Sink Gurgle, Older 2Fam, newer drain

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Douglas Hood, Jul 31, 2020 at 5:59 PM.

  1. Douglas Hood

    Douglas Hood New Member

    Joined:
    Friday
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Hello,
    Glad to be a new member. TerryLove.com is my go-to for initial plumbing searches. When I google an issue I always start with "terrylove.com" then my search terms.

    I have a lav/bath sink drain that's begun to give me some trouble with being slow to drain, plus a gurgle. It's been in service in its current configuration for about 5 years. 1 1/2" PVC, a p-trap, 3 90s(hindsight tells me I should've put a cleanout at the 3rd one for the long run), a santee(perhaps a mistake on its back), to a 2" drain that's shared with the shower. The prior configuration was ABS with both feeding into a barrel trap. I'd like to think that I've cleaned it up for the (somewhat) better? However, the performance now isn't what the performance was in the first few years.

    The shower does seem to drain as it should, and fast. The toilet, too. The sink is my concern. Keeping in mind that it is inherently flawed since it's based on an 80 year old plumbing setup. So perfection isn't my goal, for now.
    [I meant, the thought of tying the sink drain into the main vent by opening up the wall and running up to it, cutting out a section of cast iron 4" pipe, etc and so forth OMG that's just nuts to consider. At that point, we'd do well to handle the tenant's bathroom above as well, since both baths were drained and configured in the same manner.(the same barrel trap setup is still up there)]

    Thus far I've pulled the stopper(no clog), opened up the sink p-trap(no clog), snaked the shower p-trap through to the main drain(no clog, but that should've been obvious, but snaking in the basement standing up seemed to be more attractive activity than crouched under a sink cabinet), then (literally right in the middle of writing this) I went back to the sink p-trap, pulled it off again, and this time snaked as far as I could. When it came back it had pulled back a tiny puff of hair. I finally resorted to the plunger ... followed by a loud sucking sound! Whoa? Who knew? Ok. The drain seems to be cleared, for now.

    What are some suggested options to consider for a reconfiguration that might lessen my chances of a repeat of this recent situation?

    Perhaps a shorter more direct, more vertical, run into the secondary stack(pvc)? It's 2" and services 2 sinks, a clothes washer, and 2 dishwashers. Or would the risk be too high for siphoning of the p-trap?

    Simply swap out the stopper for a hair basket?
    Thoughts are welcome and appreciated.

    Here's what I am(and was) working with...
    Old configuration showing barrel trap in ABS servicing sink and shower.

    2016 OrigConfig1stFlBA.jpg

    Main 4" Stack (2 Toilets, 2 Sinks, 2 Showers/Baths) and Secondary 3" Stack(Toilet, Washer, 2 sinks, shower. Plus the 2" drain as listed above)

    20160322_103912.jpg

    Newer Configuration with separate traps for sink and shower(sink and toilet swapped places)

    20200731_172025.jpg

    Close-up detail of santee union from 11/2" to 2"(probably should be a wye?)

    20200731_172040.jpg

    Detail, opposite view

    20200731_172118.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Sometimes on a lav, I remove the stopper and the p-trap, and then using something long, like a section of pipe, or long stick, push a wad of paper towel through from the top into a bowl below to clear out any toothpaste and hair still stick in there.

    Anything on it's back should be a wye or combo, no santees there.
    On a vertical a santee is needed if its for a trap arm with trap.
    Some codes want the 2" trap and standpipe for a washer going into a 3" line.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    I cant tell what the heck you got going on. Are these befor and after pictures ? It aint making sence. Making me dizzy and reading your question aint any easier either
    Id say cut everything out and start over
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    If it happens again, after that drain has not been used for a longer time, measure how much water you have to add to the lavatory bowl before water starts backing up. Then, we can estimate about how far through 1.5 inch pipes that represents.

    Often clogs happen on a vertical to horizontal transition.

    Regarding your pictures, I could not tell where the lavatory drain line is. I think I see the PVC trap for the tub.
     
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  6. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    2 worst things I see is the drum trap in abs. and as you said the santee that should have been a wye. agree its not good work but a lav or a shower should flow. just kinda frustrated me trying to make sence of it all . why that drum trap ? looks like there is no reason to use that
     
  7. Douglas Hood

    Douglas Hood New Member

    Joined:
    Friday
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I'm in the camp of 'working with what I've got', salvage what can be salvaged, do good work and keep costs down.
    To clear up some confusion, the Drum Trap and ABS is the old configuration and definitely not likely the original setup either. I definitely wanted the ABS gone from day one, but only held off until we had a clear path forward for the bathroom work.

