water backup in tubs and toliet when washing clothes! Help me please!!!!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by littlebit, May 24, 2005.

  1. littlebit

    littlebit New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Hello...

    My husband I and just purchased our first home. We have been using the water, using the toilets, all the sinks and showers with no problem until last night when my husband went to do laundry. I first heard a loud gurgling sound coming from the kitchen sink. That was fine as nothing happened at the kitchen sink. Then my son, who has just finished taking a shower in the master bath informed us that dirty water was backing up in the shower and separate tub and toilets. It didn't back up in the guest bathroom at first but it eventually backed up there too. As the washing machine went through it's clycles, the water would drain and back up again. When the wash was done, the water did drain out.

    I have had a hell of a week with this move. I have already had to fork out $300 to have the Uhaul towed out of a ditch after my nephew lost control of it. Fortunately, we had already unloaded our furniture. Unfortunately, he hit another car and I DID not purchase the optional U-haul insurance because my genius husband said we did not need it. We are flat broke and really can't afford a plumber but will most likely get one but we do want to be sure that we are not misled or ripped off and that we have some idea waht is or might be going on.

    I also want to add that after the fact, I put 2 and 2 together with the scratches on the inside of the toilets that I did not pay much attention when looking at the house and even after we moved in. Those scratches were obviously made by an auger so toilet blockage must have been a problem in both toliets. Please note that I have not run the dishwasher yet for lack of need but now I am scared too.

    I wanted to edit this to say that I also noticed that the toliet water level as always seemed low. And I want to ask another question, is the water most likely backing up in the washer too?

    PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited: May 24, 2005
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    backup

    You have a main sewer stoppage and the easiest, and probably cheapest, way to clear it is to call a plumber. His charge will be based on how long it takes and how difficult it is to unplug it. I have had jobs that took 1 hour, and I have had some that took 2 days. It depends on what, and why, you are having the problem.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I second HJ's advice. This is a job for a pro with pro equipment and knowledge. DIY methods usually don't work, can make the problem worse, can damage the drain system, and can result in injury to you or others. Whatever you do, do not use chemical drain openers. They will not work, and will create a hazzard for a plumber working on the clog later. If you already have used something, tell the plumber what you used so he can be prepared.
  4. littlebit

    littlebit New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thank you for responding!

    My mother is convinced that the septic tank needs to be pumped. My husband called the person that we bought the home from and they said they would send someone out to pump the septic tank. Should I call my husband to call them back and tell them to send a plumber out instead? And will this water also bank into the washing machine? You guys say no chemicals but can we use something like rid-ex to keep the lines clear or what would you recommend besides the usual preventative measures.
  5. PEW

    PEW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    487
    Could be a pipe blockage before the septic system or it could well be the septic system.

    If it is the septic system backed up, it may be due to a failed drain field. It would be worth talking to the seller, and neighbors, to see if there have been problems before. If there were, it may be an undisclosed problem the seller did not tell you about, which would fall back on them.

    Also, if you just had an excessive amount of rain, and you are in a low area, it may have raised the water level which is effecting the drain field.

    Paul
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    As I understand it, Rid-X is an organic product and is safe to use. I can't say if it will be effective or not. You could have a septic tank or drain field problem, that should be check out. I will still bet on a clogged line which will require a professional augering, but the other possibilities should be looked at so you know what you have both for now and for the future.
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I re-read you original post and there is a question not answered and a bit more information to relay. A washer put out a very substancial amount of water in a short period of time. That fact when combined with the other usage at about the same time would really put a strain the the drain capacity so even if the clog is total, it would account for the back-up. As far a water backing up into the washer, that's the one good piece of news. Can't do it. A washer uses a standpipe that is open at the top. If the water backed up that high (unlikely) it would spill over the top of the standpipe and not into the washer. I'd also bet a plumber didn't auger through the toilet. The scratches were the result of a DIY attempt. Get it done right, it will cost less in the long run and maybe even in the short run.
  8. littlebit

    littlebit New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thanks all for replying!

    The seller is sending someone out today. This forum is great! Thanks again! :)
  9. oldhousetroubles

    oldhousetroubles New Member

    Messages:
    3
    so what happened

    I have a very similar problem - things coming out of my bathtub drain when other drains are being used... so I was hoping to get some follow up on your question:

    when the plumber came out, what did he/she say? what was the problem? how did he/she fix? how much did it cost? how long did it take?

    Thank you!
  10. littlebit

    littlebit New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Followup post to my problem

    The seller sent a guy out to pump our septic tank even though I wasn't convinced that was the problem. The septic tank needed plumbing and they pressure cleaned the pipes. The real problem is that the septic tank was installed before the house was built and it is slightly higher than the pipe coming from the house. Since water doesn't flow well uphill, the pipe leading to the septic system will always be prone to clogs. We can remedy this someone by sticking a hose in the cap putside and flushing it out every so often. But we can wash clothes now without the back flow. But we can't take a bath and we have to be careful about flushing when the washing machine is draining.

    As for costs (so far) it has cost us nothing other than headaches. The seller paid for the septic tank to be pumped and cleaned. But to fix this problem I have no idea what the cost are but I do know there are seller disclosure laws in this state and this was not disclosed and this kind of problem is not one that anyone can have and not know about it. So if the seller doesn't pay to fix it I will take them to court and I will win.

    Good luck with your problem. Hope to get it solved.
  11. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    It would be wise for you to immediately seek legal advice on this. If there is recourse to force the seller to have this problem fixed, the sooner you act the better. This is an example of the value of full disclosure requirements. Good luck.
  12. oldhousetroubles

    oldhousetroubles New Member

    Messages:
    3
    thanks

    Thanks for the follow up. Good luck!
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