Basement floor drain backs up from kitchen drain. Are they connected?

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by mnalep, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. mnalep

    mnalep Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Redford, Michigan
    I have a two story home. Two kitchens, on both levels, drain into 1 drain line to the basement.

    (I believe there used to be two drains into the basement, as there is a 2nd 'open hole' in basement floor, and there used to be a 2nd vent in the roof.)

    Anyways, on occasion, I get water coming up from the floor drain (which is about 2 feet from the kitchen drain line, and 1 foot from the 'open hole'. I think that water coming up is from the kitchen drain, as I did see some noodles in the water. But I also see some brown 'sludge' like 'mud?'.

    I am attaching a picture of the drain pipe, open hole, and floor drain. Are these all attached? (House built in 1928).

    I've been able to plunge the floor drain, and get 'stuff' out of it. I've also put a hose with a 'bladder' sprayer in it down all three (drain line, 'open hole', and floor drain) and run the water for several minutes. But when I tried to put a small, hand held 1/4 inch snake, down the floor drain, I think I may have grabbed some mud? Same thing when I put snake down the cleanout on the drain pipe.

    Oh, and there is standing water in the 'open hole' and floor drain, even while I run the hose water down the kitchen drain line.

    Can someone explain if these openings (kitchen drain, 'open hole', and drain are tied together?
    Is standing water in the floor drain, and 'open hole' normal?
    Why did plunging floor drain seem to get sink drain flowing, but spraying hose down drain pipe seem to not disturb the standing water in the floor drain?
    Could that 'sludge' be dirt/mud?
    Any advice/explantion of what is going on would be appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Matt
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Iron pipes that are that old may be rusting through. I once put back a restaurant that had fire damage and I wound up cutting the floor and replacing all the pipes below the slab. They were pretty much gone, and that was in the late 70's. That was also a 1920's construction.
     
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  4. mnalep

    mnalep Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Redford, Michigan
    Thanks for the reply.

    I was also thinking that maybe the pipes were deteriorating...I was afraid to put a power snake down into it thinking that might damage the pipe more.

    Are those 3 openings (kitchen drain, 'open hole', and floor drain) normally connected under the cement?

    Is standing water in the floor drain, and 'open hole' normal? (There are 3 other floor drains, and none have standing water in them. There is also another, 5th, floor drain hole that has water in it, but it is a 7.5" drain cover on it. I don't see any water current in any of these when I flush the one that was backing up, orwhen I flush the kitchen drain pipe. Is that normal? I suppose it would be normal if they were not in the downstream flow)
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    It is normal that that they are connected. They all end up in the sewer.

    Yes. It is called a trap, which keeps sewer gas out of the house. The others may have run dry.

    If the standing water is much higher, then no. In that case that would indicate a blockage downstream. You may want to get your drain lines cleaned professionally.

    In the picture below, that angled piece connects to a plug in the floor drain bowl. That plug is there to allow cleanout access.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. mnalep

    mnalep Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Redford, Michigan
    It would seem to me that in the picture of the trap, above, that the blue water would not be high enough to block sewer gasses? Wouldn't sewer gasses just come in from the straight pipe, that is on the right in the picture, and head up the curved pipe and into the drain opening? I would have thougth the water would have to cover the opening of that curved part of pipe that goes up into the floor drain opening?

    In the picture I supplied above, labeled tarnow drain 8.jpg, my water level appears to be about 2" below the basement's cement floor. Would you say that is too high?

    I am thinking I can pour some water in the dry drains, and see how high the water level settles in those - for comparison to the one that is already wet?
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    There is a plug in the bowl that the illustration does not show. So the straight path is blocked, unless you pull the plug to clean.

    Yes, pouring water is good. That can be your monthly chore. There are "trap fillers" to do that automatically. They are often used in commercial environments.
     
  8. mnalep

    mnalep Member

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    Apr 29, 2008
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    Redford, Michigan
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I found similar crud in drain lines when i cut out failed galvanized drains stuff and replaced the sanitary tees and the drain lines below with PVC. I don't know what it is.

    It doesn't look like clay to me. Maybe some food fiber, some hair, and some etc.

    Try a vacuum cleaner and some kind of mechanical tool to see if you can reduce the deposits.
     
  10. mnalep

    mnalep Member

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    Location:
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    I'll try that.

