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Thread: Basement bath backing up, have not located clog. Amateurs request advice.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member AdaBee's Avatar
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    Question Basement bath backing up, have not located clog. Amateurs request advice.

    We have a split level with 4 different levels. The problem is in the basement bathroom, on the lowest level. The kitchen is almost directly above that, on the main level. On the opposite side of the house there are 2 bathrooms on the highest level and a bathroom & laundry room on the level below that. We have no drainage problems on that side of the house.

    There is a recurring problem of the toilet, sink and shower in that basement bathroom backing up. When the sink or shower are used, the water will rise and then very slowly drain back down. We cannot use the toilet in this bathroom or it will force water up into the shower as it drains. Today when the toilet was flushed, it simply filled all the way up to the top of the bowl, then very slowly drained, leaving a very small amount of water in the bowl. At times, food from the kitchen sink/garbage disposal upstairs comes up the shower and sink when the water rises. We have stopped using the garbage disposal and washing food down the kitchen sink in order to minimize this problem. If we fill the kitchen sink full up and then drain it all at once, it will force water (and any food that has gone down the drain) up the shower and sink in the basement bath. In retrospect, this toilet seemed to clog very easily from the time the house was built 16 yrs ago.

    A kind plumber acquaintance came and snaked out the main drain line all the way to the street. He did not find a clog there. He did determine that our lowest level drains by gravity out to the sewer line at the street and there is no lift pump involved. He felt that the problem was not in that particular line.

    There are probably no tree roots involved; there are no trees in the area of the drain line.

    We do not have any experience with plumbing and are on a very tight budget. We would be most grateful for any help. Possible ideas to try ourselves? Or how to find a plumber? Thank you so much!

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    You need a real plumber who has the kind of auger that will properly clear the drain. Most DIY snakes are too puny to clear clogs. The usually just punch a hole through without clearing them. Don't waste time or money on chemicals, they not only don't work they will create a hazard for the plumber who ends up doing the job. Your toilet problem may the due to a cheapo builders grade toilet and might not be related to the drain clogging issue.

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    DIY Junior Member AdaBee's Avatar
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    Thank you, Gary! Very helpful. Ok, so may very well be 2 problems then, a clog and a cheapo toilet (that part would not be surprising at all). Would the plumber need to clean out multiple places and not just the main cleanout? Thank you very much for your time!

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I can't answer your question. A professional plumber would know the answer when I sees what he has to work on. I would avoid calling services with Rooter or Roto in their name. Some are good, many are not.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If water is backing up in ANY drain, you have a stoppage or partial stoppage in THAT line. It is the one that has to be snaked. Snaking any other lines, because they are "easier" is like the drunk searching around under a street light. When asked what he was looking for he said, "I dropped my billfold and I am trying to find it." After helping look for it for a while, you ask him, "Are you sure you dropped it here?", and he says, "Of course not. I dropped it over there in the parking lot." When you ask him, "Then why are we looking here?", he says, "Because there is more light here."

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    Master Plumber-Gas Fitter shacko's Avatar
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    You may have more then one stoppage, I would start with the lower toilet after removing it and see if you can hit the clog from there; after taking the toilet up you can dump water in it and see if it goes down fast, if not you are getting close to the clog, luck.

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