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Thread: Toilet Gurgles in Apartment Complex

  1. #31
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Mikey, you said it well............

  2. #32
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Default I'm honored...

    I get the impression the plumber that disassembled things was there when things were working OK. Everything point to clogs that form, screw things up for a while, then clear themselves. Given the number of fixtures and the wild turns, and the likely buildup of cat litter (the new clumping litter looks like a good thing to use to plug holes in leaking dikes), I'm leaning again toward my initial advice... .

  3. #33
    DIY Senior Member Mike50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey
    {.....} and the likely buildup of cat litter (the new clumping litter looks like a good thing to use to plug holes in leaking dikes), I'm leaning again toward my initial advice... .
    Truth in humor Mikey. Clumping cat litter is Bentonite Clay.
    And it is in fact used as a waterproofing sealant. See below:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bentonite

    "The property of swelling also makes sodium bentonite useful as a sealant, especially targeted for the sealing of subsurface disposal systems for spent nuclear fuel [1] [2] and for quarantining metal pollutants of groundwater. Similar uses include making slurry walls, waterproofing of below grade walls and forming other impermeable barriers (e.g. to plug old wells or as a liner in the base of landfills to prevent migration of leachate into the soil)."

    Especially, If you have an expensive new plumbing system-you would have to be out of your mind to flush this stuff.


    Mike
    Last edited by Mike50; 11-10-2006 at 10:27 AM.

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey
    ...and suggest that once in a while (I get the impression that this problem only occurs once in a while) a pretty good clog forms at the U-turn that plumber1 and I don't like. When that happens, the pipe backs up slowly as waste accumulates. When the toilets upstair flush, their waste encounters a closed pipe and as they fill up that pipe, the air in the pipe compresses and your toilet gurgles. Once things settle down, your trap drains slightly, lowering the water level. The clog can either clear itself or not -- the more pressure behind it, the more likely it will clear. If it does not, more and more waste will accumulate in the pipe, and will eventually overflow your toilet, which looks to be the lowest-level exit in this system. If this scenario is anywhere near accurate, it implies a lousy or nonexistent vent system, and a real need to straighten out that tangled web of pipe. There may be a Code provision in San Francisco that allows no vents if everything drains into a truly huge main line, but the route all that sewage is taking to get to that huge pipe invites clogs. I can't believe it would pass inspection.
    It really sounds like you hit the nail on the head. I have not had any gurgling since they came out to open things up. (fingers crossed)
    However, it was not once in a while. The thing gurgled at least 2 or 3 times a week for as long as we have lived here, about 2 years.
    Who would I contact to check to see if the venting is up to code?
    I have looked at those pipes underneath for about a week now and I keep thinking what your saying. Why not take a direct course to the main line? The extra twists and turns will only cause problems.
    How big of and undertaking would it be to correct that?
    Oh, its San Jose CA not San Francisco. I'm not sure if that matters or not just thought I would mantion it.

  5. #35
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydo
    It really sounds like you hit the nail on the head. I have not had any gurgling since they came out to open things up. (fingers crossed)
    When they "opened things up", did they actually find any clogs or crud in there that they cleaned out?
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydo
    However, it was not once in a while. The thing gurgled at least 2 or 3 times a week for as long as we have lived here, about 2 years.
    I would believe that. With the fall of the upstairs lines and (I'm still assuming) no vents, you might see gurgling with minor clogs which might clear themselves regularly. If they occasionally don't clear themselves, then you'd see backups and overflows.
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydo
    Who would I contact to check to see if the venting is up to code?
    I would call the local building department people and ask for an inspector to come out. You might have to pay for this, but on the initial call, tell them the situation, and that the conformance to Code has been questioned, and you'd like an opinion from the horse's mouth.
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydo
    I have looked at those pipes underneath for about a week now and I keep thinking what your saying. Why not take a direct course to the main line? The extra twists and turns will only cause problems.
    How big of and undertaking would it be to correct that?
    You'd have to get a quote from a plumbing contractor for that. It would depend of whether there's a clear path for the rerouted pipes or not, among other things. I'm a little surprised the plumber that was there didn't comment on crazy routing of your pipes, so maybe there's something I'm leery of that's OK in your area.
    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydo
    Oh, its San Jose CA not San Francisco. I'm not sure if that matters or not just thought I would mantion it.
    Probably better, in that it's a smaller area and the Building Official might be more inclined to help a resident than in a large city. If you know anyone on the city council or whatever they call it there you might get some leverage through him or her.

    Good luck...
    Last edited by Mikey; 11-10-2006 at 01:46 PM.

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