Main sewer pipe clogged or vent?

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Old 05-26-13, 07:11 PM
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Main sewer pipe clogged or vent?

I've tried to get as much diagnosis done as possible so here's what happens:

I take a shower in one bathroom and after about 5 minutes I start to hear "bubbling" in the other bathroom. Go to the other bathroom, and the toilet bowl water is at bottom of the hole and bubbles are coming out. If I flush the toilet, the bowl fills instead of flushing, and then slowly drains over a period of 2-3 minutes.

While the toilet bowl is full, the sink and tub also do not drain properly. If I go to the other bathroom and flush the toilet, giant air bubbles will shoot out of the other toilet bowl.

I bought a 25' snake and opened up the cleanout in the basement, at about 20' in I pulled back some disinfectant wipes I had flushed a half hour earlier. I happened to locate a cleanout outside the house (about 6' further up the line from the other cleanout) and snaked from there. At the end of it's reach, I pulled back some small bits of roots.

I figured this was a sure sign of a sewer pipe blockage by roots, but I researched more I found that most people with main pipe blockages had water backing up into the house. Why then is only one of my toilets draining down/bubbling when I take a shower, and not the other?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 05-26-13, 07:38 PM
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Which floors are the toilets located on? When you go to the cleanout, can you see liquid flowing inside the pipe or is it stagnant. A Major blockage south of the cleanout will have water backing up the easiest way out. Once you open the clean out that should be where the water escapes before it backs up in the house. I suspect the blockage is north of the cleanout.

What of all the other facilities in the house - Kitchen, laundry room, any 1/2 baths? Lets piece this together. The gurgling sounds like a vent issue.
 
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Old 05-26-13, 08:51 PM
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Both toilets are on the 1st floor. 2 full baths. We'll say bath #1 is the one I shower in, and bath #2 is the one where the toilet gurgles and drains. All use the same vent which is routed to the shower piping of bath #1. There's a kitchen drain, and that's it. Laundry goes into the sump and out the side of the house (shouldn't be that way I know).

With the cleanout open and bath #2 tub running, I can watch the water come down and go out. After about 20 seconds, the pipe starts filling with water, at which point I put the cap back on to prevent spillage. When the main pipe "fills", there is pressure. The cleanout actually starts dripping from the water pressure while closed. Opening the clean out at that time causes water to shoot out until pressure equalizes, and then the water very slowly drains. While the water is slowly draining, bath #2 bowl water slowly lowers its level until it reaches the bottom and "burps", until the main pipe is empty. After about 15-20 minutes of no user activity there is no more water sitting in the main pipe.

While the main pipe is under pressure, bath #2 sink, toilet, and bath stop draining. When that happens, if I flush the toilet in bath #1, it flushes, but then bath #2 gets a violent discharge of air (can feel it vibrate the floor), which sometimes splashes water out of the bowl. I haven't tried anything besides flushing the bath #1 toilet once or twice, simply because it starts shaking the floor and I don't want to cause damage to anything.

Once the pressure is gone and the water is drained from the pipe, all facilities work normal until the pipe "refills".

Should I get it to where the #2 bath isn't draining anymore and do a thorough fill/drain test of the other facilities? Or do you have enough info?
 
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Old 05-27-13, 06:21 AM
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I think you have already answered your question. If it clogs, fills the exterior overflow, then your issue is between the overflow outside and the street. Probably need a power drain snake with a cutting tooth on it. Should be a straight shot from the cleanout to the street so you can measure how much snake you need. If that doesn't work, you will need to get a camera down there to see if you have a collapsed pipe.
 
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Old 05-27-13, 02:50 PM
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Ok that's what I figured, but this is my first plumbing experience and wanted some reassurance. Mine actually runs to the back yard so I'm not sure how to tell when it stops. I figure I'll get a 100ft. power snake if I can find one to rent. I was pulling things out under 25ft so hopefully that will be enough.

Thanks for your help!
 
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Old 05-27-13, 06:19 PM
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hi twiz -

I had a blockage about 50' from the house, between the house and septic, and rented one of these from HD. They are easy to use. I didn't have tree roots but I believe these are good for tree roots also.

Easy Rooter | Rent Easy Rooters from Home Depot Tool Rental

Don't know whether the plumbers like these but it worked for me.

(you can even find videos online to show you how to use it)
 
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Old 05-29-13, 02:39 PM
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Rented the power snake from a local rental place (HD had one but was more $$ for the same one), and fed it into the cleanout outside the house. About 40ft out I got some resistance, worked the snake back and forth and broke through. The stagnant water drained down quickly. So I thought that was it, but grabbed the garden hose to be sure. 2 minutes later it was backed up again! So I kept going and going with the snake. About 90ft out it felt like I hit a wall, but I kept working it in and out, in and out, for a good 10 minutes. FINALLY, it broke through and the water disappeared in seconds!

Ran the snake out to it's full 100ft, ran water down the cleanout for about 20 minutes, all clear!! Went out to Lowes and grabbed some Root Kill (copper sulfate) and dumped 2lbs. of it into the cleanout as per the instructions. Went inside, flushed some toilets, and took a long cool shower with no problems

Thanks for your help guys!

A word of advice to anyone looking for help, have a truck to get the power snake with. I had a sports car and a compact car, and was not fun loading and unloading that thing alone. I had to use an engine hoist, it's heavy!
 
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Old 05-30-13, 06:51 PM
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hi twiz-

About 40ft out I got some resistance, worked the snake back and forth and broke through. The stagnant water drained down quickly.
Thatís exactly what happened to me at 50í , but in my case I was actually done. I heard glub glub glub as the water went down and my eyes were wet with joy.


A word of advice to anyone looking for help, have a truck to get the power snake with. I had a sports car and a compact car, and was not fun loading and unloading that thing alone. I had to use an engine hoist, it's heavy!
I know you are correct! You jogged my memory and now I remember (old age), in my previous post I said I rented the Easy-Rooter. I did, but it was the mini version called the Mini-Rooter, which is much lighter I think (Iím close to 70 yrs. and those buggers are heavy).

Glad things worked out. Seems like you and I would both recommend people with the blockage problem to try one of those machines. Lot cheaper than a plumber. Sometimes I feel a little guilty about doing it myself and cutting out the plumber Ė those guys have families and need the work Iím sure. But then I have a beer or two and get over it! LOL (Just kidding, hope the plumbers get more work than they can handle. They probably do.)
 
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