Clean water backing up after shower

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brian.depasquale

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I am a new homeowner with a small leak/backup problem. Not sure which.

Shower on second floor, washing machine in basement. Observed small amounts of water on basement floor (less then 8 fl oz) two successive days, but did not observe why. Not sure if foundation leaking (although has not been rainy). Showered this morning, and trip to basement soon after showed new water on the basement floor (2 floors down) near washing machine. Signs of water on washing machine discharge line, although machine was not run. No signs of leaking on first floor, no signs of leaking on second floor (where bathroom is).

I'm wondering if when shower is run, if water is backing up from main line and discharging from lowest source (washing machine line). Discharged water was not smelly in any way. When washing machine or dishwasher was recently run, there was no discharge from washing machine line. So a bit mysterious.

House has 1000-gallon septic. Previous owner reported septic pumping about 1.5 years ago. Previously occupied by a single resident, and currently occupied by a single resident. House was unoccupied for about 6 months, so system has not been heavily used since pumping.

Thanks for any insight.
 

Reach4

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I think you are implying there is no floor drain or laundry sink in the basement, so the standpipe top is the lowest known place for overflow.

So either you have a clogged drain line, or the former resident lost track of time. It is much cheaper to get a septic tank pumped early than late.

I would expect normally pumping every 7 years would be enough. But you might want to get that done anyway.
 

brian.depasquale

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A million thanks for your replies.

@Reach4 -- yes, standpipe is the lowest known place for overflow. 1.5 year ago pumping was documented, so accurate. Clogged drain line may be the culprit. (See below).

@Jeff Young I ran the shower for about 20 mins, water flowed out of line steady (no overflow). After some time, gurgling sounds started from washing machine line (but no overflow). Turned off shower. Gurgling weakened in strength. Then, ran kitchen sink (one floor above). Gurgling increased. Turned off sink. Turned shower back on to attempt to trigger overflow, gurgling increased....

BUT, then something happened. Was standing next to drain pipe, and sounded like something gave, water started flowing freely, audibly flowing from washing machine line, and gurgling stopped. Ran shower for 30 more minutes and no more gurgling.

SO. I wonder if there was a clog in the bathroom drain line that was causing slow flow along that line, and thus backing up along the washing machine line. And then it finally gave.

If this generally seems reasonable, any further advice much appreciated.

Also, if above seems reasonable, and given that earlier reported overflow did not smell, wondering what this means for septic, and/or was there sewage backup, or just between drain lines but before entering septic.

Attached is photo of lines. Leftmost is bathroom, center is kitchen, right is washing machine.
 

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Reach4

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So there is either a clog in the horizontal piping in your photo, or the septic tank is running slow. Is that a cleanout on the left? You could open a cleanout and look in. You could run the kitchen sink water and see if there is any backup to the open cleanout. Have a bucket under there.

Getting the septic pumped might cost $300. An experienced pumper can give you some info, such as if this was pumped 1.5 years ago, how long should it be until the next pumping.
 
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