    I did try to put a hand held snake in there, and the tip came out 'muddied'. I was even wondering if it might be clay. I took a picture, but now my phone doesn't have the picture anymore...if there is clay there, is that a sign the pipe broke, or something? (I recall about 1.5 years ago, we got a deluge of rain, freeways flooded, and so did my basement. The water did drain out after about 24 hours, but i wonder if any of the sludge.mud like stuff could be from that street sewer backup into my basement?
     
  11. mnalep

    mnalep Member

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    Location:
    Redford, Michigan
    Was some standard routing of those drains, that my home might have followed when it was built? I'm wondering if the floor drain by the kitchen sink drain line are connected in a straight line to each other? Or would it be more like separate lines heading to a main line?
     
  12. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    You can try witching the lines. This video was done while I was doing Chemo and had lost 42 pounds in six weeks.
    Normally all pipes in the slab are connected. Some pipes going up will be for venting, and some for waste lines.
     
  13. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    Terry I never believed in using the rods until the 1980's when a water main / sewer company I called came and this old guy used the rods and pin pointed the water main my locators could not detect
     
  14. mnalep

    mnalep Member

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    Redford, Michigan
    Does that really work? Does it only work wit metal pipes? Does it have something to do with magnetic fields?

    PS: Wow. You were thin. I hope the chemo did it's job?
     
  15. mnalep

    mnalep Member

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    If use a 1/2 snake, and if I have a collapsed pipe, not just a blockage, what kind of risk am I taking?
     
  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Witching works with plastic pipes too. Science has observed that it works but can't explain it.
     
  17. mnalep

    mnalep Member

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    Redford, Michigan
    Well, hard to understand, but I try to keep an open mind. I'll try it. How close must the rods be to the pipes?

    And, if use a 1/2 snake, and if I have a broke pipe, not just a blockage, what kind of risk am I taking?

    Would I see clay/mud on the snake?
    Could I break the snake and get it stuck in the pipe?
    Will the snake just bind up?
    Could I send pieces of broke pipe further down the system and end up blocking more important downstream drains (in my case, toilets, tubs, etc)?

    Would I be better off trying a water jetting tool, versus a mechanical snake?
     
  18. mnalep

    mnalep Member

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    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Redford, Michigan
    I was looking at the pvc trap you posted above, and am wondering what an old cast iron trap from 1928 might look like? I've googled that, but find all kinds of piping, and most not really traps?
     
  19. mnalep

    mnalep Member

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    Location:
    Redford, Michigan
    Is there an easy way to prove the vent is not blocked, that does not require climbing on the roof (2 story home, steep roof, I would die), or does not require taking pipes apart and trying to look up the pipe?
     
  20. mnalep

    mnalep Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Redford, Michigan
    So I was having trouble taking the cap off the clean out, so I just pulled the PVC drain pipe out of the floor fixture. (Not sure what to call it - 'floor drain with clean out'?).

    I think it is broken where the pipe turns. I put a piece of angle iron in the hole, and it felt mushy where the crack appeared to be, and it went down a few inches more than the other drains - probably about 16 inches, then felt like it hit something more solid. I took a picture - it looks grayish, but not solid clay either.

    I have some pictures of the fixture, and the location of this kitchen drain in the basement below. Maybe you can help me identify what you see?

    I'm guessing the fixture is broken, and the kitchen drain water is now mostly spilling into the ground? But there also must be another clog further down the piping, which is why the other floor drain has standing water in it?

    I suppose snaking might still clear the downstream clog, and the other floor drain, but I don't know if I should even bother with that at this point?

    I suppose I need to try to determine how much more pipe, if any, might be broken. Maybe buy an inexpensive sewer camera off Ebay and see if I can get a better look inside the pipe?

    Is there anyway to bypass the broken section without breaking the cement and replacing the fixture? Can I route the waste pipe to another floor drain (above the cement)? Or, perhaps insert some flexible tubing in the fixture so the water goes down the drain properly?

    tarnow sink drain 1 IMG_20181204_181152002.jpg tarnow sink drain 2 IMG_20181204_181239388.jpg tarnow sink drain 4 IMG_20181204_182709907.jpg tarnow sink drain 5 IMG_20181204_184033458.jpg tarnow sink drain 6 IMG_20181204_182903708 - Copy.jpg tarnow sink drain 7 IMG_20181204_183103523.jpg
     
  21. mnalep

    mnalep Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Redford, Michigan
    Would this be similar to the cast iron fixture I have that my kitchen PVC pipe is draining into? Is mine called a hub with clean out?

    tarnow sink drain is this mine - NOS-Jones-2-Cast-Iron-Floor-Dratarnow sinkin-With.jpg
     

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