Gurgle in Pipes 2nd Floor Tub and Basement Tub - Can issue be with blockage in basement?

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personalt

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I own an older three family house that has these symptoms which is essentially gurgling in 2nd floor tub and basement tub/shower No complaints yet from third floor. More details are below. I am trying to determine if I start my investigation in the basement or upstairs (roof). Is there a case where a blockage in the basement would result in the 2nd-floor tub to gurgle? To get to roof I need to go up a crappy fire escape ladder 4 stories high so not loving that idea and to bring and equipment up there is going to be a real pain.

1)2nd Floor Tub Gurgle - 2nd floor tenant called me two days ago. Their tub was making a noise from time to time. The tenant actually thought it was cockroaches living in the pipe. :eek: I couldn't replicate anything but I thought maybe it was a gurgling noise. I ran tub, no bugs or issues were found. I have access hatch behind tub and everything sounded a looked ok there. The branch for this tub is old and in the past when I had tenants with long hair I would sometimes have to snake it. So may plan was to snake it tomorrow. The 2nd floor tenant gave the impression this was happening on and off before but she seemed to indicate it was increasing in frequency.

2)1st Floor Toilet was Slow - Toilet flush equals their shower gurgling - Today 1st floor/basement tenant messaged me.. Said their basement toilet was draining slowly previously in day. They said it seems okay now but that when they flush toilet their shower drain gurgles. Bathroom underground is about 10 years old with PVC that ties into the older cast stack. The toilet is closer to the street then the shower drain.

3)The third floor has not commented on any issues. No known issues in 1st floor bathroom.

This two gurgles seems to support a vent blockage above the 3rd floor tie in but I am not sure? One line of reasoning - if the blockage was above the 2nd floor then I think the blockage would also serve as a drain blockage for 3rd floor. Though maybe there is some case where there is a partial blockage of the stack that lets l water drain down but is to constricting to provide make up air for a toilet below it. Is there a way the issue could just be downstairs?
 

Tuttles Revenge

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Main floor gurgling in shower/tub sounds like a main line blockage. 2nd floor could be related to that too.
 

personalt

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Main floor gurgling in shower/tub sounds like a main line blockage. 2nd floor could be related to that too.
Makes sense, but I an wondering could a blockage in the basement cause the 2nd floor to gurgle? I think of gurgling as a make-up air issue. That would get me thinking that a blockage would need to be above the 2nd floor but I am not 100% sure that is true. It is going to be 11 degrees tomorrow so not loving the idea of starting on the roof 4 stories up.
 

Tuttles Revenge

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The 2nd floor shower could be independant and just a local hair clog. But the bottom sounds like a mainline. Not sure what you're going to accomplish on the roof tho.
 

personalt

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The 2nd floor shower could be independant and just a local hair clog. But the bottom sounds like a mainline. Not sure what you're going to accomplish on the roof tho.
Thank you for the comments. I agree tub on 2nd floor could be independent as it has a history. But I was also thinking that because 2nd floor gurgling happens when I am not running any 2nd-floor fixtures that gurgling might be more likely be related to a main stack issue. If so, can a blockage in mainline in the basement cause 2nd floor gurgling or would the blockage need to be above the fixture to have gurgling being caused by other fixtures? That is really that question whose answer helps me downsize where to look as it eliminates half the house.

I was thinking about the roof because 'could there be a blockage in the stack near where it exits building restricting the make-up air.' Maybe a birds nest? Also, the only main stack cleanout I know I can access is in the 1st floor hallway and it has a million coats of paint on it. I plan to start there but if the issue is above that cleanout I dont have easy access to the stack higher up or at least a stack cleanout. I can bust a hole in the hallway wall and likely get to stack above second-floor fixtures but it is cast so not super easy to cut out a section to put in a cleanout. It is a flat roof so in theory I could snake the main stack from there if I can get machine up there.

I prefer not to pull toilets as a)these are in tenants' apartments where they only have one bathroom so when possible it is way easier to work outside their apartments. b)toilet flanges are not in that great of shape and it is never easy to reinstall these toilets. Lastely the basement toilet was also caulked in, during one of big storms the six months ago rain water backed up in to sewer and leaked out at lot of tub base. After that storm toilet got caulked in. Now I certainly can remove caulk and toilet and start to snake from there if I think the 2nd floor is not related but if second floor
 

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When a main line gets full, the waste blocks the free flow of air that vents use to keep traps sealed. But that is typical of a horizontal drain system and usually happens on the bottom floor due to everything being horizontal. Maybe the 2nd floor tub is lacking in venting or if the main vent stack were blocked then pressure could gurgle that tub.
 

Jeff H Young

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I lean toward separate issue gurgling in basement and gurgling in floors above could be separate issue . solve basement first, OP mentioned going on roof? If you have a main vent stack and want to run snake down stack sure have at it. But I generally avoid roofs cleanout in basement might be easier
 

Reach4

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2)1st Floor Toilet was Slow - Toilet flush equals their shower gurgling - Today 1st floor/basement tenant messaged me.. Said their basement toilet was draining slowly previously in day. They said it seems okay now but that when they flush toilet their shower drain gurgles. Bathroom underground is about 10 years old with PVC that ties into the older cast stack. The toilet is closer to the street then the shower drain.
I don't think this could be related to venting unless there is a significant belly in the plumbing. Instead I expect there is a partial blockage.

Maybe bring in the drain cleaner person, and get as much rodded as practical.
No known issues in 1st floor bathroom.
Typo?
 
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