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Thread: Need Help Identifying How To Clear A Section Of 4" Sewer Line In My Basement

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member coollx's Avatar
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    Default Need Help Identifying How To Clear A Section Of 4" Sewer Line In My Basement

    I have a open 4" cast iron floor drain in my basement that a sink 5 feet away empties into through the floor. The floor drain then runs to a stack with a clean-out about 12 feet away that heads out under the floor to the septic system.

    My problem is that the discharge from my water softner when it recycles runs into the sink and the floor drain overflows on the concrete floor. Since there is always about 8-10 inches of standing water in the floor drain and no sewer odor, I assume there's a trap of some sort under the floor at the floor drain. Btw, the drain does not overflow when I just run the water into the sink...only when a large continuous volume is dumped into the sink.

    I'm fairly confident that the overflow is caused by a build up in the pipe running from the floor drain to the stack and I need to have it cleaned to restore proper flow. Everything from the stack to the septic tank drains and flows fine.

    I have a few questions that hopefully someone on this forum can answer for me.

    1. Assuming there's a trap at the drain under the concrete floor can some type of powered snake or drain cleaner be navigated through it and the line to the stack to clean it out?

    2. If not, can some type of powered snake or drain cleaner be fed through the clean-out in the stack directed back toward the floor drain instead?

    3. Is there another way to clean this line from the drain to the stack area?


    I will probably hire a plumber to do the cleaning, unless someone identifies a fairly easy DIY'er method that I can perform, but would like to know in advance the best way as well as possible ways to clean it out.

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2

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    When you look down into your floor drain, the bottom of the drain is the bottom of the trap, it does sound like you have some kind of restriction/partial stoppage. Opening the drain all the way with a mechanical snake is the way to go and it can be done from the floor drain/trap.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member coollx's Avatar
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    Cookie, I'd like to clarify how my drain and trap is shaped to make sure I understand it.

    I used my shop vac and vacuumed all the water out of the open drain in order to take a better look at it.

    Here's what I found:

    * Assuming the inlet to the drain is facing south and the outlet toward the stack is facing north

    - The sink drain that runs under the floor looks to be about a 1 1/2" or 2" pipe and comes in on the south side of the drain and is about 8" from the bottom. The bottom of this pipe is about level with the top of the static water level in the drain
    - The outlet of the drain is a larger pipe and faces north and flows in the direction of the stack with the clean-out and is about 4" to 6" or so from the bottom. The inlet and outlet are both at 90 degrees to the open drain

    Based on the above description I have a few questions:

    1. Does the relationship of the inlet and outlet in the drain actually form the trap so the standing water acts as a seal?

    2. Can I assume the north facing outlet in the drain is a straight shot to the stack area? Or are there additional curves or turns along the route to the stack area?

    3. Will a mechanical snake have any problem making the 90 degree turn down the drain to the outlet in order to clean that line?

    Thank you

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by coollx View Post
    Cookie, I'd like to clarify how my drain and trap is shaped to make sure I understand it.

    I used my shop vac and vacuumed all the water out of the open drain in order to take a better look at it.

    Here's what I found:

    * Assuming the inlet to the drain is facing south and the outlet toward the stack is facing north

    - The sink drain that runs under the floor looks to be about a 1 1/2" or 2" pipe and comes in on the south side of the drain and is about 8" from the bottom. The bottom of this pipe is about level with the top of the static water level in the drain
    - The outlet of the drain is a larger pipe and faces north and flows in the direction of the stack with the clean-out and is about 4" to 6" or so from the bottom. The inlet and outlet are both at 90 degrees to the open drain

    Based on the above description I have a few questions:

    1. Does the relationship of the inlet and outlet in the drain actually form the trap so the standing water acts as a seal?

    2. Can I assume the north facing outlet in the drain is a straight shot to the stack area? Or are there additional curves or turns along the route to the stack area?

    3. Will a mechanical snake have any problem making the 90 degree turn down the drain to the outlet in order to clean that line?

    Thank you

    You're welcome. I was going to answer the rest but, maybe, someone else will answer for you.

  5. #5

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    Answer to question one is: Yes.
    Answer to question two is: Yes, you can assume it, but, you know what assuming does, while likely it is, without xray vision & seeing how your basement is plumbed then, it is impossible to know for sure.
    Answer to question three: Not if the correct one is used.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member coollx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
    Answer to question one is: Yes.
    Answer to question two is: Yes, you can assume it, but, you know what assuming does, while likely it is, without xray vision & seeing how your basement is plumbed then, it is impossible to know for sure.
    Answer to question three: Not if the correct one is used.

    Hope this helps.
    Cookie,

    Thank you for your prompt and detailed response. It is very helpful. Now I just need to decide whether to rent a mechanical snake (have never used one) and try it myself or hire a plumber.

    Coollx

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