Slow draining Utility sink for washing machine is killing me

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SolvingProblems

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I would love some advice on next steps on this one. So the lady and I just moved into 1 story ranch house a couple weeks ago. The mud room is also the laundry room, first floor. There is a washer and dryer, and a utility sink where the washing machine drains to. The tub is a 24x24x32in tub, and has a 1 inch drain pipe going to a p-trap, where it connects to a 1 1/2 inch drain pipe that runs along the wall behind about 10 feet to the outside of the house. when we first moved in, I noticed that the long elbow that connects the outside drain pipe with the pipe that is in the ground and connects to the sewer was broken, so I replaced it with another 90 long elbow.

The situation played out as such:

When the elbow I replaced is off (and the tub is literally just draining into the yard, fair from ideal) the tub drains very quickly, with never more than a couple inches standing in the tub.

When I put the elbow back on, the tub fills up quickly, and overflows.

So great I thought, there is a blockage in the drain pipe that leads to the main sewer line leading out of the house. So I get a 15 foot snake and run it through the drain pipe outside, and dont find any blockage. Try running the sink again with the elbow on, and of course it fills up.

So I get a handy blow bag, and take the elbow off, and put it into the drain leading to the sewer, hoping this would clear whatever blockage there might be over a half hour. I put it in, turn it on full blast, and go to the covered sewer drain access in the front yard. Water is moving through it like crazy! Given, this is pressurized and not gravity fed at this point, but confirmed to me there does not seem to be a blockage in the outside drain pipe that goes to the sewer line. so I am hoping maybe it was minor, and whatever small blockage that was causing the slow drain was blown out of the pipe.

No such luck. I connect the 90 degree elbow connecting the outside drain pipe to the pipe in the ground, and sure enough the utility tub fills up when I run both faucets full blast.

So right now, I am a little stuck with next steps. Do I pay a plumber or rent a long power snake? That seems dubious, as water is flowing freely through the drain pipe in the ground to where it connects with the house's outside sewer line.

So to summarize - the tub drains through the pipes in the house quickly (about 10-12 feet total of pipe) as evidenced by when I remove the 90 degree elbow connector - it flows out quick and leaves no more than a couple inches in the utility tub with both hot and cold running full blast, and I checked the ptrap and line, and its all clear as can be, and when I run the blow bag/pressurized water through the outside sewer drain, I am seeing a lot of water running through it when I look down in the sewer junction access in the front of the house. That seems to indicate there is now blockage in that part. But when I put the elbow connector back on connecting the two systems, slow tub drain that overfills with a standard washing load cycle (so I cant do any wash laundry at the house currently!) When I put the connector back on and look at the outside sewer access, I do see water flowing, but very slowly, more of a trickle.

It looks like before we moved in, at some point all this worked and drained as it was supposed to. I assume they were doing laundry just fine.

After the 90 degree elbow just outside that goes into the ground, it looks like there is another 90 degree bend in the underground drain pipe about a 18 inches deep, where it runs under the gravel driveway I assume to meet up with the outflow sewer line for the house as evidenced by seeing the large flow of water from the blow bag. I would assume gravity should be taking this down the gentle slope of the property from the side of the house where the drain pipe comes up, to where it empties into the main outflow for the house sewer line.

What do you think? Obviously, water is not flowing through this system as designed or how it is supposed to. I am getting a little desperate for answers, as we cant do laundry in the new house yet.
 

Reach4

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So to summarize - the tub drains through the pipes in the house quickly (about 10-12 feet total of pipe) as evidenced by when I remove the 90 degree elbow connector - it flows out quick and leaves no more than a couple inches in the utility tub with both hot and cold running full blast, and I checked the ptrap and line, and its all clear as can be, and when I run the blow bag/pressurized water through the outside sewer drain, I am seeing a lot of water running through it when I look down in the sewer junction access in the front of the house.
I am not sure I followed the logic of that sentence. I think you are saying that pressurized water gets through fine, but gravity-driven water goes slowly. That would seem to be compatible with a clog that has a small-snake-sized hole in it.

I would look for a drain cleaning specialist to bring in a machine with a maximum-sized cutter head. I looked at Yelp, and did not see a standout suggestion, however.

How about a photo? Show the elbow you talk about and the wall or floor that the elbow feeds into. I think the thing you call a blow bag is the same as what I would call a drain bladder. If you stick that before the vent, it is possible that the water could even find a path through the vent pipes around a blockage.
 
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SolvingProblems

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I am not sure I followed the logic of that sentence. I think you are saying that pressurized water gets through fine, but gravity-driven water goes slowly. That would seem to be compatible with a clog that has a small-snake-sized hole in it.

I would look for a drain cleaning specialist to bring in a machine with a maximum-sized cutter head. I looked at Yelp, and did not see a standout suggestion, however.

How about a photo? Show the elbow you talk about and the wall or floor that the elbow feeds into. I think the thing you call a blow bag is the same as what I would call a drain bladder. If you stick that before the vent, it is possible that the water could even find a path through the vent pipes around a blockage.
That is definitely what I was implying by gravity vs pressure. Yes, the blow bag and the drain bladder are one in the same! :) I can definitely provide some photos in short order too. Can you provide a link to what the vent looks like?
 

