Washing Machine drain backs up into tub

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by nepstein, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. nepstein

    nepstein New Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Hello, all.

    Whenever we run the washing machine, when it drains, it backs up into the tub (in the next room). This started happening recently, we'd been in the house for a year and a half without this problem. The only plumbing change recently was a new hot water heater. About a month later, we started having this problem. Both the house and the washing machine are fairly old.

    I had a plumber come take a look, and after he tinkered with the tub (sorry, I don't really know what he did, if anything), I couldn't replicate the problem for him. He had me run everything in the house, sinks, CWM, shower, toilet, and everything drained beautifully. He checked everything he could think of and didn't see any problems. The next day, it was backing up into the tub again.

    So before I call a plumber again, I thought I'd do a little research on my own. Anyone have any recomendations on what to check, tests I could run, so I can at least point the guy in the right direction?

  2. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Sep 3, 2007
    Webster Ma.
    I bet your main drain is clogged and the washer machine is what is showing it. I would run the washer till you see it backing into the tub then flush the toilet to see if that backs up also into the tub. If the toilet doesn't then your tub/laundry line is clogged.

    Sometimes a log doesn't show if your running just water. It can be very tricky to reproduce a problem such as yours.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
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  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    I think I'd call a different plumber. The symptoms you describe scream, "Clogged drain." This requires a plumber with a professional sized auger to properly clear the drain. Even an older washer empties a fairly large amount of water quickly, so unless the drain is totally open, it can back up. New washers require a 2" standpipe and drain because they pump their water out even faster. So if a new washer is in you future, you might want to explore increasing the drain size from the washer to the main drain.
  5. fidodie

    fidodie New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    new jersey
    if you are lucky, try this.

    Plug up the washing machine line with a wet rag, fill the tub up 6 inches with water, leave stopper closed, fill the bath sink, leave drain closed, flush the toilet, then plunger the toilet vigorously - the idea would be to fill the pipe with water up to the clog, then start plunging - you could use the tub also, but you'd probably pull water out of the w.c.

    the most likely thing to happen is nothing (i'd say 99 out of 100), you'll just force water up a vent or air will come out the bath sink overflow - but good things happen on the upstroke of a plung (is there a snigglet for that?), so you never know.

    just to set your expectations, if there is no cleanout - the toilet may get pulled to provide access for an auger.. if you are handy, you could save a couple bucks by putting it back yourself -

    good luck.
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