View Full Version : Bathtub leaking under house

10-15-2009, 02:33 PM
Hello, everyone. I've been trying to fix a leak with my tub for the past week but to no avail. I happened upon these forums and figured I'd give them a shot, so I hope I'm posting this in the right section.

My house is an older single story with a crawl space (crawl space about 2' open area underneath). Apparently, my bathtub has been dumping all of the water out under the house and might have been doing so for months. A guy from Terminex was spraying for bugs and informed me of the problem.

I went under the house and got someone to run the bath and sink water as well as flush the toilet- the sink and toilet are not visibly leaking. I'm not familiar with the appropriate plumbing terms so I'll try to describe what I saw the best I can. There are 2 PVC pipes: the one attached to the drain runs into the one attached to the overflow drain. The PVC then runs down under the house a couple of inches and connects to a metal pipe. The metal pipe then continues down to about 1' off the ground, forms a "U" shape then goes lateral down the house.

However, down about 6 inches from where the PVC from the tub connects to the metal pipe is another metal pipe that sticks out to the side about 8 inches and curves up. The water is gushing out of this pipe. I laid under the house and tried to listen to what happen when you drained the tub. It sounds like to me that the water runs past this side pipe, maybe hits a clog or something, and then the water gets backed-up and starts flowing out of this side pipe. I actually have photos of what this looks like, but I'm not sure how to upload them or even if it's allowed.

I went out and bought a plumber's snake and ran it through the overflow drain; it goes down about 3' and seems to hit the bottom of a pipe. I don't know if it goes down to the very bottom (where the main metal pipe makes a "U") or if it's getting caught on something. Either way, it doesn't go past this point, and when I bring it up, it comes up clean without any hair residue, etc, so I don't think it's hitting a clog. I then, against my better judgment, bought some Liquid Plumber and poured down the drain, but it didn't work.

My ideas are all out but maybe I'm overlooking something. Money's tight so calling the plumber is my last option. Like I said, I'm no plumbing wiz so maybe someone on here can help me. Thanks for any help!

10-15-2009, 09:20 PM
Thanks for the fast responses. I've attached 3 photos that should help; hopefully, I shrunk them down to 800 pixels and they load correctly:

Pic1 is a photo taken from a couple of feet away. This one actually shows the water flowing out of that "side pipe."

Pic2 is a closer photo will a better view of the tub pipes. The PVC pipe that goes to the right is the one connected to the tub drain. That metal pipe that goes to the left is the one where the water is flowing out.

Pic3 is just a closer, hopefully better, view of the pipes coming down from the tub.

The drainage pipes are old (originals from when the house was built), but all the cold/hot water pipes (the red ones) were just installed a couple of years ago. I have a well/septic tank if that matters at all. I don't see any leaking, no matter how small, from any other drainage pipes, and these pipes aren't "leaking" as such; the only problem I can see is what Pic1 is showing, which is the water gushing out of that side left pipe.

Once again, thanks for the help.

10-15-2009, 10:23 PM
The extra pipe looks like an old waste & overflow ( same type of piece as the PVC). It should have been removed when somebody remodeled. Instead they just stuck the PVC wast & overflow in the top of it. That extra piece should be removed and capped off. Then, if it doesn't drain you'll know you do have a clog as well.

10-15-2009, 10:25 PM
If it were my job, I would cut off the p-trap and run new plastic p-trap and pipe up to the existing PVC.

10-16-2009, 07:03 AM
Some Dork must have needed a longer piece of pipe and decided to use parts from an old tub drain as an extension. I am not sure how much should be changed, but that piece should definitely be removed. You have a drain stoppage and probably need a plumber with a "good" snake, not a HD $9.95 special, to clear it.

10-16-2009, 09:46 AM
Isn't the fall to the P-trap a bit excessive? And, where's the vent?

10-16-2009, 07:47 PM
It sounds like the recommendation is to call a plumber. I'd be too scared to try and replace the p-trap myself. Thanks for the recommendations and replying so quickly.

10-17-2009, 05:57 AM
The sub floor is rotted out and if you have the $$$ I would consider pulling the tub and repair the floor and install a new tub, surround and drain lines...go for it if you can...

BTW this has been going on for years not months....I'm not sure when you bought the home but if it was anytime reciently and it was inspected the home inspector should be on the hook for the repairs for not doing his job...Gota love the E&O policys they carry...

I guess the brass shoe was acting as a vent but when the drain clogged it became an outlet...:D