serious plumbing problem

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Old 02-22-01, 06:46 PM
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I have a duplex built in 1929 and one side is now clogged up. First we noticed the tub draining slowly and then the toilet would gurgle and one time overflowed and had to be plunged. We snaked the tub and toilet with a small snake attached to a drill, it fixed the toilet, the tub still ran slow however. The next morning, the kitchen double sink with a disposer clogged up, then the washing machine overflowed onto the floor. The wash room is next to the kitchen. We got one of those industrial snakes. Took apart the drain from under the sink and removed a bunch of sludge and junk, then snaked it, it still was clogged. Today we went to the front of the house and snaked the main water line and it cleared up the kitchen and the washer doesn't leak. Now the tub is worse and the toilet overflowed and had to be snaked, now the next door bathroom is leaking. What can we do now???? Help help
 
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Old 02-22-01, 07:30 PM
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Pull the clogged toilet and snake the drain line from there with a long plumber's snake.
Also, check to be sure that your vent pipe on the roof is clear of leaves and debris. Remove any that you can reach, and flush it with a water hose with sprayer. Snake it, too, if you have to.
It sounds like you may have a clog in the main drain line past that bathroom, and if you snake it out with the toilet removed, it may clear it.
Another problem, if that doesn't do it, could be roots out in the main drain line causing a partial clog. If that is it, it will have to be roto-rooter augered.
Just start with the drain line nearest the problem area and clear them out from there.
If you need any help about how to remove and replace a toilet, just come back and ask. It isn't that difficult.
Good Luck!
 
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Old 02-23-01, 01:32 AM
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Multiple problems?

It sounds like you may have more than one thing going on at the same time. In my opinion, people tend to notice all of the little plumbing problems when something big goes wrong. However a bubbling toilet is the classic sign of a plugged sewer line. The problem may seem to come and go because if you have a partial clog far down the line you will need to run a fair amount of water to fill the pipe back up. An easy test is to run a nearby sink for five or ten minutes while watching the suspicious toilet. If the pipe fills with water it will force air out of the toilet, causing it to bubble. Remember the more water you had to put into the pipe means the farther away the clog is.
It does sound like the sewer line is the main issue, It is possible that the problem is upstream of your outside cleanout that you used. Pulling the toilet will give you access further upstream, however be careful! Older homes often have soft lead closet bend pipes directly under the toilet and a steel sewer snake will damage soft lead unless you are extremely careful. If the roof is low and not too steep you may have better success running the cleaning snake down the vent pipe. There are fewer turns to fight and no soft lead to cut.
Sometimes when the sewer clogs, waste backflows into the trap system for the toilet. You may have a secondary clog in the tub line. If this is a duplex and the bathrooms share a common pipe chase you may have trouble cleaning the tub drain because the snake has the tendancy to jump across the "cross" fitting and go upstream into the other bathtub. Also from the age of the house you may have a "drum trap" style bathtub, and you will be unable to snake the entire drain line from the tub. If you have this style of drain look for a coffee can sized cylinder within a five feet of the bathtub drain. You will need to access this canister to clean the entire line.

Good luck, it sounds like a fun one.

[Edited by Paulypfunk on 02-23-01 at 03:38]
 
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