backup, overflow, help!


Old 01-18-03, 05:58 PM
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Question backup, overflow, help!

Please forgive my naivety however very confused, any help appreciated:
I live in a 2 story house, 4br, 2.5 baths. The half bathroom downstairs all of a sudden started overflowing, has happened before (2 young boys!) & can usually plunge but this time couldn't.
While I was taking a shower upstairs my wife said the toilet downstars just started overflowing out of nowhere. Tried to plunge it but didn't work. Later it overflowed several more times & I turned the water off in that bathroom, & was surprised when it kept overflowing despite my dismay! Also I noticed overflow in the kitchen from behind the refrigerator. The dishwasher also has standing water. I mopped up, but then it really came out and since it was the beginning of the holiday weekend & my landlord was out of town, I decided to call the county to see if I could get the water main turned off. They came out right away, looked for a clean out line, I believe they called of those white pipe things I've seen in neighbors front yards after being digged up, & I didn't have one. They said they weren't responsible for inside plumbing, but since I didn't have one of these things, they would come & put one in at no cost! I was surprised, maybe tax dollars at work. or whatever..I have seen them digging for a few months on our street..maybe some other agenda, but sounded good however might be a few days before they can do it. They also said that they didn't need to turn off the water which really confused me!
My question is our using the appliances, plumbing, etc. We have nowhere to go & wonder if we can use on a limited basis. Our washer is in the carport on the same level as the bathroom that overflows, am wondering if we can use & will i back up? And I apologize, but don't really understand plumbing... water flow, pressure, etc. of a house, I see that when I flush a toilet upstairs or use the shower, it is coming out through my downstairs toilet, maybe ice maker drain..dishwasher(?) What I want to know is if what I see is our waste, or could it be backing up from outside our home, I kind of have a fear of the unknown, I'd like for our family to use the facilities.somewhat, not if I could get the flow of the Chattahoochee as a result! In other wirds if we flush the upstairs toilet, is that the backup that we are seeing, will it happen everytime, etc. I have a genie wet vac that I can use, if I am not harming the system more by using it at all.
And what about the washing machine & dishwasher. Should I use or not.are all these related?
Thanks for your help, sorry if I overdid it, any advise appreciated!
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Old 01-18-03, 06:11 PM
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When water backs up in the sewer line, it seeks the lowest spot in the drain system to rise in, ie... tub drain or in a toilet, use too mush water and it will overflow, use at your own risk, I would not recommend using the washer machine until you get the mainline cleaned out, and don't use upstaris fixtures, it will all find it's self downstairs.
Old 01-18-03, 06:37 PM
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Your water doesn't have to be turned "off" because the county guy assumes that you realize that you can't actually USE the water because it will drain into the downstairs of your home... if you have standing water in the dishwasher AND the toilet is just running over unabated, then you have a serious clog in the mainline... The county will rarely ever come in the house to solve a plumbing problem, but they gradually try to update the county system by putting in cleanouts and fixing the county taps and such... If they put the cleanout in, they will attempt to clean the line out at the same time... but if it turns out to be on your landlord's property they will dump in back in his/her lap... Anyway, as to using water in the meantime, you DON'T want to use any of the high water usage fixtures at ALL, like the washing machine, dishwasher, or showers... And if you want to use a bathroom, stick to the downstairs toilet, so you will have some control over how much water is going to go in and won't have water flooding into the room without your knowing it...
Old 01-23-03, 12:46 PM
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Thumbs up Thanks for your help!

County came out and put in clean out, however it was not on countys side, but roots causing the backup..all back to normal 'cept my aching back..thanks again for your help & time..excellent service you all provide!
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