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Thread: Floor drain backup from washer

  1. #1

    Exclamation Floor drain backup from washer

    I know this issue has been addressed on other threads, but I can't seem to find a resolution.
    I have been in my house about 18months - it is about 70 years old, but in good shape. Recently, I started seeing a ring of wet carpet in my semi-finished basement (i.e. previous owners put down thin carpet on concrete foundation) around a floor drain. The ring appears and gets worse whenever the washer is run, and I think when the tub drains from a shower.
    Also, the tub and sink on the second floor bath drain very slowly.
    When the washer drains, I can hear gurgling sounds coming from the floor drain, water backs up into the utility sink, and then eventually water starts coming out of the floor drain. I do have a washer standpipe that I installed shortly after I moved in.
    This started happening about 6 weeks ago - I called roto rooter about 3 weeks ago, they cleaned out the main line with the power auger, and all was good for about 10 days. Now it's back in full force. They won't come back for free because I have a garbage disposer (which apparently voids their guarantee), but they will clean it out again for about half price. The first time they didn't find any tree roots or anything like that, but it seemed to work...now that it's back, I wonder if either a) it wasn't a full cleanout the first time (and the small hole that was formed just reclogged or b) there is some other problem than a blockage in the main line (vent issue?).

    For reference, the cleanout where roto rooter cleaned out the main stack is the same stack the washer and utility sink drain into.

    Thank you for any help or recommendations you can give.

  2. #2
    DIY Member Bosun's Avatar
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    Default Sewer collapse in yard?

    Did Roto use a camera? It is possibly a partially collapsed sewer line, which will drain to the surrounding soil except when you have large volumes of water going down the line.

  3. #3
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Snaking it from the floor drain is the best idea.
    In all honesty though, this is a symptom of a broken line underground. Cleaning will remove blockage then sediment falls back in from waster water mingling with surrounding dirt.
    You might get someone to camera the line to at least assess where the break is, if there is a break.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  4. #4

    Default Thank you!

    Thanks to you two so far...even though I already don't like where you're going.
    So after peeling up the carpet that covers the floor drain this afternoon, then coming home to a house that smells like sewage, I have two more questions:
    First, does the sewage smell mean anything other than dirty water is going the wrong direction?
    Second, wouldn't roto rooter be able to tell if it was a collapsed drain line? Or maybe if the drain line is disintegrated as mentioned they wouldn't...but if it was truly collapsed, wouldn't they hit an impenetrable "clog"?

    Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sra_shebfalls
    Thanks to you two so far...even though I already don't like where you're going.
    So after peeling up the carpet that covers the floor drain this afternoon, then coming home to a house that smells like sewage, I have two more questions:
    First, does the sewage smell mean anything other than dirty water is going the wrong direction?
    Second, wouldn't roto rooter be able to tell if it was a collapsed drain line? Or maybe if the drain line is disintegrated as mentioned they wouldn't...but if it was truly collapsed, wouldn't they hit an impenetrable "clog"?

    Thanks again!
    They did a bad job and know it. Was the clean out full sized? 4" drain 4" clean out? If so did they put in a 4" blade or did they use a 2" blade. If they come out again they will press you to video the drain for a price and or press you to dig it up. I would bet they did a bad job and if you call there competition they will show up with a video camera and cable the drain and video it for free (the other big Rooter). Always stand over these companies but back far enough not to get sewer splash on you, but when they are putting the blades on LOOK to see what is up. If they use a small blade make sure they use a larger one after. A 4" blade will be snug going into the clean out.
    They should be in your house for 2 hours or more. Do not let them bully you.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

  6. #6
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Patrick,
    I had a job that this one reminds me of.
    Lady in Framingham had a bad drain, plus a sewage smell, drain cleaners couldn't get through the clog.
    I had a suspicion so I went upstairs, diluted white caulking into water in her KS basin, pulled the plug.
    Sump about 3 feet from where the KS's 2" drain went through the slab - water started turning white after a few minutes.
    Her CI drain had literally melted under the slab, the bottom was blossomed from years of draino and the drain was completely packed with dirt/sediment.
    The sink has been draining into the sump for probably years.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  7. #7
    DIY Member Bosun's Avatar
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    Default Bad job.

    I echo the bad job complaint. A lot of these guys will do the minimum and run with your money. They can often restore "water flow" by using a small blade. This won't really open the clog. sometimes the blade will run in the soil outside the line.

  8. #8
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    If RR did the drain they guaranty the work for 6 months as far as I know, at least here in Cincinnati.

    It may be that different markets have different guaranty's, I'm not sure.

    They normally will come back, run the line and camera it to see what the problem is hoping you will hire them to do the work.

    Having a garbage disposal has nothing to do with a clog in a main line like that, that is a cop out, and not a valid one. try calling RR corporate.

    Also tell them your complaint is on a nation wide forum with possibly 10s of thousands of visitors a day and give them the URL. It might help, what area of the country are you in?

  9. #9

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    I was not there when it was done - I guess that was my first mistake. I'm guessing I could get them to come back and reclean it for free, this time with me there, and I'll probably try that angle again. I will definitely contact RR coporate and let them know my experience if they won't come back for the garbage disposal reason. From what I heard, the guy commented on the house having "a small pipe", but that's all I really know because I wasn't there.
    We did talk to a neighbor who has had the collapsed drain line problem already though, so that doesn't seem out of line.
    So recommendations on what to try first? Should I try and get a discount on the camera service at RR (currently $125)? Go to the other Rooter and see if they'll come for free as suggested by Patrick? Or should I go to a plumber in the area and have them video the line/clean it out (video is $175 for the first hour)?

  10. #10
    DIY Member Bosun's Avatar
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    Default Don't spend all that money!

    Get a free camera. RR should come with a camera for free. Then you can hire an independent for digging up your front yard. Nothing is worse than paying someone to ruin your front yard.

  11. #11
    DIY Member hammerslammer's Avatar
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    I'm not a plumber but did they snake the 2"?? I've torn up enough old slabs and alwys find the 2" goobered with the same slimmy greasy mess and that crap does not seem to ever collect in the 4".

  12. #12
    Plumber patrick88's Avatar
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    Go to the other Rooter and see if they'll come for free as suggested by Patrick? Or should I go to a plumber in the area and have them video the line/clean it out (video is $175 for the first hour)?
    they will cable the line for a charge and video it for free. Sorry for the confusion.

    I dont know what the
    the guy commented on the house having "a small pipe", but that's all I really know because I wasn't there.
    could be some houses have a 3" main, but most 4" if the guy is any good he would know that and not try to use it as some reason not to do something or give it a better warranty. The desposer sludge should not build up in the main, so there is no reason that should ever be brought up
    Last edited by patrick88; 09-18-2007 at 02:26 PM.
    I'm just starting to work with an old friend of mine to bring solar electric and hot water systems, wind turbines, Flex Fuel Boilers, batteries, hydroponic gardening, books, pellet grills and more. Also the parts for DIY installation.

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