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Thread: Plumbing issue in newly remodeled bathroom

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member SabrinaFlorida's Avatar
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    Default Plumbing issue in newly remodeled bathroom

    Our house was built in 1970, and we just finished having one of our bathrooms remodeled. We went ahead and had half of our house replumbed (the half that has 2 bathrooms including the remodeled one).

    When we flush the toilet in our newly remodeled bathroom, we can hear the water gurgle in the bathroom sink pipe, and we can see the residual water around the sink drain percolate a tiny bit. If we flush the toilet several times in a row (which we did after first noticing the gurgling and percolating), there seems to be some kind of pressure equalization and the sink no longer gurgles/percolates with flushing.

    Is this a problem? I am concerned that sewage might be backing up in the sink drainage pipe. Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions you might have.
    Last edited by SabrinaFlorida; 08-06-2010 at 03:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have improper venting.

    Is it a problem? Yes. You'll have slow drainage and you could siphon the trap dry on the sink and have sewer gas smells entering your house.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You are describing a partially blocked sewer line along with improper venting, (possible with an air admittance valve). It will stop gurgling when the pipe is full of water, the toilet should also stop working shortly after that if it is flushed a few more times.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member SabrinaFlorida's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. This in NOT good news. We will be talking to our contractor on Monday. Anything else you can think of that I should tell him? Thanks.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    A good contractor should just have to hear the symptoms and he would take it from there, without you diagnosing the problem for him. In fact, I might not even want to hear what you THINK is the reason for the problem, since it could divert me from the real cause of it.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member SabrinaFlorida's Avatar
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    hj, excellent points. We will just tell our contractor the symptoms and let him figure out what's wrong.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity, did the contractor pull a permit and was it inspected? If so, did it include the plumbing (might have only gotten a permit for say electrical and framing)?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member SabrinaFlorida's Avatar
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    Jim, the contractor did pull permits and our completed bathroom has passed inspections. My husband and I did not look at the permits--they were hanging in our carport while the work was being done, but now that the job is done, they are gone.So I don't know exactly what the permits were for.

  9. #9
    DIY Junior Member SabrinaFlorida's Avatar
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    More info--after reading the responses above, I went into the bathroom and repeatedly flushed the toilet for about 20 minutes, letting the tank refill after each flush. When the water stopped gurgling/percolating in the sink drain, it then began gurgling in the shower drain.I have a very sensitive nose, and I did not smell any sewer gases, but now (2 hours later), I definitely smell sewer gases.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member rusak's Avatar
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    Like hj said sounds that it has to do with improper venting, and AAV.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member DavidTu's Avatar
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    So HJ and/or Rusak, what indicates that there is an AAV involved here? Are you guys saying AAVs are not reliable or just cannot/should not be used with a WC? Or?? Thanks.

  12. #12
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    sabrinaflorida, sewer gases are serious, far more serious than a nuisance that stinks.

    You and DH can start drawing stick diagrams to show your pipes in the walls both venting and draining. This will help you get a handle on what you have. Based on what you wrote I wouldn't put much faith in the GC or in his plumber, so be cautious. With a diagram you might get more insight for yourselves, and more help if you can post your diagram.

    If you mention the possibility of a partial blockage before you know what pipes you have in the walls _and_ you are really certain that they are sufficient for venting (and draining), you give the GC a way to get himself off the hook before he even bothers to show you where your pipes are. So, keep that one to yourselves and try to diagnose things with your GC and plumber being the ones to provide information.

    Venting pipes means letting air move either way depending on where the drain water is, and how much it is. Water flowing in a pipe displaces air of equal volume, and new water being added into the drain pipes has to force air out of the way, in order to let the water flow downhill fast enough to carry waste downhill. An AAV is only a possible complication. hj said "...(possible with an air admittance valve)" and rusak repeated this or probably tried to, not trying to make it sound that an AAV was a certainty.

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member SabrinaFlorida's Avatar
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    geniescience, thanks for being willing to look at the plumbing set up. Most of the piping is not in the walls as our living space is elevated with utility rooms underneath. Here are three links to photos of the plumbing in Photobucket. The wood you see is the subfloor to the bathroom. Obviously, the photos are taken from underneath the subfloor from the vantage point of the utility room below the bathroom. The drainage pipe on the far left is coming from the shower, the one in the middle is coming from the toilet, and the one on the right is coming from the sink.Presumably somewhere in there is the venting, but I can't point it out to you.

    http://i946.photobucket.com/albums/a...a/P1000470.jpg

    http://i946.photobucket.com/albums/a...a/P1000471.jpg

    http://i946.photobucket.com/albums/a...a/P1000468.jpg

    One more piece of information (not sure how pertinent this is): even when I just run water in the sink, I can hear it gurgling in the shower drain.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Last edited by Terry; 08-10-2010 at 07:42 PM. Reason: Add better photo, more info

  14. #14
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Now is a good time to learn that venting is not shown in these photos taken underneath your bathroom.
    Venting is provided by the pipes that are higher than the bathroom sink drain.
    You have a pipe coming out of your roof.
    It perforates your roof at approx. a point directly above the bathroom sink drain pipe wall.
    Go and see.

    sabrinaflorida, did I miss something: it appears that these 3 drains are not connected to any others.
    But you did say something about having the house remodeled extensively.
    But these pictures show an old part of the house.
    I don't get it.
    People need to know.

    The photos show a part of the whole system.
    People need to know what else you have. In terms of pipes. Everywhere.
    Without the whole picture, it is only possible to conjecture and hypothesize, but it is useless.


    Master plumbers may show you how it's possible to rebuild this so the vented pipe comes in at the highest point.


    The 2nd photo shows the slope of the bathroom drain since the picture was taken head on.
    Since the shower drain is so long, its slope becomes a critical and important thing to measure.

    The 1st and 3rd photos show exactly the same thing.

  15. #15
    DIY Junior Member SabrinaFlorida's Avatar
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    geniescience, I'm at work now so can't take anymore photos at the moment. I understand you are saying that venting would not show from underneath, because the venting should be to the roof.

    I don't know what you mean by "Master plumbers may show you how it's possible to rebuild this so the vented pipe comes in at the highest point." I'm not particularly knowledgable regarding plumbing, so please dumb this down for me. :-)

    Re: the photos, you are seeing the subfloor which is not part of the remodel. The contractor thought the subfloor was fine and did not need to be replaced (it had gotten wet from an old leak but was not rotten). Everything else (besides the subfloor) in the bathroom is new.

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