Gurgling/siphoning in basement toilet/shower
Posted by Doug Siebert on November 19, 2001 at 18:16:25:
A week ago when I ran a couple loads of wash I found that water got onto the floor near the washing machine. I figured maybe I had some lint get into the drain, so I cleared the lint trap in my washer and didn't worry about it. The next day after I took a shower I noticed a funny smell when I went down into my basement and found the toilet had overflowed and the shower/tub had about 6" of water in it.

I called a drain specialist and since the basement had been finished later the cleaning access wasn't available so he pulled the toilet and snaked the line, but it went the wrong way (up the stack and under the upstairs toilet) Then he pulled the access plate to the backflow flap where my sewer line runs out of the house to the city line and found its hinge had rusted off and it was partially blocking the line and he ran some water through the line to the street and it cleared out a "soft clog" and the water started to drain from the tub. He also snaked the line in case there were tree roots but found it clear to the street. Other than needing to have a new backflow flap installed, I thought my problems were over.

A few days later I ran another couple loads of wash the water in the basement toilet started to drain out, and the tub got a bit of water in it, which drained out. There was a lot of gurgling going on, and I could hear a sort of hissing noise from the access plate to the backflow flap. If I wait an hour or so and try to flush the basement toilet it doesn't flush, it just fills and then drains again and the gurgling starts up. But if I wait longer, maybe three hours, then it will flush fine and everything is OK. I notice the problem to a lesser extent when running the upstairs shower, I'm not it in long enough to back up water into the basement shower but a couple times the basement toilet water level did drop.

From reading some of the other messages here, it sounds like I've probably got a venting problem, or possibly the city sewer line is having trouble. Is there anything I can do before calling the drain guy back in? I'd rather do what investigation I can myself first, is there any way to tell where the venting problem may lie or should I perhaps call the city and ask them to check their sewer lines? I live in an area with many mature trees, so I imagine the city sewer lines do have some roots they need to take care of on a regular basis.

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