUST before the backup downstairs.

    -- I sent a pumpkin's worth of guts down the sink disposal this afternoon, a couple of hours before the backup. We use it often, but that was a good chunk-o-guts all in one fell swoop.

    Could either of those events be relevant, would either change the approach to fix???

    Thanks!
  9. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Sewage in shower ! ! !

    Click on my name at top of page post it will give you the option to send me a private p.m. Message and i can probably explain better over the phone !
  10. jenlion

    jenlion New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    We're on city sewer.

    Sure wish we could just FIND that 4" pipe, that'd probably help..... :D
  11. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Sewage in shower ! ! !

    Yes it would but a good or best professional plumber/drain cleaner
    will have tricks or ideals about your homes in your area on how to find the clean out

    if all else fails they can always pull a toilet and go though the drain from
    that bathroom,

    "but" there are a very many "good" reason we don"t like to do that

    all you need at this time is for a __good_drain person to power snake the

    main drain out to the city main in the street !

    You do "not" need a camera job at this time ! !

    There are many reasons a main line can stop up !

    Only "if" you start to have many problems the get it cameraed

    you don't automatic get a "cat scan" or "mri" when you go to the doctors office
  12. D'Brie

    D'Brie Apprentice Plumber

    Messages:
    44
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    -- My husband just fessed up that he tossed 12 -- TWELVE -- "or so" -- flushable wipes down an upstairs toilet after the two-year-old had a bad digestive experience. This was JUST before the backup downstairs.

    -- I sent a pumpkin's worth of guts down the sink disposal this afternoon, a couple of hours before the backup. We use it often, but that was a good chunk-o-guts all in one fell swoop.

    Could either of those events be relevant, would either change the approach to fix???

    Thanks![/QUOTE]

    BINGO! If I had a buck for every "flushable" wipes retreived with our mainline machine. Those wipes are really tough. Twelve of them can certainly produce a blockage (let alone stringy pumpkin inards). Like it's been said here, a mainline machine is a great start but it is not a DIY machine, you can get really hurt. Get a pro to help.
  13. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Sewage in shower ! ! !

    bingo there is the cause of your stoppage !

    But the same thing still needs to be done to clear problem ! Ether one or both together would cause the problem
  14. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Sewage in shower ! ! !

    Check your P. M. Under private messages under your log in name !
  15. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The suggestion from your plumber is about what you would expect from the guy working a holiday saturday afternoon!

    It will be nice to find a cleanout, but it it's not there, my first response would NOT to be to dig up the yard! I would pull the toilet where the "offense" took place, and try to snake the line from that point.
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,635
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    cleanout

    I am going to tell you the same thing I told an inspector one time. "There is a cleanout, but it is a plugged tee in the main line right as it leaves the house." He asked me to prove it, so I dug down the line and showed him the tee. He then asked, "Who would ever approve something like that?" And I told him HIS inspectors did during that time period, just like he would have if he were working then. Dig down to the pipe, and expose the cleanout, then after the line is unplugged remove it and install a proper cleanout up to ground level. It will have to be removed because there is no pipe that will screw into the plug opening.
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