Clay drain pipe question...

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-12-08, 09:20 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 314
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Clay drain pipe question...

My old (1919) house has clay floor drains. Two are clogged w/ dirt. I vaccumed and picked out one. Got my shop vac hose down at least 2' into the floor drain trap. Lots of loose dirt came out. I poured water down the drain and although it is pretty slow, it does drain well. I have one floor drain that works great, no clog at all. I can dump a bucket into it very quickly and the water level in the trap does not even change at all. I have one more drain to clean out.

Where does this water go to? My house is old (1919) so I think it will connect to the main sewer line.

Outside there is a big PVC cap in the side yard. Is this the city sewer connection? How far up to the house does the city own?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-12-08, 08:32 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
There have been a few threads about those drains. I've maintained that they aren't connected to the main sewer line. Others have said that they have seen cases where they were. In a house built in 1919, PVC wasn't used. That was added later and who knows what they did?
 
  #3  
Old 12-12-08, 11:14 PM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: lancaster
Posts: 193
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Alot of times the old floor drains were frenched. Many of the basement drains weren't hooked up to the main sewer line because there isn't a trap past the drain for water to lay in and that stops the sewer gas from the street or from your house sewer line. The pvc is new and obviously the main line to the street was replaced. That new cap is a cleanout access for your sewer when the line was repaired. I do rehab as a contractor. Some old floor drain systems hooked into an old sistern even though the downspouts hooked into the city sewer line. This was common. City houses in my area are very old some 1800s and a ton of 1900s up. Clay sewer came in 2 or 5 foot sections and hubed and a crack from that could be the mud issue. Hope this helps.
 
  #4  
Old 12-13-08, 06:00 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 314
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
After cleaning out the last drain yesterday, I think there may be a crack in the bottom of the drain trap. This seems to let the water out of the trap. Both others (I have 3 total) keep water in the floor traps. The 3 rd one works fine, again I can pour a bucket down the drain as fast as I can pour. But the water level seems to get lower. Can I maybe patch this crack?

How hard is it to break up the floor and fix/replace these pipes? I'd like to add a basement bathroom at the same time....
Would I be replacing everything out to the PVC city connection? Is that crazy?
 
  #5  
Old 12-13-08, 06:48 AM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It's not totally crazy if you don't mind doing the work. Once you start digging, you don't know how far you will have to go. I would rent an electric jack hammer and hire a helper for a day or 2, if I were doing the job.
 
  #6  
Old 12-13-08, 07:21 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 314
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I don't mind the work.... The wife minds no bathroom/ showers for a few days!

Do you know how the city connection is made? Will I be fitting my 4" PVC into the hub of their PVC pipe using a rubber doughnut of sorts?
 
  #7  
Old 12-13-08, 07:34 AM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally you were talking about fixing floor drains. We still don't know if they are connected to the main line or not. There may not be any reason to connect the floor drains to the main line. In fact, I would leave them as french drains if that's what you find. I would probably try to snake them before I break the concrete.

Now for the bathroom. If the toilet will be lower than the main drain, you'll need an ejector pump. If not, you can put a Tee in the main drain inside somewhere and that's the end of that. There is no reason not to have a shower or a bathroom for any more than a few hours.
 
  #8  
Old 12-13-08, 08:18 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 314
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Now that the drains work, I'm OK for now. But in the future we want to add a bathroom downstairs. The main drain is below the floor, so I assume it will be OK to add the toilet to the line w/o a pit and pump. Can I place the new toilet at the base of the main stack, below the existing 1st floor bathroom? If I keep the toilet close to the stack, do I need to revent the toilet?
 
  #9  
Old 12-13-08, 07:25 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You won't need the pump, which is good. The toilet should enter the main drain before the vent.
 
  #10  
Old 12-14-08, 09:17 PM
plumbingods's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Manch-vegas, New Hampshire
Posts: 2,182
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You wont know for sure until you open up the floor as to how the new connection will go.
 
  #11  
Old 12-14-08, 11:11 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 57
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Clay drain pipe question...

We have 3 floor drains also and I can tell you they aren't connected to the main sewer line that exits the house. The reason I know is that when sewer line backed up, it went to the slop sink which is higher than the floor drains.

Here is an easy yet crude way to know what is connected. You fit a balloon stopper down the clean out (or house trap). I am sure they have something of the sort at a plumbing store. In essense, block your line. Then flush a few times. If it comes out the floor drains, then it is connected. If it comes out the slop sink, then it isnt connected. Then deflate or pop the balloon and pull it out.

Zev.
 
