toilet not flushing after plumbbing work

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by reller9, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. reller9

    reller9 New Member

    Yesterday evening I was using our sink, and as the water was running, the toilet was making a gargling sound and bubbles where coming through the water. I went to flush the toilet and the water level just raised never leaving the bowl. About three hours later I was able to get about three successfully flushes. The next morning there were another couple successful flushes before the problem returning. Now the water is sitting at the top of the rim and takes about an hour to go back to normal. If I plunge for about 1 minute it will clear the bowl, and at that time I hear a similar plunging/suctioning noise from the bathtub.

    Quick background:
    1) A long time ago we had block in the line and when we would plunge the toilet, the toilet water would end up in our bathtub. (somehow the lines are connected)
    2) Yesterday, we had our main sewer line and bathtub snaked. Our bathtub was previously draining slowly so we had the plumbers drain both lines. There was a build up of hair which they removed from the toilet.
    3) While they were removing the snake from the main sewer line they got stuck and it took them considerable effort to pull the snake out.
    4) I live in the basement and there are 3 units above me that all connect into the main sewer line.
    5) We haven't had any issue with the toilet in the past two years until the slow draining issue recently in the bathtub.
    6) I can't be for certain, but when I hear water coming from one of the above units, I think our toilet makes the bubbling noise and actually clears out the water.

    1) What is the problem?
    2) How do we fix it?
    3) What did the plumbers do to cause this problem?

  2. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Cincinnati OH
    Are you the owner or tenet,if you are a tenet contact the owner.
    If you are the owner there is still a blockage and I would have
    the drain cleaner come out again and camera the the main.
  3. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    This is property owned by you or the tenants above and you have a rental agreement with them¿ Because if there is some sort of landlord they should be the one posting to this forum or paying plumbers for drain clearing/cleaning.

    Does the tub drain OK¿

    I would first check the cleanout outside. Is it holding water. If there is a cap on it be careful when removing it there may be a bit of pressure of waste behind it.

    If the tub drains fine (yes tubs and toilets as are the rest of the plumbing fixtures are connected in what is called a building drain) see if you can see the water going by at the cleanout.

    If it seems to be draining at a steady pace there must still be blockage at the toilet. A toilet auger will be needed, the plunger is inadequate in this instance.
  4. reller9

    reller9 New Member

    Thank you for the quick replies.

    1) I am the owner of my place. It is a condo, and the above three units are condos as well.
    2) Yes, the tub drains okay.
    3) I am not sure what the cleanout outside is?

    Before this entire issue, there wasn't anything wrong with the toliet. It was simply the bathtub not draining quickly. Once they snaked the bathtub, they removed a massive clump of hair causing the blockage.

  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    They have not completed the them back and have them correct the problem...
  6. reller9

    reller9 New Member

    Also, I am noticing that when one of the above units flushes their toilet our toilet bubbles and our bathtub makes a gargling noise. It seems like there is some pressure issue going on.

    How could this be all tied together?
    How could the snaking they did yesterday cause this?
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    It is obvious by your comments that the problem extends beyond just your unit. It is time to get the property manager involved.
  8. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Cincinnati OH
    Is this an older building that has been converted to condos?
    If so then the problem may be in the building sewer.
    Have your drain cleaner come back out and camera the main.
    All units are tied into the same building sewer.
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    You need to understand that this is a problem that can not be solved with chemical drain openers, regardless of the advertising hype.
  10. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Chicago, IL
    Its best to get the condo association involved. There is a blockage in the main line for the whole building that needs to be snaked out. Explain to them when the other units use their water you are getting a backup into your unit. The gurgling you are hearing is positive pressure building up in the system when they use the water due to the blockage. If they keep using the water, sewerage will backup as well.
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    You may have had a local, unit problem, but the real problem now is related to the whole's just that you are seeing the results since you are lowest...

    All of the drains are connected together, and the problem is the outlet of the whole building. Everyone needs to share in fixing this, as it is not just your problem. Now, getting them to understand may be another thing.

    The main drain line is shared by ALL units, and if it needs repair, all should share in the cost or cleaning it or repairing, if that is required. It would fall in the same category as repairing the roof or the stairs or elevator, or whatever else may be common in the building as covered by the condo by-laws.

    Because there is a blockage, depending on who's doing what, the pipe will take more or less time to fill up to where it is an issue in your unit. Probably worst in the morning when everyone is showering getting ready for work, or maybe on a Saturday when everyone is doing laundry. The blockage may go from partial to full, then it would get ugly really fast.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
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