Clogged line or clogged vent?

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Old 07-11-06, 07:33 PM
dhm
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Clogged line or clogged vent?

We've started having trouble with a downstairs toilet overflowing when we use any shower for more than a few minutes or when we use a lot of water to wash dishes downstairs. Also, this toilet gurgles when any other toilet in the house is flushed. My husband tried to clear the line in the toilet with a snake, but at about 6 feet he was not able to make it go any further. Not sure if it was a curve in the line or an obstruction. My question is - from reading other posts it sounds like the problem might be the vent rather than the line. Is there any was to test this other than going on the roof? We have a very tall house with a steeped pitched roof - about 25 feet to 30 feet high - and I'd rather not go on the roof if we don't have to. On the other hand, I don't want to spend a ton of money on a plumber if it's as simple as cleaning a vent. Any advice?
 
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Old 07-11-06, 07:59 PM
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cheaper to pay a pro than to fall off the roof ...
 
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Old 07-12-06, 12:57 PM
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I agree. It ain't the fall, it's the sudden stop.
 
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Old 07-12-06, 01:37 PM
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If you run water in the bathroom sink in this bathroom will the toilet bubble any. If so you have a clogged drain and would need to pull up toilet and run cable through The drain pipe. Make sure the cable head is not to large of size. a funnel type head would be the best to use to pull back out whatever may be in the drain.
 
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Old 07-12-06, 02:47 PM
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In my opinion, if you run water in another fixture in the same room, and water gurgles/moves, I would say it is the vent. The reason the water gurgles/moves is because drains need air to function properly. Blocked vent prohibits this. In your case, I am going with a clogged drainline due to the fact that the toilet overflows. This tells me that water is not exiting the line and building up in the pipes. If you have a basement, you probably have a clean-out there. This could be used for snaking. You could also try an enzyme drain cleaner such as Draincare by Zep. Enzyme cleaners cling to and eat organic matter. Takes at least 6 hours to work and longer (overnight) is better. About $8 at Home Centers and Hardware stores. Good luck.
 
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Old 07-12-06, 07:25 PM
dhm
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Thanks for the advice, guys. The toilet does gurgle when we use the sink in the same bathroom. We'll try the enzyme stuff, and if that doesn't work we'll try the drain and the clean out pipe. Anything to avoid that "sudden stop" from the top of the 25 foot roof!
 
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Old 07-13-06, 06:52 AM
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Is the vent accessible in your attic? Is it PVC? If so, you can cut a piece out in the attic and try to clear it from there. The removed piece can be reinstalled when you finish. That might save you a trip to the roof.
 
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Old 07-14-06, 07:26 AM
dhm
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We found the problem. My husband located the clean-out under some shrubs in the front yard, opened it up and found the line was clogged with roots. We'll need to call someone to take care of that. Thanks again for all the advice.
 
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Old 07-14-06, 02:50 PM
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Glad you found the problem. Roots can be snaked out every year and provide some relief. The problem is, this is not a permanent fix. You have to realize that for the roots to get into the pipe, they have grown through it. Sooner or later, you need to replace the line. PVC is better than the old cast iron lines as it has a tendency to make roots go around the pipe instead of into it. The surface is smooth and permits this to happen. Good luck.
 
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Old 07-14-06, 03:29 PM
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I used to have a issue with roots in a rental of mine and started using root-b-gone in the spring and fall and it really made a huge difference. That may buy you some time if you don't have the funds right now to replace the line.
 
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