  #12  
Old 12-15-08, 01:48 AM
Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 33
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Wink

My father had a rain gutter downspout and pool drain into those clay pipes. There was a clog some water would flow but not enough. Fortunately we knew where it went; regrettably it went about 100 yards to the street. Since we didnít know where the clog was at and we couldnít get it to flush out we called up some professionals and found one that had a boreascope snake ( a lighted camera on the end of a drain snake). Fortunately most of the drain was clear. With the camera we were able to see the problem, some roots broke through the clay pipe and dirt collapsed into the drain; and it made a nice little access hole for a chipmunk to store nuts and make a den. Between the collapsed clay pipe, the roots from the bushes and the nest and nuts from the chipmunk the drain was pretty well clogged. Fortunately we knew the route that the drain took; so we just measured how far the snake was inserted then we measured the distance to start are digging. It cost about $200 for the professionals to come and scope out the drain. I think it was well worth it because we only had to dig up about 6 feet of the line to replace the damaged section and it only took my dad and me a couple of days to do; if we had to dig up the whole hundred yards; I suspect it would have taken two weeks or more of our spare time.


In our city itís illegal to run runoff into the waste sewer. During storms they were having problems with the septic sewer is backing up and flooding peopleís basement with human waste sewage causing millions of dollars worth of damage. They had a good way of finding out where people storm drains were going; the city hired some professionals that had some smoke or fog machines that pumped smog or smoke down into peoples downspouts and storm drains; if the smoke came out of the waste sewer, the residents were cited and given an allotted time to fix the problem or face larger fines and possibly have your property seized.

Now I know all this doesnít directly apply to your problem however perhaps you can use some of the technology to try to troubleshoot your problem. Perhaps you can try flushing out the drains as well as you can. Perhaps you can turn the water on and off and compare the sound out at the sewer or access points and see if you can hear or see any change of the flow to diagnose if itís hooked up to a property discharge; city storm sewer or city waste sewage. This might help you figure out the direction that the line probably takes. Perhaps you can contact your local professionals after flushing out your lines and see if they have a camera snake or smoke systems. I think they also might have a snake with a transmitter that might find the path of the line in combination of detection equipment.

It might be worth paying a few professionals to try to isolate the problem and more or less survey your sewer line. It might save you from digging through the concrete and finding that the problem is outside next to a tree because of some roots that could have easily been dug up. Itís a gamble; but it might pay off and save you a lot of money, work, materials and inconvenience.
 

Last edited by SchemeFighter; 12-15-08 at 02:11 AM.
  #13  
Old 12-15-08, 06:55 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West of Chicago
Posts: 314
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
My stack comes down into the concrete floor. Then it would 90 toward the street. Can this 90 be replaced w/ a tee to allow the basement toilet to be located behind the stack? So in other words, you would have a toilet drain, the stack (which has the 1st floor bathroom), then the main run to the street... is that OK to do?

I think it may be better to locate the new basement toilet after the existing 90. So it would be the stack, the new toilet then the the main run to the street. What do you think?
 
  #14  
Old 12-15-08, 02:21 PM
plumbingods's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Manch-vegas, New Hampshire
Posts: 2,182
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Your second idea is the proper way to do it.
 
  #15  
Old 01-24-09, 12:36 PM
squeakyhinge's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: midwest united states
Posts: 9
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If the main is outside, how can the toilet be below; wouldn't every thing be designed to slope toward main; not sure what you are calling "main".

My 90 is definitely lowest in whole house... Would I scope and inspect line before teeing in with toilet... the existing line is never used.
 
  #16  
Old 01-24-09, 01:27 PM
plumbermandan's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 897
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
take the guess work out of it before ripping up the floor. have sewer camera ran to inspect the line and drains for bad spots and located making a map of the drain ssytem under the floor then you will know what you need to do and can/cant do before making a mess of things
 
  #17  
Old 01-24-09, 02:54 PM
squeakyhinge's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: midwest united states
Posts: 9
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Gulp, have mercy please.
Already cut about 5 feet, and dug up 90. It exits right front of house and floor drain 2 feet away exits front of house.
Going back a little: Iron waste from main floor goes to basement floor, then cleanout, then under slab for 15 feet, and I can watch waste go through clay pipe/ floor drain(just mentioned) which seems to exit through front of house...Yes it appears that iron and clay are connected.
Was wondering if I should still scope. A local add says clean and scope for $99. Sounds good to me. I will ask for at least a sketch too. This Should clear all questions. Can I keep a video too?
 
  #18  
Old 01-24-09, 07:29 PM
Speedwrench's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,698
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
most will give you a video when they scope it.

Murphy was a optimist.
 
  #19  
Old 01-25-09, 12:50 PM
plumbermandan's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Texas
Posts: 897
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
that sounds to good to be true. i gaurantee you will not get a copy of the video and you will have all kinds of problems with your line. make sure you are there watching when having any video inspections done
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: