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Household plumbing/sewer issues

 
 
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2014 04:21 pm
A description of the plumbing in our single story house in Albuquerque:

Front to back of house:

Bathroom 1 - toilet, bathtub/shower, sink
Laundry room - washing machine
Garage - water heater
Kitchen - sink, dishwasher, ice maker
Roof - swamp cooler
Bathroom 2 - sink, toilet, stand alone tub, stand alone shower
Two outside garden faucets

Symptoms:

Yesterday, while the dishwasher was running, the toilet in bathroom 1 started gurgling air bubbles and losing water level in the bowl.

About an hour later while the washing machine was in the spin cycle and draining water, the kitchen sink started making the same gurgling noises.

A few minutes later, the toilet in bathroom 2 was flushed and it overflowed, then lost all water in the bowl then started filling up with sewage as the washing machine continued the rinse and spin cycle.

Our neighbor/handyman came over and I described the situation. He used a plunger on the toilet in bathroom 2 and that cleared that up, but then sewage started coming up through the drain in the stand alone shower. He used the plunger on the shower drain and that seemed to clear everything.

He then went outside to the sewer pipes in the front of the house and ran water through them to check for clogs in the drainage from the house to the street. Everything drained as expected and there hasn't been anymore gurgling from the plumbing so far.


Questions:

1. Why would a drain clog at one end of the house cause gurgling air bubbles in drains at other ends of the house? Bathroom 2 is the furthest from the street, the other drains are between bathroom 2 and the street.

2. Was the problem really resolved, or is this a symptom of a whole-house sewer drain problem caused by things such as tree roots?
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Type: Question • Score: 8 • Views: 1,706 • Replies: 7
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2014 04:30 pm
@Butrflynet,
It's only a guess, but it sounds like a partial clog within the house, and fairly close to the external sewer line.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2014 04:34 pm
I'd consider the tree as a possibility, but I'm no plumber - if I remember, it's a Gleditzia triacanthos (honey locust) and the first place I looked that up in said surface roots can heave sidewalks.

Just looked in my Sunset Western Garden and it said some of the older ones can do that. Hmmm.

Good luck, hope it's already solved.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2014 06:37 pm
@ossobuco,
Oh - if it turns out to be the tree, instead of some probably more likely other kind of clog, perhaps an arborist could root prune it.
0 Replies
 
FrancisKroeger
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 9 Oct, 2014 06:38 am
@ossobuco,
Thanks for sharing it here, I was also facing the same problem of sewer issue.
0 Replies
 
Woodworker766
 
  2  
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2014 07:35 am
@Butrflynet,
Quote:
Questions:

1. Why would a drain clog at one end of the house cause gurgling air bubbles in drains at other ends of the house? Bathroom 2 is the furthest from the street, the other drains are between bathroom 2 and the street.

2. Was the problem really resolved, or is this a symptom of a whole-house sewer drain problem caused by things such as tree roots?



1. It shouldn't.

2. Maybe.

"Gurgling" and all of your other symptoms usually indicate a clogged vent stack, not a sewer line problem.

When you flush a toilet or run water down a drain, it creates a vacuum inside the pipes. The system is supposed to be designed so there is a vent pipe that allows air in behind the draining water to fill that vacuum. If the vent is clogged, the system will try to draw in air from wherever it can and, since all of the plumbing is tied together. if the vent is clogged and the system can't draw air in through it, it will draw in air through the other drains in the house. That gurgling noise is air being drawn in through the traps in those other drains (your toilet has a trap built into it as well).

If the system can't draw in enough air, that vacuum can be strong enough to pull raw sewage back up through the sewer system. And that's why you get toilets backing up.

There should be a vent stack (usually a 1.5" - 2" pipe) coming out through the roof of your house or running up the side of your house to the roof line. Check it and make sure no animals have moved in or that it hasn't become clogged with debris. On occasion a squirrel, a bat, bees, etc... will move in and plug things up.
0 Replies
 
RayEGarcia
 
  0  
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2014 04:42 am
Thanks for sharing a good solution, i also always face this type of problems and i think it will be helpful for me whenever i face this type of problem again.
0 Replies
 
CynthiaGaines
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2015 01:40 am
Thanks for sharing the info. This is a common problem faced by many houses. This will help many people.
0 Replies
 
 

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