Toilet Overflow/Drainage Issues - 1 Bathroom Only

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by feyd83, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. feyd83

    feyd83 In the Trades

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Hello,

    I am hoping to get some advice on our drainage issue.

    This weekend we had a toilet randomly overflow after flushing (nothing big that would cause the overflow). I had flushed the toilet and then immediately got into the shower. While showering I noticed that the water was not draining properly and was starting to pool in the bottom of the tub.

    When I got out of the shower, I noticed the water all over the floor and saw that the toilet had overflowed.

    We called a plumber immediately. He first attempted to auger out the toilet with a closet auger. This didn't work and the toilet continued to not flush, so he removed the toilet and brought out the big power auger. According to my husband he augered down several feet for a good amount of time before finally clearing the blockage.

    He also poured a bottle of FlowEasy down the shower drain and let it sit about 10 minutes. The tub faucet was then run full force for about 10-15 minutes and the toilet was also flushed several times. Toilet and shower are now working fine.

    We forgot to have the plumber look at the sink drain which has always run slow since we bought the house. We did pour a little bit of FlowEasy down it according to the directions but this has not seemed to make much difference. It sounds like the sink has its own separate clog.

    We are a little confused because the plumber stated that because we have cast iron drains that are very pitted, we will probably have a similar problem in the other bathrooms. We have replaced a toilet in our second bathroom, and both toilets appear to have a cast iron flange (definitely something made out of black metal). All we could tell is that the drain was black.

    The home was built in 1973 and we have ABS stacks (one for the kitchen/laundry, and one for each bathroom). All the drain line under the sinks is ABS as well.

    Why would we have a (supposedly) cast iron drain under the toilet if we ABS soil stacks? I would have thought we would not see any cast iron since the home is 70s. Could we really have cast iron drains running under the house?

    I'm just curious if we can expect to have this problem throughout the house or if it was likely limited to this one particular soil stack.
     
  2. feyd83

    feyd83 In the Trades

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    May 9, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    We are a 1 story house on a concrete slab foundation BTW
     
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    CI could be the main lines; they may have used plastic in places where it doesn't matter. CI dampens the noise from draining water MUCH better than plastic lines, which can act like an amplifier. But, unless you have nasty water or pour caustic chemicals down the drains a lot, they aren't necessarily all that rough inside as they age. If there are any galvanized pipes in the drainage system, those can and often do, create problems as the steel in them will eventually rust. They can last a very long time as well, but when they start to go, they can almost close the full diameter of the pipe up with rust and scale - this WILL trap stuff and make it worse.
     
  5. MASTERPLUMB777

    MASTERPLUMB777 In the Trades

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    Occupation:
    Retired Master Plumber
    Location:
    Texas
    I would say as a retired master plumber if you see abs all over the house then

    " all " the drains are abs.
    As far as your sink drain yes that is a separate issue from what the plumber worked on !
    It helps to picture your house drainage system as being a tree with one trunk
    ie the main line going to the street or septic tank
    and all the other fixtures as branch's off the same trunk line, sometimes one or two branch's come off at the same time and as water always seeks the lowest level then when there is a common blockage the water will flow out of the lowest drain
    exception if the wax seal under toilet is bad the thats where the water will come out !
    any one branch can have it's own blockage
     
  6. feyd83

    feyd83 In the Trades

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    May 9, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    That's what I figured as well, that everything would be ABS.

    We will try a few simple things on the sink drain. We really haven't bothered with it yet since we are planning on replacing the vanity and augering it then.

    I do think the wax seal on the toilet was bad because the water was coming out from the bottom of it also. I suppose this was fortunate so that it didn't back up into my shower :) The wax ring has been replaced now.

    Is it possible that the toilet flange and drain are cast iron and then connect into the ABS soil pipe somehow? Both plumber and husband swear the toilet drain was not ABS. Has anyone ever seen a set-up like that before? Should we be concerned?
     
  7. Furd

    Furd Engineer

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    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    Is your house built on a slab? Some areas were slow to adopt plastic piping for underground usage even after allowing it to be used above ground.
     
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    And, you said that your toilet flange was all metal...implying metal pipe underground. In new construction, they'd never use a CI insert, clamping flange on plastic pipe (at least in my opinion, maybe flawed), it would be a solvent welded one, hopefully with a metal ring.
     
  9. MASTERPLUMB777

    MASTERPLUMB777 In the Trades

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    Location:
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    If you are talking about a lav sink drain all you have to do is unhook the stopper by going under the sink there is a plastic or metal nut
    on the drain pipe coming down from sink this covers the rod that works the stopper up and down unscrew counterclockwise with stopper in the up position with one person holding up on the stopper you pull the rod out a inch toward the back wall,
    then stopper will pull out and free where you will see a glop of hair hanging off the stopper clean off with tissue paper
    put nut back onto drain without the stopper run lots of hot water down the drain this should clear any buildup in trap and drain
    and this is important be sure to reinstall the stopper the same way it came apart ! ! !
    If you leave the stopper out or loose then " all " kinds of things can get dropped into drain,
    that is why they make these locking drain stoppers to keep people from dropping everything including the kitchen sink into drain and having major problems
     
  10. feyd83

    feyd83 In the Trades

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    Location:
    Atlanta
    Yes we are on a slab. I googled this some more and it sounds like our house was built right before they stopped using cast iron in slabs. Great, now we have a pitted cast iron system that will probably fail at any moment! I can only guess that the previous owners abused drain cleaners because our water is not unusual. Sounds like we should be concerned about drain failure after all.

    Thanks for the advice everyone.
     
  11. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Retired energy systems engineer
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    I would strongly suggest that you get a drain-cleaning service to run a camera down your sewer pipes. Cast iron should last for many decades.
     
  12. feyd83

    feyd83 In the Trades

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    May 9, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I think we will have to do that. I'm also concerned about the plumber's use of the FlowEasy drain cleaner. It is 94% sulphuric acid with buffers. It says it is safe for metal pipes but I have read elsewhere that sulfuric acid down cast iron pipes can be very bad. He also told us we should pour some down the drains as preventative maintenance.
     
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    It can be especially bad if the pipes don't have the proper slope - then, it can just sit there until diluted and flushed away.
     
  14. feyd83

    feyd83 In the Trades

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    Location:
    Atlanta
    Thanks for the advice everyone. If anyone knows of a reputable plumber they would recommend in the Metro Atlanta area, can you please PM the name?
     
  15. MASTERPLUMB777

    MASTERPLUMB777 In the Trades

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    Occupation:
    Retired Master Plumber
    Location:
    Texas
    That flow easy sulfuric acid drain opener/cleaner needs to be throne into the

    garbage i have scars on my hands 40 years after from that so do other

    people i know,

    that stuff will rot out your pipes like nobody's business

    and is very bad for any plumber who comes out later to snake your drains !
     
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