Floor drain check valve's rubber cone fell into drain.

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Montreal

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Good day. My basement has a floor drain check valve inserted in a 3" ABS drain pipe/P-trap. I had to temporary remove this valve so that I could drain my hot water heater quickly. I also filled my bathtub upstairs so that I would have a reserve of water while my house supply line was shut off.

After completing my hot water heater installation, I let the bathtub drain without re-installing the basement floor drain check valve. I immediately had water backing up onto the basement floor, so I grabbed the check valve and slipped it into the floor drain. This didn't help, so I ran upstairs and stopped the bathtub from draining further.


After the water on the basement floor disappeared, I noticed that the rubber cone in the check valve had become detached and disappeared past the P-trap. I tried sucking the water in the trap with a shopvac, but no rubber cone came out.

I had a spare check valve (see photo) so I installed it and re-filled the bathtub again and when I drained the bathtub at full flow, there was no backup in the basement floor drain. So I assume that whatever caused the original backup onto the basement floor is no longer there.

However, that rubber cone is either sitting in the 3" branch drain line under the basement floor or has entered the main 4" sanitary sewer line leading to the street. I have a cleanout access to the 4" line leading to the street.

The rubber cone has a diameter of 1-7/8" and a height of 1-1/2", so no matter how it is oriented it should pass easily in a drain pipe of 3" or more.

In the perfect world, using a snake down the floor drain, I should be able to push the rubber cone through to the 3" branch line. Then I should be able to flush it to the street.

However, if there is sediment in the drain pipes along the way, the rubber cone might get stuck there.

If the rubber cone is currently sitting somewhere in the 3" branch line, it would probably have no effect on a minor basement leak from an overflowing washing machine, but it might impede evacuation following a major pipe burst. But then again, I already know that this check valve has a limited capacity to handle a garden hose draining a hot water heater.

Thanks for any suggestions?

floor drain check valve.JPG
 

Jeff H Young

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some where you have a back up as draining tub won't come out a floor drain if its plumbed right in good condition address that.
push that rubber as far as you can all the way to street or take chances
 

Montreal

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some where you have a back up as draining tub wont come out a floor drain if its plumbed right in good condition address that.
push that rubber as far as you can all the way to street or take chances
I agree that a first floor bathtub draining should not come out of the basement floor drain. Let's assume that the house is plumbed correctly. I only take showers so my drain system is not used to a full bathtub loading the drain pipes. There may have been a temporary blockage that caused the backup today, but is no longer there. Before I push the rubber cone to the street I may need to check out the health of my main sewer drain exiting the house. Thanks for your comment.
 

Tuttles Revenge

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I would have someone camera and possibly Jet it down the drain. You know its there now and you know there is a high likelihood that it will get stuck. Do it before it becomes an emergency call at 9pm.
 

Montreal

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I would have someone camera and possibly Jet it down the drain. You know its there now and you know there is a high likelihood that it will get stuck. Do it before it becomes an emergency call at 9pm.
Good recommendation, one I will follow if my attempts to retrieve the rubber cone fail.
 

Jeff H Young

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yep push it down and as tuttles said camera . I'd agree to that especially if you've never seen inside you learn a lot that way about the condition.
Personally like on my home its 22 years old no trees never a back up , I'd chance it with my jetter which is not a promodel its a gas powered pressure washer. but a 60 year old home or one in doubt its worth a one time inspection.
and since your time is free the shop vac with a hose possibly could retrieve . I've pulled a piece of 1 1/2" pipe that was inside a 3 inch main stuck at a 90 without breaking slab. took me all day but ripping up hardwood and jackhammering floor saved our company some money as it was our fault. so little tricks sometimes fail and sometimes work
 

Montreal

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yep push it down and as tuttles said camera . I'd agree to that especially if you've never seen inside you learn a lot that way about the condition.
Personally like on my home its 22 years old no trees never a back up , I'd chance it with my jetter which is not a promodel its a gas powered pressure washer. but a 60 year old home or one in doubt its worth a one time inspection.
and since your time is free the shop vac with a hose possibly could retrieve . I've pulled a piece of 1 1/2" pipe that was inside a 3 inch main stuck at a 90 without breaking slab. took me all day but ripping up hardwood and jackhammering floor saved our company some money as it was our fault. so little tricks sometimes fail and sometimes work
After sucking all the water out of the P-trap with my shopvac (it stayed dry after that), I got out my 1 H.P., 700 cfm workshop dust collecting vacuum and placed the end of its 4" dia. vacuum hose directly over the floor drain flange. The suction would have created so much air flow that the rubber cone, which weighs only a half an ounce, would have been sucked out.

Unfortunately nothing came out, which is not surprising since the 3" dia. branch is only 7 feet away from where it connects to the 4" dia. main drain line.

My guess is that the rubber cone made its way into the main drain and probably got pushed to the street thanks to the toilet being flushed from time to time.

Tonight I filled the bathtub to its overflow height and pulled the stopper. I didn't get any backup in the basement floor drain that spilled onto the cement floor, but there was enough resistance in the main drain line under the lawn that the P-trap of the floor drain got refilled on its own.

So in the end I have 40 gallons of water in my bathtub flowing into a 1-1/2" P-trap, then into a 3" dia. vertical stack that drops 8 feet and connects to a 4" horizontal main drain under the basement slab, which travels 30 feet towards the front of the house, followed by another 50 feet under the lawn to the street.

To explain how the floor drain's P-trap got refilled by itself, one has to assume that water draining from the bathtub wasn't flowing as easily under my front lawn as it was flowing under the basement slab.

After 43 years of use, it's time to clean the main drain under the lawn.

Thanks again to all who posted comments to this thread.
 
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