Plumber doubts main clean out line

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Old 09-28-11, 08:18 AM
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Plumber doubts main clean out line

We are having gurgling toilets. We called a plumber and showed him what we believed to be our cleanout. The PVC pipe is outside our home (close to the washer)about two feet and sticks up 10'ish inches. In the five years we have been here, we have never had to be concerned with this. The plumber advised us it was not a cleanout. He was unable to help us. He had us empty water from the washer. No water ran through the pipe although we heard the water running. He left telling us he did not know what that pipe was and that we did not have a main cleanout. He was prohibited by company policy from using the vents on our roof. Any ideas what the unknown non-cleanout pipe is or what we should try next? Thanks for your guidance and thoughts.
 
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Old 09-28-11, 08:24 AM
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It is not uncommon for a washing machine to have a separate drain line that is not connected to the sewer lines of the house. Usually it just dumps on the ground or in a ditch somewhere. It is not allowed under most current codes but it was commonly done in the past.

You said you heard it when you ran water down your washer's drain pipe. Now try listening at the clean out when someone flushes a toilet in the house. If you don't hear the toilet water it's a good indication that the plumber is correct and that is not your sewer clean out.
 
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Old 09-28-11, 08:46 AM
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Thank you. We will flush and listen right now. We may not have a main clean out??? Who knew!
 
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Old 09-28-11, 09:00 AM
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Flushing is not audible from the pipe~~yikes! We must not have a clean out...
 
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Old 09-28-11, 09:44 AM
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Clean out's outside the home may not have been required when the home was built. You or a plumber should be able to snake the lines within the house. You may have to remove some sink P traps and remove toilets. If your house has a crawl space or basement there should be clean outs somewhere.
 
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Old 09-28-11, 10:07 AM
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Our home was built in 1969. Oklahoma may not have required clean outs then. We tried emptying the washer just to see the purpose of the mysterious pipe. We hear the washer emptying, but we don't see anything. That pipe may remain a mystery forever.

My husband just removed the most gurgling toilet and has gone to buy something to snake the line. Wish the plumber was still here. . .we let him leave too soon yesterday. Thank you for your continued thoughts.
 
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Old 09-28-11, 10:28 AM
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That clean out may be deep. If you can take a pic it would help.

Upload pics to a free site like photobucket.com and post the link to those pics here.

Are you septic? Municipal sewer?

What size is this pipe sticking out of the ground?

Basement, crawl, slab?????

How many toilets?

What you describe sounds like a main line clogg. A reputable plumber would not have walked away. The proper method is to pull a toilet and have a camera sent down. One the issue is found you often snake through the opening of the pulled toilet.

Also a good plumber will tell you what the issue was such as roots, and how far they are down the line. A repair option should be offered.

The theory is if it gets through the toilet it will get down the line. Any clogg denotes a issue. Sewer lines should not clogg.

Your husband will need at a minimum a large drum snake.

And they are dangerous. They can take off limbs and you can be seriously injured. I have seen them torque up with peoples hands caught in the snakebecause of improper use. when they hit blockage the snake jambs if you dont let it cut properly. And there is so much torque on those machines they will just spin around and damage everything in its path.

Ask me how I know!!!!!! LOL.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 09-28-11, 12:32 PM
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Can you better describe your gurgling toilets? Do they gurgle when draining the washer or other bathroom fixtures? If so you probably don't have a drain problem. If they are flushing OK just gurgling when something is draining you mosdt likely have a vent problem.

The plumber you got sounds like a loser. If this is something you don't want to undertake, look for a real plumber that's been in business in the area for a while.
 
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Old 09-28-11, 12:59 PM
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Hi, Mike, thanks for replying. The pipe is about three inches across. When I look inside I can see the dry cross pipe. I don't know where the washer water is emptying, but I don't see it crossing here. We are on a city line and have a slab floor. I have a call in to the builder's son to see if he recalls if clean outs were required when they developed this area. Hopefully, he will know. Thank you again.
 
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Old 09-28-11, 01:03 PM
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Dear Wayne, The toilet's first problem was when I let the water out of the tub in that bathroom. The toilet filled to the top and drained slowly. We have four bathrooms. Any activity in the other bathrooms causes the problem toilet to bubble. If we try to flush it, we have a 50/50 chance of it filling to the top again. Thank you for your input. All thoughts are appreciated.
 
