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Draining problem

We have a tri-level with a basement. In the basement is a drain for the a/c unit and for the humidifier on the furnace. However, we have been having problems with this drain.

Last August the local water dept (Denver water) came out to back flush the sewer system. This appears to be common practice all over the city. Well, shortly after that we started having trouble with the drain in our basement. It would back up bringing with it little bits of food :mad: I called them, they said it wasn't their problem, and they were not responsible.

Well, we managed to clear the line with special attachments for garden hose. Forces water through the pipe at a high rate. We did clear it once, and had problems again a few weeks later. My solution was to not use the garbage disposal. We've been fine now for a few months, until last night when I noticed a smell from the basement. Water is once again backing up.

Another thing I've noticed is it's just when water is run through the kitchen (located just above the furnace room) The bathrooms don't seem to cause water to back up the drain.

I want to know if this has happened to anyone else? Is this a city problem or my problem? At first I thought it was the city, but after thinking about it, it may be mine as it is only one room causing the back ups.

Any suggestions? Recommendations on a good plumber in the Denver area?

Re: Draining problem

SWAG......from afar:

The kitchen sink drainline dumps into the same branch as the problematic floor drain and........the blockage is after that floor drain but before where that line hooks up to the horizontal section of the main house drain. That's why the rest of the house still functions fine.

Not sure exactly from where you attempted to clean this out before, but...if the blockage is where I'm imagining it is...you'd likely have success if you remove the clean-out plug from the floor drain and go in that way. Your hose should fit and it may be all you need. Slide it in there as far as you can and flush away. You might try putting a sweeper type nozzle on the end of that hose.

Or try sending a drain snake down there.

A drain jetter would likely work if this is just an obstruction of soft material. Might be able to rent one for half a day....maybe less.

Re: Draining problem

One other possibility that I have run into. You may have two systems, one a sewage line and the other a storm sewer line that you basement drain is connected to. The sink may have been connected to the storm sewer line in error rather than the sewage line. You may have roots in the line that catch particles until it stops up, best solution would be to rent a drain auger, be sure to wear heavy leather gloves when using the auger.

Re: Draining problem

Capellam44 ... you're not alone ( although many many miles apart)... this exact scenario also happened to me this past summer.

Our city was also back flushing the main sewer lines ... low and behold I was having draining issues on the kitchen line afterward.
The city had sent a warning sheet the week before explaining the process and recommended that toilet seats should be in the down position avoiding any water being pushed out from the toilets. That meant there had been a lot of force being placed through the lines.

I had called the number on the sheet for the city department in charge ... it was explained to me ... in this case ... since it was a private company contracted to do the work the contractor would be responsible ... you see how this plays out.:rolleyes:

Of course they sent out a plumber and he snaked out the line ... now came the point of who would pay the bill. In conversation with the company they weren't accepting any responsibility until I discussed it further saying that the force of their method had some cause ... if not all .... for the blockage .... and after some back and forth ... we came to a 50/50 compromise on the bill .

In my case the kitchen line is only 1 1/2 and joins the main larger waste line for the house further up stream. It wouldn't take as much debris to clog the smaller line.

The suggestions previously mentioned may indeed do the trick.

Good luck.:)

Re: Draining problem

Thanks for all the helpful advice. Today we got the nozzle from my dad again. It's a plumbing device that expands to fit the size of the pipe forcing water through the blocked pipe while not allowing it to come up the one you are working on. We did access it from the drain in the basement. This, however has not really solved our problem. Running just a sink full of water enough to wash a few dishes has backed up the water again. It does drain more quickly however.

The neighborhood is only 30 years old so I may attempt to find records on the sewage and drain lines. I also plan to call Denver water first thing Monday morning and start yelling at them again.

They did this "flushing" when I lived across town in triplex. Yes the flushing did indeed shoot water out the toilets. Everyone in the complex complained, but that didn't stop the workmen.

Thanks for the help.

Re: Draining problem

Yeah....you're using what we call a drain-king. Many years ago I bought one cause I thought......WOW! this looks great.

Bottom line........it isn't. Reason being that it delivers very little water out the business end and as soon as the smallest hole is made in the obstruction.........you no longer have any pressure left to push more material out of the way....because the water is escaping as fast as it's being introduced. If you'd like another one.....you can have mine for free. Just pay the postage and it's yours. ;) I've kept it this long just in case I needed a gentle enema someday. :D

Same deal for those compressed air drain gadgets. Small hole develops and the game is over.

You need something with more gumption and I think even your garden hose might do it.......especially if you put a sweeper nozzle on it. And then there's always the jetter and/or snake if the hose alone doesn't work.

Re: Draining problem

Well, I did call the city about this problem and they actually came out to snake their side of the sewer. The guy said he ran the line 200 ft and couldn't find anything wrong. So with luck that did the trick. Honestly I haven't noticed water in the basement other than that draining from the humidifier. But I haven't had to run the dishwasher yet either. For now, the small amount of water I do run in the kitchen seems to drain just fine. We'll see though.

If there is still a problem I will probably go for a snake. I think my dad has one but it's only 40 ft or so. Not quite long enough to get us to the street connection so I am really hoping that whatever the city did fixes the problem. Thanks for all the help and suggestions.

Oh yeah the greatest thing is the city snaked their side of the drain.......for free:D

Re: Draining problem

We have something similar that happens in our garage when we tried to run the washing machine, dishwasher and do a few more dishes at the same time. Water would back up into the drain in the garage and run through the garage toward the door. The first time it happened, I had the plumber come and snake the drain. He said we needed to avoid a few things like using a garbage disposal, powdered detergents and cleaners which could settle in the pipes restricting flow.

We still have the occassional problem but it only seems to really need attention when we would need the other end of the line augered for roots.

It wouldn't be hard make sure that you keep the line clear of debris. We're on a septic system so I don't have yay-hoo's forcing water back into my house on a regular basis. I would suspect they did blow something back into your line which causes the trouble.

Re: Draining problem


He said we needed to avoid a few things like using a garbage disposal,

We still have the occassional problem but it only seems to really need attention when we would need the other end of the line augered for roots.

Does this mean you are or were........using a garbage disposal on a septic system? Not really advisable at all. And not because of the potential of stuff settling out in the lines, but because the types of bacterial colonies that live in the tank can't digest that stuff. At the very least you'd have to pump the tank way more frequently. At the worst, it can mean the demise of your drainfield.

IIRC, Insinkerator sells a GD unit which automatically dispenses special enzyme tablets when you use the GD...which are *supposed* to help with the digestion of that stuff in a septic tank. However, if you check out how many tabs it's dropping and how much those tabs cost...it's cheaper to have the tank pumped out on a more frequent basis (as in...at least twice as often).

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