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Basement floor drain and kitchen sink drain

I was hoping someone with little or lot of experience in older home 107 years old. Located in a suburb next to Cleveland, OH.

The other day when I was using the kitchen sink. I started hearing this bubbling noise coming from the basement. I ran down to see what was going on. The basement floor drain started backing up and water was slowing rising. Naturally I shut the sink off and then started working on unclogging the floor drain. Nothing seemed to be helping not even a powered snake. Just to check again I started running the sink in the kitchen and sure enough water started backing up into the floor drain.

What is odd to me is the exit hole on the floor drain runs opposite of the sink drain. Amazingly the drain pipe to the sink runs into a 4" diameter clay pipe and "appears" heading towards the cast iron soil stack. The floor drain "appears" to be heading opposite direction going towards probably the drain tiles for the gutters? Each drain is about 6 feet from each other. The only way I could see these two joining would be thought a wye connection or a couple elbow connections on the floor drain. Can it be they tied the floor drain in with the sink drain and had them exit into the soil stack and the gutter drains? Or would it be the sink and the floor drain would be exiting into the gutter drains? About two feet from the sink pipe there is a 3" toilet port. You can tell it is original because the housing around the opening is lead and the pipe is cast iron. That drains fine as I have used it to drain the sink basin in the basement into it.

My plan is to just dig it up and install a new floor drain with 4" PVC and P-trap then tie it into the kitchen sink drain and finally exit it into the the Soil Stack. I may even make a new line coming up for the washer and basement sink to drain.

The work of the new line does not scare me as I have done it once before. Just strange to me that a floor drain exiting towards the outside of the house can also be affected by the drain from the kitchen sink. Some how they are tied in together.

What makes it a little more confusing is the house is a duplex (side by side). The floor drain on the other side is a small square box a foot in diameter with a opening at the bottom into a 4" pipe that ties directly into the sewage drain. Nothing like what is on the side I am talking about.

Also the main drain leading to the street is about 5 feet below the basement floor and all clay pipe. But the soil stack is all cast iron. Was this normal back then as well? I really admire how they did things back then and just trying to understand how they did things back then. Wish there was books written on this stuff

I can try to send pictures if it helps.


Re: Basement floor drain and kitchen sink drain

My Friend,

Well for starters, if you turn on the kitchen sink faucet and it starts backing up into the floor drain in your basement, then these branch lines are tied together. You should be able to reach the stopage with a proper 3/8" powered cable, making sure you have atleast 50 to 75 feet of cable in the drum.
In that time period all cast iron piping was in 4" lengths, with oil-cum and leaded joints. The floor drain in the basement is considered a black water drain, meaning it should be tied into the sewage system with the rest of your house, and either tied to your city sewer, septic system or leach field. Also a note, that at one point your home may have been on a septic or leach field line and later converted to the city sewer system.
Normally, your cast iron main sewer line would exit the property, front or back about 4' or so and then tie to the clay piping system if it were tied into a city sewer system. Now if was heading to a septic system it would continue on in cast iron or clay to the septic system.
Also that clay piping system could be coming from a property behind you or the could of just put the waste stack directly into this clay piping vertically. there are many variables.
The other Floor drain you are referring to is actually a floor sink, going by your discription of it. You must be on a slight hill or grade leading down to the street or ally way for your main sewer line to be so deep under the home? just a guess. Hope this may help you, Chris.

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