Washing machine drain backing up

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Old 03-17-19, 12:06 PM
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Washing machine drain backing up

Good afternoon and Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone.

Recently, the drain to my washing machine began backing up and I tried fixing it with a bottle of Liquid Plumr to no avail (and no surprise). I bought something "stronger" from the local Home Despot (Instant Power Hair & Grease) but I'm tempted to believe that I'll just need to snake the drain.

I've attached a picture of the setup behind my washing machine. My main question is what the heck is that capped vent pipe to the right? Is that where I need to snake the drain? I'd really prefer to not have to remove the trap on the main drain.

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Last edited by PJmax; 03-17-19 at 01:18 PM. Reason: enlarged/enhanced picture
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Old 03-17-19, 01:21 PM
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The bad thing is your trap is connected to the wall with a right angle fitting. It can be hard to get a snake around a fitting like that. You appear to have iron piping for the drains and if I had to hazard a guess..... the problem will be between that 90 and the tee in the wall.

That cap is a cleanout. Possibly for a different stack.
 
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Old 03-17-19, 02:46 PM
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The bad thing is your trap is connected to the wall with a right angle fitting. It can be hard to get a snake around a fitting like that. You appear to have iron piping for the drains and if I had to hazard a guess..... the problem will be between that 90 and the tee in the wall.

That cap is a cleanout. Possibly for a different stack.
I'll have to check the trap and hopefully there is an opening from underneath to run the snake. I'm assuming the only other alternative is to take the whole riser, trap, and/or 90 off?
 
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Old 03-18-19, 11:01 AM
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I agree with Pete, you're going to have a tough time snaking that run.

What I would do is cut off the galvanized pipe at the 90deg elbow at the wall. Snake it out from there, then replace the 90, trap, and riser with PVC connected to the existing galvanized with a no-hub (shielded rubber) coupling.

Old galvanized piping has a tendency to collect all sorts of grease, soap, and gunk over time and can require some significant snaking to clear it out.
 
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Old 03-18-19, 01:39 PM
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I agree with Pete, you're going to have a tough time snaking that run.

What I would do is cut off the galvanized pipe at the 90deg elbow at the wall. Snake it out from there, then replace the 90, trap, and riser with PVC connected to the existing galvanized with a no-hub (shielded rubber) coupling.
That was actually going to be my next question. The remaining stub in the wall would give me about a 2Ē length of pipe to work with. That should be enough to get a solid bite with a fernco coupler, correct? If so, Iíll cut the whole run out and take it to a plumbing supply and reproduce it there with PVC.

That way, I donít have to remember any numbers.
 
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Old 03-20-19, 10:38 AM
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Yes, 2" will definitely be enough for your rubber coupling. You can always notch out a bit of drywall too if you need an extra 1/2" (which you shouldn't.

Be sure to support the new PVC, you don't want the weight of the water and pipe supported by just the Fernco adapter.
 
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Old 03-23-19, 11:53 AM
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Sorry for the delay in the update, but I ended up replacing that whole run in the picture with PVC. I snaked the drain with a 25'er on a power drill but the water was still backing up. I figured out, based on the sound, that the cleanout to the right is the cleanout for this run (but I couldn't get the cap off so it didn't really matter).

I ended up going to the Despot and renting a 50' x 1/2" manual feed snake. For some reason, the rep at the rental counter recommended against the auto-feed because he said it was too difficult to handle? Regardless, I ran the full 50' out with a 1-1/4" diamond bit on it (this drain is at the absolute far-end of the run) and a little resistance, but not much. After running the washer again, hot water only, it backed up a little the first two or three times, but now it's running clear without issue.

I did a little investigation in the basement and found that the pipe is galvanized for about 25', and it also has the kitchen sink and the dishwasher within that distance. At the dishwasher, the galvanized is replaced with PVC all the way to the mainline, and there does seem to be some backpitch 40-50' down the line that I'll need to correct. I did try to remove the coupler at the galvanized-PVC joint to snake in both directions from there, but I couldn't get it off and I didn't want to risk breaking the galvanized.

Also, I was advised to run a large load of hot water at least once a week, or after a round of laundry, maybe after pouring some white vinegar down the drain. I suspect I didn't clear the line completely. It's more likely that I cleared it 'just enough' to keep it from being a problem for now, but I have a feeling that I'll end up having to replace the remaining galvanized run somewhere in the future.

Thanks again for all the help. I haven't been steered wrong from this forum yet.
 
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Old 03-23-19, 12:34 PM
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I believe rather than vinegar and a load of hot water every week I would opt for some enzyme drain treatments for 2 or 3 nights to clean the grease from the line which was most likely the problem. Then, repeat once a month.
 
 

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