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Old 09-28-11, 01:20 PM
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That clean out could be for drainage such as from gutters. Do the gutter leaders go into pipes that look similar to that clean out?

Popular belief when gurgles are heard is vent issues. In all my years of plumbing I have never really seen a vent issue. Its the assumption. Its actually a clogg. It will take me too long to explain here.

That clean out being dry is odd. Its there for something. You see no water at all? Even if the line was broke under ground and it was clogged I would think some water would seep through.

You should also be able to tell if water ever flowed down that clean out. Get a bright flash light and look. Run water from all areas of the home one fixture at a time and look and listen in the clean out. The bottom of the pipe should look somewhat soiled.

It can take a long time before the water appears in the clean out. It will not appear instantly.

Additionaly your washer should not fill with water. That would mean its hard piped to the sewer which is illegal. That would also state you have a main line clogg most likely. And the clogg is somewhere from the house to possibly that clean out.

Again take pics, and let us know your findings.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 09-28-11, 07:35 PM
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Mike - The OP did not mention water backing up into the toilets. All that was said was that the toilets were "gurgling" but I agree that water backing up into the bowl is indicative of a drain, not vent issue.

While I'm not a plumber I have seen vent problems on two occasions. In both instances the vent was blocked, one because it was an open vent in an attic and some critters stuffed it with paper and insulation to make a nest and the other was my own summer home where the vent was packed with who knows how many years of pine needles. In both cases the result was "gurgling" in the drains whenever a toilet was flushed or a bath drained.

Coincidentally, I just watched Rich Trethuey solve a gurgling vanity sink on ATOH. I will quote Rich - "Any time I hear a complaint about gurgling, it just has to be in the vent system." Trethuey has been around the plumbing block a few times and I have no reason to doubt what he's saying. In the ATOH case a new 40' long vent line in an attic was pitched wrong and it had filled with water.
 
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Old 09-28-11, 08:18 PM
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Wayne post #10.


Dear Wayne, The toilet's first problem was when I let the water out of the tub in that bathroom. The toilet filled to the top and drained slowly.
Its probably the last toilet on the line and there is a clogg after that toilet somewhere.

I feel the reason for gurgling is most likely because the water in the line that is clogged blocks the vent as its draining slowly with a partial blockage. Particularly the toilet vent for that bath that also is the sink/bath line. My experience in my 25 yrs in and out of the plumbing trade taught me that less then 2% of gurggles are vent related.

Coincidentally, I just watched Rich Trethuey solve a gurgling vanity sink on ATOH. I will quote Rich - "Any time I hear a complaint about gurgling, it just has to be in the vent system." Trethuey has been around the plumbing block a few times and I have no reason to doubt what he's saying. In the ATOH case a new 40' long vent line in an attic was pitched wrong and it had filled with water.
I hope no one gets mad but that guy is a business man. I am not sure how much plumbing he has done himself. I have seen what he does, and he is all propped up for TV IMO. You could tell by the techniques he uses when performing plumbing tasks on the show. Its staged stuff.

If your behind a desk running your plumbing company you never learn the tricks, sounds, and stuff related to trouble shooting. He went soft along time ago IMO, and has assistants get the technical data for him. He is a TV puppet IMO.

An example, I worked with a company that had 3 owners of a plumbing, heating, electrical company. Each owner was licensed for each trade. They formed one company. They were so out of the loop with what is going on with current technologies, and neither of them could turn a crew driver. They all worked for thier dads who started the companys. They all did minimal work and skated through life and got thier licenses. Then took over the business from behind a desk. Similar to that guy on that show.

Just my opinion, but it makes for good TV.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 09-28-11, 11:23 PM
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Mike, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Rich Trethewey. While he IS the third generation of plumbers in his family and he does hold a master plumber certification in Massachusetts he is no plumber in my book. Truth is, he hasn't done any real plumbing for at least 20 years as his company (since 1990) is one of consultants not plumbers, pipefitters or any other trade.

If anything, he epitomizes the worst of trades licensing statutes.

Just my opinion.
 
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