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    Francoise's Avatar
    Francoise Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 8, 2005, 07:03 PM
    Washer Rinse Water Backs Up in Kitchen Sink
    My washing machine rinse water backs up into my double kitchen sink and my wonderful plumber is stumped. I'm only able to wash a mini load (which fills up both sinks) as a medium or large load causes my kitchen sinks to overflow. It's been doing this for over a year now and I'm tired of living with it.

    My plumber has worked all week snaking lines and blowing them out. He cut into the wall behind my washer and did some stuff (I'm plumbing-challenged so I don't know everything he's done). He also brought his son-in-law out to try to fix it and neither of them have been able to stop the water from backing up.

    The water that backs up into the sink used to be extremely dirty and black, it almost looked like oil. But after all the work they've done the water is now fairly clear, but it leaves a thick sediment in my sink, not only dirt but also trashy looking stuff. I scoop out about 3 tablespoons of stuff and throw in the trash. Because of this sediment, they think it's possible that the drain line under my concrete floor is too small to accommodate the rushing water and that a connection has probably come loose under the concrete. My house is 30 years old and my washer is about 12 years old. He said the drain lines in older houses were not big enough to accommodate newer washers.

    My plumber said we may have to reroute the drain line out the front brick wall of my house, lay pipe across the front of my yard (which means digging across my concrete walk), then down my side yard to connect to the line in my back yard. He said he would only do this as a last resort and wants to think about it for the next week and talk to some other plumbers to see if they have any better ideas.

    Do you have any suggestions I could pass on to him?

    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
    Eternal Plumber

    Jan 9, 2005, 06:29 AM
    Washer Rinse Water Backs Up in Kitchen Sink
    Good morning Franc,oise,

    A blockage is the simplest job a plumber faces. In point of fact, in our area, the men that work for sewer cleaning companys are for the most part not licensed plumbers. The work's so simple they don't have to be. Having said that, let's analyze your problem. I need to know if you're on city sewer or a septic tank. (This question's important.) If you're on a septic tank you will have a separate line from the sink and laundry to a grease trap before it goes into the septic tank. (My hunch tells me that this might be the case.) But if you're on city sewer you know the lines are clear from the washer to the sink so the blockage must be downstream from the sink so why cut up the wall behind the washer? I hate to knock another plumber but your man looks like he doesn't have a handle on the situation at all.
    First of all is he using a Ridgid K-60 sewer machine or equivalent with a spade tip to start with? Is he snaking out the correct vent from the roof? It should be the kitchen vent. Is he putting out enough cable to reach the clog? In a difficult case I open up the clean out and put enough cable down the vent to reach it. Then I let a sink full of water go and see if it passes the clean out. Let me know about the septic tank. A clogged grease trap that needs to be pumped and cleaned would answer all the questions about why he's having such a hard time. You shouldn't have to dig up and reroute any lines for a blockage unless the line has completely collapsed, in which case he would know if he brought back dirt on his auger. Keep me in the loop on this. Ya got me curious! Regards, Tom
    Francoise's Avatar
    Francoise Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 9, 2005, 08:59 AM
    Hi Tom,

    I'm on city sewer. He isn't a licensed plumber but has been doing plumbing for many years. I don't know the answer about the type equipment he's using. He used his own snake with something on the end that looked like a spear head. Then he rented something different from one of the local rental places but I don't know what it is. He snaked the vent from the roof. I can only assume it's the correct one because he said he ran into a "blockage" that he thinks is a "T". I remember several years ago another [licensed] plumber snaked the roof vent and mentioned a "T".

    He installed a new cleanout at the edge of my property (which the city was insisting on) and he says the drain from my house to the edge of my property is clear. He said my kitchen drain is extremely clean and free of grease.

    Do you think the "blockage" on the roof vent is really a "T" and, if so, is there a way to snake around it? If it isn't a "T" and his snake isn't breaking through it, what should I do?

    Unless I'm misunderstanding him, he thinks the problem is the line from the washer to the sink which is located under my concrete floor. He can't snake through it and thinks there is a problem with the line and that's where the dirt is coming from.

    I really appreciate you helping me with! :>

    tommytman's Avatar
    tommytman Posts: 153, Reputation: 2
    Junior Member

    Jan 9, 2005, 11:00 AM
    There are plumbers out there that have cameras they can send down your drain lines to find the problem. Since everyone is stumped and people are wanting to dig to find the problem best to locate it first. Sounds high tech but it works (the camera).
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
    Eternal Plumber

    Jan 9, 2005, 01:22 PM
    Washer Rinse Water Backs Up in Kitchen Sink
    "he ran into a "blockage" that he thinks is a "T". I remember several years ago another [licensed] plumber snaked the roof vent and mentioned a "T"."

    We don't use tees in underground drainage. We use a combination wye and eighth bend. The plumbers excuse about the drain line being too small is just that, an excuse. However that fact that you have dirt in your back up leads me to believe that your drain line has split or collapsed and let dirt fall in and block your line. If he can track the drain line and mark the spot on the cable where he ran into the "tee" that's where I would start to dig, otherwise I would consider Tommytman's camera idea. Before you can start any kind of action you have to localize it. Good luck, Tom
    Francoise's Avatar
    Francoise Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 26, 2005, 05:19 AM
    Wow, I'll never again underestimate the importance of a second opinion. I asked a licensed plumber to come snake my drain line. I didn't mention anything about the supposed break under my slab because I wanted to see if he came to the same conclusion as my first plumber. It took him two hours, but he got my line cleaned out and my washing machine is now draining properly.

    While he was working on it, the rinse water did back up into he kitchen sink once, with all the dirt and oily sediment. I asked him if there could possibly be a break and that's where the dirt was coming from. He said no, the dirt and trash were coming from buildup in the line but he was sure he had cleaned it out well. He ran the washer three times while he was there and I ran it again after he left and everything seems to be working well. He recommended that I go to Wal-Mart and buy a lint 'cage' and put into the pipe behind my washer to help keep the drain line clear.

    He did say that whoever plumbed my house when it was built did it in a strange way. So maybe my first plumber was snaking the wrong lines, I don't know, I haven't talked to him yet.

    I'm just so very relieved and grateful plumber #2 was able to get my problem fixed.

    Thanks again for all your responses and help - it's nice to know you're here when we "plumbing-challenged" people go into panic mode!

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