    The white PVC is the newer work that replaced all the ABS. In this 80+ year old house, with an occupied unit above, having its original bathrooms, I was forced to have to pick many of my various my poisons. So, the tub got it's own trap, and a drain plug that worked. The sink got it's own trap inside the sink cabinet. Instead of continuing straight down through the floor, as it had previously done, I passed the sink drain through the wall and then down under the floor, then back along to it's 'original' tie-in location(fka barrel trap). All the venting we have now, is identical to the original venting, and nothing like the stellar diagram Terry provided above.(I can only dream of that kind of venting here)

    The bath had a 'solid' black and white tile surround, which was worth salvaging (have you seen the galvanized metal 'mesh' they used to use back in the day? Wow, it's like an armored truck).

    The tub is cast iron and removal wasn't an option, nor was the likelihood of finding something of better quality, however, a 're-glazing' seemed like a worthwhile consideration, so we did that.

    The floor was the tough one. A virtually indestructible inch and a half thick mud job in a black and white basket-weave. It could've gone either way, really. (The prior Owner opted for stick down vinyl tiles to cover up the crack that ran the width of the floor to the closet flange.) Like it or hate it, trying to keep the original, if possible and within reason, was important to us.

    Certainly, blasting it all out and starting new may have seemed easier on some level, but that also would have triggered all sorts of code concerns, for both units, plus the need to displace a tenant, and pay their hotel stay during construction, etc. etc. So, a face-lift, with better functionality was our best bet for a nicer/newer bathroom.

    Top on the priority list was structural. We wanted to replace the 2x8x14 floor joist that was cut out by the original plumbing crew, as well as the next one over that was notched out by the original heating crew so that they could pass a steam pipe.(#@$&?!!!) Needless to say, settlement in this zone was an issue. Settlement was made worse in the bath due to the water damaged subfloor, and so shoring up these sections of subfloor was a must. If the structure could not be shored up, the project would not go forward.

    2nd on the priority list was an anti-scald valve on the tub/shower. 3rd was to re-glaze tub.

    The next hurdle was the storage issue and the toilet. They soon became one joint consideration. The flange was 14"oc, everything on the market was 12"oc. The cost of a 14"oc toilet was minimum $800.00 vs $150.00-350.00 for a 12"oc, which we already had on hand. So, no problem right? Just move the flange back 2"? No, if the toilet was to be moved, then it would be moved over toward the tub in order to accommodate a larger sink cabinet with more storage and more counter surface area. 2" gained us nothing. The way I saw it, the effort to move the toilet 2 inches was equal to the effort required to move it 2 feet. It's not like we were working with PVC.

    I agree, the pictures above do not tell the story. They just illustrate the challenges of the space we're working with, and age related factors of the 'mostly' well built home that we live in.
     
  8. Douglas Hood

    Douglas Hood New Member

    Joined:
    Friday
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thanks Terry. Neat trick with the push pole, as gross as it sounds, I'll probably give it a try at some point. Reminds me of the industrial pipe 'suppository' cleaning trick, do they call it a "Pig", that is forced through the large diameter pipe under high pressure?

    Anyway, would you agree that the minimum corrections, given my limited options and access, might be the following? thx
    ChangesSugg1stFlBA.jpg
     
  9. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Location:
    92346
    Actualy without trying figure everything out your talking about and limiting it to your question above on the pvc yellow arrow add long sweep and wye I agree never should have been that way but unless its a kitchen with a disposal it should flow fine. Where the red arrow is those should be long sweeps. A clean out down there might be nice but you really shouldnt be having a problem with what I see. I dont know whats going down the drains You get one back up in 5 years aint that bad or you had several back ups but never really cleared it. I dont see anything thats that bad just my 2 cents looking to help if i can good day!
     
  10. Douglas Hood

    Douglas Hood New Member

    Joined:
    Friday
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thank you, Jeff. That makes sense, especially the "kitchen with a disposal" example. The earlier clogs over 5 years were always at the stopper and were easily cleared. This time, when clearing the stopper didn't do the trick, I was perplexed. It was only after having done some research and reading into the typical causes did I come across examples of the errors that I made with the santee on its back as a possible venting/gurgle issue. I suppose that my basic thinking was that, if it's going from a 1" to a 1 1/2" and then to a 2", then the choke point is at the first p-trap, so how could it clog if the pipes keep stepping up bigger and bigger from there?

    As for the Red Arrow area, if I recall my thinking there, I didn't think the Long Sweeps would have had space. I agree, that improved flow on those 90s would be great, so will keep that in mind if it becomes a persistent issue. Perhaps a long sweep set at 45 degrees counterclockwise to a wye with a might be an option that would resolve the space issue, the flow, and create a clean-out option?

    Thanks again.
     
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