Sewage backup into basement shower


  #1  
Old 03-23-06, 02:22 PM
ae
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Arrow Sewage backup into basement shower

We are having the smelly misfortune of sewage backing up into the shower located on our lower level (basement). The toilet in that bathroom flushes nearly completely, and all the water moves into the shower. After a few minutes, it all drains out, leaving just the solid waste behind in the shower. We tried snaking the shower with a 15ft line and found nothing ~ still backing up. My husband plans to get a 25 ft, 1/4inch snake (our 50ft doesn't seem to want to move through the trap) tonight.

We obviously are hoping the longer snake will take care of the problem. My question is, why doesn't the toilet, which is nearly as low to the ground as the shower, show any signs of backing up? We would think that the waste would backup to all the nearest/lowest exits. We find it puzzling that the toilet is still crystal clear.

I'll be back if the snake doesn't work for more ideas. BTW, about half of our house (the other drains) are clear. So we are hoping it is just this one line that ties to the main sewer exit to the house.

Thanks.
 
  #2  
Old 03-23-06, 05:34 PM
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You obviously have no clog between the shower drain and the toilet. Rather, the waste line is plugged from the basement toilet downstream somewhere.

If, say, you had an upstairs toilet and it was say closer to the street than the basement toilet and by flushing the upstairs toilet, it did not back up into the basement shower...then one could conclude that the problem is not due to a backup from that waste pipe out to the street (or septic), but actually is plugged somewhere between the basement toilet and where the basement toilet waste line intercepts with upstairs waste line.

If you could thoroughly describe your sewer drain layout for the whole house, that would be good. Especially telling us where the 4 inch waste pipe from the upstairs toilet comes down through the ceiling in the basement, and where that waste pipe is in relation to the basement toilet. And where the basement shower is located in relation to the upstairs toilet 4 inch waste pipe and the basement toilet. And tell us where these things are in relation to the side of the house that the waste goes to (which would most likely be to the street if on city water, and to the back of the house if on septic).

Do you have one or *two* 4 inch vertical waste/vent pipes in your basement with a clean out near the bottom few feet of these? If you have one near the basement toilet, that is the cleanout you need to go into with either a long heavy duty snake or a 'tape' (they come on a round reel and you just insert it and jab it down the line to break up jammed up toilet paper). The cause of such an occurance can be from a break or opening at a joint in the waste line under the slab, and/or tree roots. Either way, toilet paper ends up getting hung up... and then the problem gets so bad it backs up like you describe. I had one at a house in the last month that did the exact thing you said. The problem was under the slab about 20 feet downstream of the basement toilet. About years earlier the problem also occured and I was able to ram the tape down the cleanout to break up the tp. But, this last time I could not do it, and my fish actually hung up in a crack in the pipe and I was lucky I got it out. I also tried to use one of those 4 inch expanding rubber enema-like devices you put on a garden hose. And even though I have had great success with these, this time I had no luck. The tp was really packed tight. I had to call Roto Rooter. I forgot to call the guy back to find out what he ran into besides wads of toilet paper. (I'll have to do that..call him... now that I am thinking about it.)

To answer your question why the shower drain gets picked on when the toilet is nearly as low to the ground? The operable word is "near". Close only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades. The shower drain is lower and that is all that matters.
 
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Old 03-23-06, 05:58 PM
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> why the shower drain gets picked on when the toilet is nearly as low?

The typical toilet trap is about 6" above the floor level.
The typical shower drain is installed level with the floor.

6" is quite a bit of difference.


> Close counts only in horseshoes and handgrenades.

I too don't dance anymore. But when I did, I thought close counted.
 

Last edited by bolide; 03-23-06 at 06:09 PM.
  #4  
Old 03-23-06, 07:29 PM
ae
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Originally Posted by DaVeBoy
If, say, you had an upstairs toilet and it was say closer to the street than the basement toilet and by flushing the upstairs toilet, it did not back up into the basement shower...then one could conclude that the problem is not due to a backup from that waste pipe out to the street (or septic), but actually is plugged somewhere between the basement toilet and where the basement toilet waste line intercepts with upstairs waste line.
Well, we actually have two other vertical waste pipes tht run in the house. Neither of them (or the plumbimg attached to them) seem to be involved; they don't creat any backup. The toilet directly above this problem bath does cause the backup. So I am quite sure the clog is in the line before the final intercept to the street and under the slab. Unfortunately, the nearest vent cleanout is behind drywall and the nearest floor drain on this line is under carpet, under a very heavy file cabinet.

We tried a smaller 25 ft snake tonight without success, with some getting "stuck" right near the 23 ft mark. Guess we are going to try RotoRooter. That is, afterall, how they make their money - people like us who finally give up and three kids = lots of toilet paper.

Thanks for the help.
 
  #5  
Old 03-24-06, 06:17 AM
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AE,
Since you are reasonably sure it is TP causing the clog, you could try an enzyme drain cleaner before commiting to a rooter company. Draincare is an enzyme cleaner for drains. Enzyme cleaners cling to and "eat" organic clogs. Caustic cleaners eat a hole in the clog and then go out with the water once a hole is made. No residual action. You say the water subsides after it comes up the shower drain so that indicates a partial clog. Enzyme cleaners will not work on tree roots. You can find Draincare at Home Centers, Walmart, hardwares and even some grocery stores. About $8 for a multi-use container in liquid or powder form. Follow label directions including using hot water. Takes overnight and if the clog is real heavy, may take an additional treatment. Good luck.
Note: A small (3/8") snake has a tendency to go through toilet paper and then the hole reseals after the cable is withdrawn.
 
 

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