Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Home & GardenMaintenance & Repairs · 10 years ago

Plumbing Issue- Hard to Resolve?

Okay, I've been pondering this problem for 2 weeks now and think I have enough of it nailed down to go ahead and ask someone who has more experience with plumbing. I am no plumber but I am an avid DIYer and eager to learn anything I can. Here goes:

I bought a house a few months ago but didn't move in until about 3 weeks ago. It was built in the late 1940s and has been renovated for the most part. It is single story and has a crawlspace. The house is downhill from the street and is on the sewer system. In the main line there are two cleanouts in between the house and the street. One cleanout is right next to the house and the other is right next to the street. Everything was great until about two weeks ago when all of the sudden the toilet would not flush. When you tried to flush it the water would just build up almost to the rim and then gradually it would go back to the normal level (takes 5-10 min). At the same time as this was happening we began to hear gurgling in the kitchen sink. No water or sewage came out of any other fixtures. When running water in the other fixtures (shower, sinks, etc.) there were no drainage problems but lots of gurgling noises. This problem persisted for a couple days. I did some research and came to a conclusion: When I opened the cleanout right next to the house (it has a threaded PVC cap), the water was backed up and sewage began to leak out. However, the cleanout next to the road did not have any sewage coming out of it and was not backed up. I took this to mean that there was a clog in between these two cleanouts and I called a plumber. He came to the same conclusion and snaked the main line from the cleanout next to the house all the way to the road. This fixed the problem completely (or so I thought). Now about a week and a half later, the exact same problem has occurred. The toilet won"t flush, gurgling noises, other fixtures drain fine (maybe a little slow). I don't want to call another plumber and have them do the same thing. Please try to diagnose. Any help appreciated!

10 Answers

Relevance
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Hi Kyle,

    What you're describing fits a problem I've dealt with many times to a tee. First, let's give you a "crash course" in how your drain system works.

    Imagine you are holding a straw filled with water, but holding your thumb over the top end of the straw. Now picture what happens when you take your finger off the top. The water falls out, right!? RIGHT !!

    Your home's system works in EXACTLY the same way. Your vent stack is most likely blocked by debris.

    I answered this same question for another guy here a while back, and gave detailed instructions about how I deal with it.

    I hope this helps you.

    Click the below link:

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AmnCB...

    Have a Great Day !!!

    Source(s): 35+ Years Pro Handyman and Home Improvement Contractor.
    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    I would attempt to use two things to try to unclog your toilet. A snake with a long flexible "thread" with a crank handle and a device called a Drain King. This is a black, bulbous rubber bladder that screws to the end of a garden hose.These items can be purchased at just about any home improvement store. Both can be effective for clogs. There is a possibility that the plumber did a nominal job on cleaning out the clog the first time. You will have to take your toilet up from the floor drain. Shut off the water to it, flush it, disconnect the water supply line to the tank, unbolt it from the floor, and pull it up. You WILL have some water mess, but not much. Then use the drain unclogging tools. I would try the sanke first, because the Drain King will have blowback, if it doesn't unclog the drain right away--meaning the water will backflow. If you manage to unclog the drain, purchase a new wax ring for your toilet. Scrape the old one up first. Remount the toilet. If the problem persist, the drainpipe, as one writer has said, may need to be replaced, and could have tree roots growing into it.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    There are two possibilities. One is tree roots. Since it was previously snaked that seems less likely unless you hired a really bad plumber (if you hired a good one he will come back and do it right at no cost). The second and more costly option is a partial collapsed line. If that is the case the plumber will have to run a snake camera down the drain and find it. Then he will have to dig up your yard and replace the sewer line which is costly. In either case the camera should be run down to find the cause so you will know the cause. The original plumber should do that for free unless he is really bad at what he does. Make sure you check his license while he is there.

    Plumbing is a business that relies on word of mouth reputation and most will not risk having a bad rep for a few hundred buck, because that is really bad for business.

    Source(s): I used to be a plumber
    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    It is possible that the pipe between the two has broken down due to age, a tree root, etc. It's most likely made of the old ceramic pipes, and one of the joints could be so bad that it hooks onto passing solid items or toilet paper etc, gradually blocking the pipe time and again. Get a drainage contractor with a camera device to check the pipes out before considering replacing though. On the other hand you could invest in some rods yourself and clean it out from time to time, but it's not a pleasant job and is not solving the problem, just the symptoms.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 10 years ago

    if the line was cleared and the same problem started again shortly after Assuming that everything worked fine after it was cleared I'd rule out a venting problem. What I would suggest is to have the line checked with a sewer cam, this will show if the line is broken and where roughly, which it may well be given its age My guess is the line is probably clay pipe since it was built in the 40's. 60 odd years would be about the life span of it. Not positive on the cost of having a cam run down the line, but I'd guess about $100, new sewer line, much more.

    Source(s): Plumber
    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    I have similar problems my problem is cause by a septic tank backing up.

    Firstly buy yourself a set of drainage rods they are cheaper than calling a plumber and easy

    to use. Unblocking the drain is easy simply use a hose pipe in conjunction with the rods and flush

    to drains clean as you clear the blockage.

    Monitor the situation is anyone pushing anything down the toilet that could block the drain

    nappies, toilet rolls.

    If it keeps reoccuring open the manhole covers and monitor the flow in the drains on the daily

    basis. It could be backing up from the main drain but unlikely.

    Another possible cause is the drain has lost some of it's glazing and the roughness can cause

    the drain to block. There may be a product that you can applied down the drain to smooth off any lost glazing.

    Thinking about it you can inspect the drain if you have an old small digital camera that can take a movie by attaching it to the end of the drain rods and pushing down the drain.

    Other possibilities are damage to the drain from roots etc.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    I would be inclined to get the plumber back as he has not it would appear cleared the problem. It may be he has a camera and can check with it but also by using the rods it should be possible to detect any obstruction that has caused a reblock this quickly. Are there any trees or bushes in the vicinity of the drain run as that can be a fair indication especially if its really thriving at a dry time of year.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • JaneM
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    from the house clean out run a snake down the pipe to the blockage. mark the snake at this point. pull the snake out and measure the distance to the blockage. get your shovel and start digging. the pipe is obviously broken and will never get any better and will only cause worst problems. i have been through this several times and believe me the pipe wont fix itself. you say you are a DIY'er so bite the bullet and start DIYing.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    Tree roots. Do not call the same plumber, he should have figured it out the first time. You have to use a 3" saw toothed cutter to remove them not a little spade bit or spring bit.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 10 years ago

    sounds to me like it is not a drain problem but a vent problem!

    check your sewer vents, should be 4' in diameter and go up trough your roof (some are smaller)

    check for obstructions in vent (bird nest, ect.) and clean out if obstructed.

    once cleaned out i will actually create a vacum and force the drainage through the drain.,

    gurgling is telling you that its not getting enough air from your vent pipe.

    also check for plugged grease traps in older home drains.

    Source(s): DYI NETWORK and own experience
    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.