Sink backing up


Old 05-05-01, 10:46 PM
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Help! The kitchen sink is backing up! At first it was just slow to drain. I tried plunging, routing, and water bladder, also septic system enzymes and drano (labeled safe for septic). Now, the sink is actually filling up with water. The septic tank was emptied last week. Problem started before the tank was emptied and was not changed afterwards. We do have a grease trap, somewhere. The water coming back up appears clean. Any tips? I do realize we will probably have to call a plumber...just wondering what on earth could be happening. Thanks!
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Old 05-06-01, 12:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 664
The sink filling up with water is probably from you using your dishwasher. The discharge hose connects to the sink drain. The other likely scenario is that this sink shares a drain with something upstairs from it. Do you have a pump system of any kind. You are in a single family home I am assuming. If your kitchen sink shares a wall with a neighbor then it could be their water that you see.
It sounds like you need rooter help. I would try the snake again. You may have gone the wrong direction and gone upstream up the vent pipe OR you may have not gone far enough to get to the septic tank connection (it is always farther than you think it is) or the blockage is too squishy or large to get broken up by your pitiful girly hand crank hardware store special snake. Keep trying before you call the plumber. Those pressure bags can be bad news. I don't reccommend using them. Many old systems are just waiting to spring a leak and the last thing that they need is to be pressurized by your blow bag. Also unless you get the bladder past the connection to the vent all you will do is shoot water up and out of your roof vent. Grease trap? Those are usually only on commercial kitchens. Are we sure we are talking about the same thing?

good luck.
Old 05-06-01, 06:01 AM
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sink response


Thanks for your help! We have not run the dishwasher in the time the water is coming back up. The sink is upstairs and there are no connections above it (although the plumbing does come down from the attic as we are on a slab). Single family home. Overnight, with nothing running anywhere, the sink is now half-full of water. The sissy snake (:-)) is 10' long, the septic tank lid is maybe 20' from the sink. We do have a reverse osmosis system under the sink also. I know the grease trap sounds weird, but when we moved into the house last year the previous owners told us there was one - they were pretty proud of the fact. Of course, we neglected to ask them exactly where it was.
I have dealt with clogged drains before, have rented the heavy duty auger and had good luck with it. What spooks me about this one is the water coming up, seemingly out of nowhere....
Old 05-06-01, 09:12 AM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 5,841
If you have a water softner on the system, this could be where the water comes from, when the softner cycles it discharges water into the drain.

Is this a double compartment sink?

Fill one side full up and let it drain out, does it start to come up in the other side?

If it does the line is clogged.

You need to call in a drain cleaning company and have them run the line.

I run lines all the time, and I'm %100 sure a good cleaning will solve the problem.

You talk of a grease trap, you need to infrom the drain cleaning company that there could be a grease trap somewhere, last thing a company wants to do is get tied up in the trap, see if they can find this trap while there there.

It will not be the septic tank, see, water will seek it's lowest points in the drain system, if the tank was the problem, then you would find problem in all drains, but since it's only your sink, this tells me it's just that line only.
Old 05-07-01, 12:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 664
If for some strange reason, god only knows, that the previous owners put in a grease trap for the sink then you may have a more complex problem. A grease trap is basically a tiny septic tank that catches grease in a holding chamber and then water is allowed to pass downstream. If you do have one, and it has not been cleaned out in some time then you would need to find it, open it and clean it. This may be the source of the problem. Try to trace the route that the sink drain takes. look for a 2 or 3 foot square metal box. This would be your date with destiny. You may also try digging around outside the kitchen window to try to find it.

As Ron said you may want to call in a professional, it all depends how much your time and effort is worth.
Old 05-08-01, 06:43 AM
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Thumbs up

Thanks for your help! GOt a bigger snake, and seems to have fixed the problem (for now at least). The advice on the grease trap is very helpful. It was the reverse osmosis system that was filling the sink up, I turned it off one night and there was no filling the next day. Again, thanks a LOT.
Bob C.

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