confused with main drain pipes

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Old 03-23-13, 10:39 PM
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confused with main drain pipes

I notice when I was washing clothes the water backed up in drain pipe and it also came back up in the bathtub. Went a rented a sewer snake. I took the cap off on the end where the washer drains and ran it down there,(it it the farthest from leaving the house). I tried to get the sewer clean out cap off but where it is cast iron couldn't get it to budge. So I ended up cutting my pvc line under my house near where the lines go out the house. I ran the snake that way about 50 foot never did seem to hit anything. I did that twice. I fixed the pipe and thought things may be ok. Filled the washer up with hot water and let it run out. Did not get the back up in the kitchen but still in the bathtub. What is throwing me off about this is the line from the kitchen goes from one side of the house straight to cast iron leading outside the house to the vent pipe going down in the ground. Now the bathtub and toilet goes through the floor and straight out of foundation. by the pipe outside the kitchen line goes in the vent pipe first and the bathroom is joining the pipe about 2 feet above that. So what I don't understand is how the water is backing upward in the pipe unless it is blocked, If it's blocked then where did the 50 ft snake i ran in the pipe go? I don't know what else to do.????? Please help
 
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Old 03-24-13, 12:47 AM
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confused with main drain pipes
I'm even more confused than you are.
I read your post three times and still can't figure out what you have there.

When you cut the PVC, it sounds like you cut the line going toward the sewer/septic
 
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Old 03-24-13, 04:30 AM
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Yes i did cut the main pvc pipe that came from my kitchen than runs across my house to the sewer line. I did that because I couldn't get the cap off on that end to the drain line cleaner?. it's cast iron and as far as I know it's never been off.
I cut it so I could run the snake and it would go to the sewer main line to street. I just don't understand how it is backing up from a lower pipe to the higher pipe to my bathtub when I used the snake and didn't feel no where I hit anything. I used all 50 ft of the line it was going somewhere.I am only about 40 ft from where it goes in my house to the street (that's if the line runs straight). The house is very old. i know 100 years are more
 
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Old 03-24-13, 05:06 AM
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Can you sketch out the layout of your drain lines and post a picture?

Water will back up in the lowest fixture regardless of the elevation of the pipes in the basement. If all your fixtures are on the same floor in the house a bathtub or shower is the lowest point.

Old houses often used 1 1/2" pipe for washer lines which is undersized by modern code. That alone can cause trouble in some instances. Usually though there is corrosion or debris that has accumulated over the years and reduced the size of the inside of the pipe. Depending on the snake you used and how many times you ran it through it may have not removed the debris.

Try filling the tub with water and start it draining and flush the toilet. Does the tub eventually slow or stop draining?
 
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Old 03-24-13, 02:18 PM
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Yes if water is in the tub half full it took around couple of hours maybe a little longer. It will probably be tomorrow before I can get picture because it it pouring down rain and it's a crawl space i have to go into for the pipes. The water will bubble in the tub but goes out the longer it sits. I still going to run the snake down the tub over drain first then if that doesn't work going to run it down the vent pipe to see what happens. Cutting the PVC pipe to take a snake to the road it my last choice(i will have to rent a snake again 60.00 some for 4 hrs plus repair line again) guy at Home depot told me to just cut the cast iron pipe where the clean out cap is an buy a rubber cap to put over it when I was done. The guy in plumbing told me I shouldn't use a recop saw on the pipe there to just try to get cap off. But I was never able to get cap out.
 

Last edited by star82397; 03-24-13 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 03-24-13, 03:05 PM
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I don't think we need a picture of the pipes. I was more looking for a diagram to see how everything is laid out.

I suspect you have a partial clog somewhere in the main line. The pipes if allowed time to drain can hold some water before backing up to the house and becoming evident at your lowest fixture, the tub. It's not a complete clog since it will go down over time but it's a clog none the less.

What type of snake are you renting? Is it a solid metal band or is it a motorized, rotating snake? If the head of whatever you're snaking the line with is smaller than the pipe than it can find it's way through without clearing the clog. A common tip on a snake may only be about 1 or 2 inches in diameter. You run that down a 4" pipe and you can see that a lot of clog can remain even if the snake makes it through.

A larger head is one option but if one is not available it's an old trick to wrap a coat hanger wire around the head to make a wirey snaggle.

If possible I like to work from the downhill side of the clog like from the street or septic tank and get the lines in the house full of water. Then as you break bits free the water trapped in the house washed the debris away. And working from the downhill side usually means you are outside where the messy snake is not an issue. If on city sewer I dig at the edge of the right of way where the homeowner responsibility for a clog becomes the cities problem. There I install a clean out and work back toward the house.
 
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Old 03-24-13, 08:30 PM
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First if I wanted to do what you said how do I know where the pipe on my side meets. I am not even sure if the line runs straight or not. I do have a manhole in front of my house. Yea the snake I got was motorized and the end wasn't even 2 in. If I go rent the the 75ft it has the cutter on the end so it is bigger but unless I find away to get the cap off the cast iron I can't go bigger because the PVC pipe that I will have to cut again to get the snake to go in the main line is only 2 in. Any suggestions of getting the cast iron cap off? drew layout of lines will try to attatch but for some reason my phone want let me get to pictures right now.
 
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Old 03-25-13, 04:54 AM
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Locating the drain line can be difficult depending on it's depth. Easiest is to contact the city and have them locate it for you. My town will even jet the line from the sewer main back toward the house if you think the clog may be in their area of responsibility. They are supposed to stop at your property line but if you're there when they do the work and are nice they'll often run all the way up to the house for you.

Is the cast iron cap a female cap the covers the end of the pipe or a male threaded plug that screws into the inside of the fitting?
 
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