1939 house kitchen drain backing up

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  #1  
Old 10-05-13, 10:49 AM
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1939 house kitchen drain backing up

The house was built in 1939. The house has old galvanized pipes, but some newer modifications have been done with PVC. The kitchen sink has been draining very slowly in the last few months. The previous owners have replace the kitchen and the sink drain is PVC that ties into the old pipes. Here is a picture under the sink in the basement: https://www.dropbox.com/s/q8511068biu6owm/pipe-pic.jpg
There is also a leak from one of the pvc junctions as shown in the picture.

All this piping modifications have been done by the previous owners of the house. We have been living here for almost 13 years and these problems started showing up recently.

I tried to snake through the trap under the kitchen sink, could get to that T-junction in the picture and could not get through further. I have done a motorized snake out of the house from that cleanout in the picture.

I would like to hear some opinions as to what may be the best way to replace or bypass that T-junction with a PVC piping and still be able to drain the sink properly. Also fix the leak at the same time.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.
 
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Old 10-05-13, 03:00 PM
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That pipe going up could have been going to a bathroom upstairs or is the vent stack. That's a pretty simple setup so I assume your snake is making it to the T.

How big is the drain snake you are using and how big is it's head? The snake may not know which way to go at the T but you're probably hitting the back wall of the vertical pipe meaning the T is clear at least for your kitchen sink. I'm betting your snake is smallish and is working through a narrow passage in the horizontal galvanized. Clear, but not enough for good flow. I would get rid of that and at the same time re-do the PVC below the floor to get rid of the leak. You can connect PVC to the cast iron with a no hub coupling (a rubber boot with hose clamps on either end and a steel band in the center).
 
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Old 10-05-13, 06:22 PM
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Thank you for the reply. The snake I sent from the kitchen sink trap was one of these manual snakes and was not very big. You may be right that it may be getting stopped at the T. I attached a pen camera to it so I could see what was happening, and the pvc pipes were fine all the way to the galvanized pipe. When I got there, there were some junk but it was hard to tell what they were and why the snake was not going further from the camera images.

The pipe going up may be the vent, but I know for sure that the upstairs bathroom is not connected to it. It is connected to the upstairs bathroom drain via a Y which goes out of the house from another outlet.

Other questions I have:
1. the pvc to the horizontal part of the galvanized pipe is threaded (pvc female and galvanized male). Would the no hub coupling work on this threaded end?
2. That whole PVC section that the kitchen sink drain joins and eventually connects to the T is pretty horizontal. I noticed it today when I was looking at it and did not see a downward slope. Could this also contribute to the slow drain and water backing up into the sink?
3. Is there a way to either replace the T with PVC including the galvanized pipe and what is now a fernco Y connected to it? The only thing that scares me is that the section of the galvanized pipe going up from that T has a bunch of threaded elbows and I don't know if I should be cutting these things.
Alternatively, is there a way I can bypass the T altogether, tap the kitchen drain below the T with a Y and cap the T altogether? If so, what would be the best way of doing it?

Thanks again for the help.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 06:16 AM
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I like Pilot Dane's idea of either cutting out the cast Tee or your idea of just capping the tee and adding a new wye below it. Either way, you should definitely redo the PVC section and add a bit of slope to it. The lack of slope is probably not making the drain run slow, but it can build up gunk over time. I would probably use a reciprocating saw to cut just above the Tee and start there.

Also, I can't quite see how the vertical drop from the kitchen sink connects to the horizontal PVC. It should be a combo wye coming in from the top. Something looks weird, but I can't really zoom in to see.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 09:14 AM
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Thank you for the reply.

Here is the picture showing how the kitchen sink drain is connected to the horizontal pvc:
from below: https://www.dropbox.com/s/h6gvcu19br6mu07/DSC_2250.JPG
from the left: https://www.dropbox.com/s/w7eojtl7skreo3q/DSC_2253.JPG
The left side of this assembly is connected to a water softener which we have been bypassing and not using for years. There was something wrong with it and one month we got a really high water bill. So, we decided not to use it anymore.

Here is a close-up of what is right above the T: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ndmozelktu6cyan/DSC_2252.JPG
It's a tight spot and I am not sure how easy it would be to cut above the T and make a connection without messing things up.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 01:29 PM
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To follow up on this, this afternoon my neighbor and I redid the entire thing as shown in the following picture:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/nibs9b2nyblyls0/DSC_2254.JPG
We put an under the sink vent which is what is at the top of the middle Y. When we took the old galvanized T junction, the whole pipe coming from above was all solid rust and closed. We figured it was not really doing anything, so I capped its bottom. I don't think anything is connected to it. However, the kitchen sink is still not draining and is backing up after a while. So, I will try to roto-rooter the pipe going out the house one more time. Maybe I did not do a good job with it.

Any other ideas why it may still not be draining properly?
Thanks.
 
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Old 10-06-13, 02:13 PM
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I think capping off the vertical (possibly the vent) was a mistake. At worst connecting it should do no harm and at best it provides a proper vent for the system. Another concern is that if it's a vent water can enter from above and it now has nowhere to go. Eventually it will leak.

Hopefully Lawrosa will chime in but that is not a good location for a studdor (air admittance) vent. First, vents such as that are permitted in limited situations like a sink in a kitchen island where there is no way to install a proper vent. In you location it's possible to do it properly.

The larger drain pipe heading through the wall could be clogged or partially clogged. A small, hand cranked snake will be of almost no use in that large a pipe. Luckily there is a clean out right there you can open up and see what's inside.
 
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