View Full Version : Toilets and drains

12-29-2005, 07:18 PM
I have a single 3.5 bath story house with a septic system. Last week, the shower in the master bath did not drain, the toilets would not flush correctly (water slowly drained out of them and paper would slowly be "sucked" down the drain). We also noticed that the clothes being washed had to be put through the spin cycle twice because they were too wet after a single spin cycle. We took some drain cleaner with sulfuric acid and put it in the shower drain. All drains seemed to begin working. We went out of town the next day and did not return until yesterday. This evening, we noticed that the water in the toilet bowls was very low and that we again had to double spin the clothes we were washing. Could the septic tank be full and causing these problems or is there something else that would do this?

Thanks, in advance, for your help!


Mike Swearingen
12-29-2005, 09:40 PM
It could be a problem with a clog in the main drain line or the main vent pipe, or the septic system could be flooded with a frozen tank and/or drainfield, or the ground may be saturated by recent heavy rain. I'm not a pro plumber, just an old DIYer, and here's what I would do.
1. First, open a clean-out on your main drain line, and snake out the main drain line from the house to the septic tank with a borrowed or rented heavy-duty plumber's snake.
2. If that doesn't do it, open the clean-out block on top of your septic tank and check for ice. Hot water down the drain may help thaw it out, or you may have to break up the surface ice in the tank and have it pumped.
3. If that doesn't do it, it may be the vent pipe. Depending upon where you're located, it may be partially clogged with hoar frost, snow and ice, or leaves and debris.
To check out your vent pipe, someone is going to have to go up on the roof of your 3.5-story house to physically check the vent pipe(s). Clean out anything that you see that you can reach by hand, and flush it down with a water hose sprayer. If it's frost, snow and ice, you may try hooking up a series of hoses from the drain cock at the bottom of the nearest water heater. The best permanent solution for that would be to install a larger size vent pipe section in the attic.
Good Luck!

12-30-2005, 04:27 AM
If you have lived in the house for 2-3 years without having the septic tank pumped start there and have it pumped, It needs to be done anyway. Then see if the problem is still there.

12-30-2005, 04:56 PM
He's right. Open the septic and flush toilets and watch the water level in the septic tank. Sewers don't normally clog up unless there is a problem with the septic tank or it's field bed.....