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Thread: drain for washing machine backing up?

  1. #1
    DIY Member augusta's Avatar
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    Default drain for washing machine backing up?

    Hi:

    I'm trying to help my mom fix an issue with her washing machine. She was telling me that she sees water on the floor after washing clothes. I asked her to keep an eye on it and give me more details. She said today that when the washer is in the drain cycle, she sees the water is coming out of the drain in the wall (like it's stopped up or something). I don't know if this has anything to do with it but she has *seriously* high water pressure in her house (although she's had this washer for 20 years now and hasn't seen this problem until recently).

    Any ideas on what the problem could be?

    With kind regards,


    Additional details:
    it drains to sewer
    nowhere else in the house does she have issues with water backing up
    Last edited by augusta; 11-15-2010 at 05:44 PM. Reason: Additional details

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default drain

    Water pressure has absolutely nothing to do with whether the drain overflows or not. The drain is either too small or obstructed, and since it is an older drain, and the size was adequate previously, obstruction is the most likely cause. Clean the line or have it cleared.

  3. #3
    DIY Member augusta's Avatar
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    I have very little plumbing knowledge, and I'm one to get all the details. Are there 2 lines involved? Is there one that drains and one that goes up through the roof (vent) or does it not work that way? And if the problem were the drain to the sewer, wouldn't she have problems with water backing up elsewhere in the house? Just trying to understand it all.

    With kind regards,
    Last edited by augusta; 11-15-2010 at 05:44 PM.

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    Remodel Contractor GabeS's Avatar
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    If the main sewer line is clogged then water will back up into the lowest fixture.

    If just the line that drains your washer machine is clogged (before it attaches to the main drain) then obviously only that fixture will back up. This seems to be the case. The first thing to do is snake the line and see if that works. Then take it from there.
    Gabe

    Don't follow my advice, I only know a thing or two about a thing or two.

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    DIY Member augusta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GabeS View Post
    If the main sewer line is clogged then water will back up into the lowest fixture.

    If just the line that drains your washer machine is clogged (before it attaches to the main drain) then obviously only that fixture will back up. This seems to be the case. The first thing to do is snake the line and see if that works. Then take it from there.
    Perfect. Thank you. I'll try that.

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Not much to add to what has already been offered. Newer washers empty their water very rapidly and for that reason, they require a 2" drain as opposed to the older machines that need only an 1-1/2" drain. These drain need a P trap and a vent as well. You should deal with the high pressure, but that is a separate issue. The immediate problem is with the drain. You indicate you have little plumbing knowledge, so you may want to seriously consider hiring a plumber to deal with both the drain problem and the high pressure concern.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You have a restriction somewhere, but it might not be in the washing machine pipe. It's just that the washing machine is probably in the basement and pumps water faster than (likely) anything else in the house. You'd be more likely to notice an obstruction when it runs than something that drains slower. Basically, what I'm saying is that the obstruction is probably in the leg for the washing machine, but it could be a long ways down the drain as you could have 40 gallons, and depending on the size of the drain lines, that could be a ways away.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    DIY Member augusta's Avatar
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    Jadnashua:

    Mom's house is on a slab. And if it makes a difference, her home was built in 1967. I make my way out to her house once a week and will try snaking the drain as a previous poster suggested. I'll come back if that did not work.

    With kind regards,
    Last edited by augusta; 11-15-2010 at 05:44 PM.

  9. #9

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    Is the p-trap in the slab or above grade? If it is to close to the inlet it will overflow with the new washers dumping water rapidly.

    JT in NC

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    DIY Member augusta's Avatar
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    Hi JT:

    I will have to check on the p-trap. The plumber who came out last time, cut this gigantic hole in the wall beneath the hot/cold hookups and put in a cabinet door there instead of repairing the drywall (I suppose he planned on making a habit of getting back in to the wall). Maybe I can see something in there but I haven't looked in several years. I'll let you know. Thanks for the reply.

    With kind regards,


    Quote Originally Posted by jdanbury View Post
    Is the p-trap in the slab or above grade? If it is to close to the inlet it will overflow with the new washers dumping water rapidly.

    JT in NC
    Last edited by augusta; 11-15-2010 at 05:44 PM.

  11. #11
    DIY Member augusta's Avatar
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    Tried to help good ol' mom out today. I snaked the line, or at least I tried to. The snake I bought went down to the p-trap but it wouldn't make it's way through the twist in the trap (not that it seemed as though it were clogged, it just wouldn't bend like that). I then got her to wash a load of clothes but I think it's kind of random. Sometimes it will leak (when I'm not there of course) and sometimes it won't. Tonight it didn't overflow.

    I wanted to attach a picture of what's going on inside the wall in case someone can see that there's a problem or two.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
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