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Can you provide a link to what the vent looks like?
It's a pipe or gadget (not an elbow but maybe a tee) after (downstream of) the U part of the trap. If the horizontal pipe goes into a wall, the trap can be just inside of the wall. So shoot the piping from the trap to where the pipe disappears.
 

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Here are some pics - of the original pipe elbow, broken - found it like this when we moved in. Then there is one of the repaired one I that I put on that is referenced a bunch of times. I also uploaded a picture of the utility tub drain.

I am definitely interested after seeing the pics what you think. that drain pipe behind the tub goes directly to the outside wall which you see in the other pics. I would definitely love to know more if a vent would be needed.
 

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Reach4

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You have no vent. The potential symptom of no vent is odor from the drain. The AAV could fix an odor problem, but not a flow problem.

Having a line like that in an area that freezes is very unusual, and not permitted.

Is that outside elbow not glued? That must be the case.

If you flow a garden hose full blast with no drain bladder or nozzle into the vertical outside pipe, does the pipe overflow? To make this drain in the summer, I guess you could run a bigger snake into the ground.
 

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Today, if this were using a stand pipe versus draining into the sink, you'd be required to use a 2" pipe. So, there's a significant restriction right there with what you have. Assuming the WM is fairly new, they tend to pump water out quite fast, and even with a standpipe, a 1.5" pipe that used to be allowed, may no longer work and backup.

I'd double-check the slope of the line...it needs at least 1/4" per foot of slope down along that horizontal section to function well. More won't hurt, at least after a vent, if you were to ever install one.
 

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You have no vent. The potential symptom of no vent is odor from the drain. The AAV could fix an odor problem, but not a flow problem.

Having a line like that in an area that freezes is very unusual, and not permitted.

Is that outside elbow not glued? That must be the case.

If you flow a garden hose full blast with no drain bladder or nozzle into the vertical outside pipe, does the pipe overflow? To make this drain in the summer, I guess you could run a bigger snake into the ground.

I will try the garden hose tonight without the drain bladder attached to see if it backs up. Yeah, we just moved in - Im used to sending waste , and usually there is no water running through this pipe unless the washing machine is being emptied. Its just for the utility tub/washer. I can see why you would not want it exposed above ground however.

I did not glue that elbow bend immediately, and in retrospect I am glad I did not. If it all worked I was going to glue it.

So instead of the elbow bend, it seems like the consensus is that either I need to have the whole line rooted out - but also perhaps try a vent? Do you think a pressure issue may be preventing the water from flowing as it should perhaps?
 

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I will try the garden hose tonight without the drain bladder attached to see if it backs up. Yeah, we just moved in - Im used to sending waste , and usually there is no water running through this pipe unless the washing machine is being emptied. Its just for the utility tub/washer. I can see why you would not want it exposed above ground however.

I did not glue that elbow bend immediately, and in retrospect I am glad I did not. If it all worked I was going to glue it.

So instead of the elbow bend, it seems like the consensus is that either I need to have the whole line rooted out - but also perhaps try a vent? Do you think a pressure issue may be preventing the water from flowing as it should perhaps when I put that elbow in?
would it make sense to replace that outside elbow with a T and put the vent there perhaps?
 

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Here are some more pics of the drain pipe going out of the house. I just noticed there does seem to be something along the path, I thought it was to drain condensation from the heating system or something, but Im not sure now.
 

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Plumbs

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Put in the vent first, you definitely need one. You can't put it in place of the 90 you replaced because the line drops after the trap.
 

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What's going on here?
 

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Also, I'd recommend replacing the outside 90 with a tee with a cleanout adapter on the top. That way the line can be easily snaked when needed.
 

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Great question, runs up to the ceiling and havent traced it further. Seems like a condensation outlet for something, but I havent found it yet.
Maybe that is your vent line. Undersized from normal, but it might do the job.
 

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One thing I did try as soon as I got some time, is I tried the hose without the drain bladder on it, so it more closely emulated gravity. And yes - it then filled up and overflowed the outside drain pipe, unlike with the drain bladder. So I figured, what the hay, lets put the drain bladder back in for 30-45 minutes and see what happens - it seems like its clogged somewhere so lets try it... Well, I did that and left it for 45 minutes - then replaced the elbow bend outside to "complete the circuit" and hit both taps hot and cold full blast in the utility tub to simulate the drain from the WS. Lo and behold, MUCH better results! The pipe seemed to drain more than enough to handle the outflow from the tub, and never filled up more than a couple inches and those drained very quickly once the flow stopped.

I am totally down for the advice to replace that elbow with a T junction. I may return the AAV, and just put a cap on the open top of the T - like you said it would be very helpful to have that access to clean out any future clogs.
 

Reach4

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Well, I did that and left it for 45 minutes - then replaced the elbow bend outside to "complete the circuit" and hit both taps hot and cold full blast in the utility tub to simulate the drain from the WS. Lo and behold, MUCH better results!
Good deal. The time has let the pipe get cleaned out better. If you need to repeat that later, shove the drain bladder to the bottom of the pipe. There is a spray and vibration that can help with the cleaning action.
 
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