Foam overflowing from toilet and cost to solve the problem

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Joe Weed, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. Joe Weed

    Joe Weed New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2021
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Hello everyone! 2 parts to this. Part 1. I manage a 3 story apartment building. One of the bottom floor tenants has a toilet that overflows with foam suds every few days. Started about a month ago. Tenants above claim they have not changed laundry detergent types or laundry habits in the last few months. Had a plumber come out and he snaked the drain lines; laundry to toilet and toilet to street. Same problem. Came back and sent in camera. Pipes are old but doesn't look clogged. He doesn't know what to do so recommends another plumber. Part 2. 2nd plumber comes out and sends cameras down pipes. Says vent 2" vent stack closed up a little due to build up which is causing the issue with the foam. They send me an estimate for $17,486.57 to clean (2) 2" x 25' stacks which, according to them, will fix the problem.
    1. Since the pipes were already snaked and cameras showed looked clear, sounds reasonable that the vent stack could cause this issue. Agreed or no?
    2. $17,486.57 for that scope of work?!?!?!?!?!
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I would be interested to see what the drain cleaners will say on this. I have one customer with foam coming from their toilets. Down in the crawlspace I could see that there was a sag in the 3" line. I lifted that just a little to give it the 2% slope all the way and that fixed it. It was the only time I ever encountered that issue. He thinks a vent is the problem?
     
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  4. Joe Weed

    Joe Weed New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2021
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Apparently so. The main lines were snaked and look clear. 17k to find out about the vent? No way. I won't go through with it and try to find another plumber or another option. For that kind of money a LOT can be done. Thanks for the reply.
     
  5. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    My parents owned two condo's in Maui. A few years ago we got a bid for remodeling and the last two years when the family owned them, I was doing a lot of repairs in the three or four weeks when I was there. Many other units were also being upgraded. What I learned was there is a huge shortage of trades on the island. Many use Home Depot and Lowe's as suppliers. It sounds here that this plumber is taking advantage. If it's a high pitched roof, a lift may need to be rented to performed the work and it adds cost.
    The property management company had to replace the kitchen faucet in one of the units claiming the plumber found a leak. $600 for a basic faucet and it probably was a maintenance worker did the work and no licensed plumber was ever called. A year later I found the leak, it was the discharge hose from the dishwasher. Maybe $1700 here in the states but for Hawaii everything is higher and it is not possible to compare. I'm sure COVID-19 has impacted the situation.
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    One possibility is to relocate all of the drainage on the bottom floor to new pipes that run around the house, and only join the drainage from the upper floors in the yard nearer the sewer. I know that sounds drastic, but you don't have to worry about a frost line. If your yard is readily dig-able, it could be workable, and a really solid solid solution.
     
  7. Tuttles Revenge

    Tuttles Revenge In the Trades

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Some older apartments weren't plumbed with clothes washers in the unit, but instead had communal laundry... years later, some have added clothes washers and when that happens the suds from those upstairs laundry machines foams up the drain and it comes out the bottom unit toilet/shower/tub..

    When we do remodels in apartments/condos ... high rises.. we have to be careful that the stacks we're using are intended for Suds producing fixtures.

    It its a laundry causing the issue, they might be able to fix the problem if they used HE / High Efficiency laundry soap, which is supposed to create less suds.
     
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