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bikermark1 07-22-2010 11:37 AM

After Snaking, Basement floor drain and utility sink still Bubbling & Backup
Basement floor drain and utility sink will bubble then back up when kitchen sink is drained or washing machine empties.
We have a small single story ranch built in 1952 (lived in since 93) with original cast iron sewer plumbing. The kitchen is directly above the laundry room and drains into a 2-1/2 OD heading down to the laundry room and vents to the roof. The utility sink drains into this line (1 ft. above floor) as well as a 36 stand pipe for the washer tapped into the cleanout just above the concrete. The floor drain (with trap and cleanout) in the laundry room also Ys into this line then heads to the center of the house and Ys to the 3-1/2 OD main line about 1 ft. from the cleanout.
I ran a 1/2"x 50 ft power snake with 1-1/4 dia. twin blade cutter from the utility sink Y, the floor drain cleanout and the main line cleanout. I also ran hot water down the sewer vent above the kitchen to verify it was not plugged. All this helped but still getting bubbles then backs up slightly, it does go back down quickly after the sink or washer empties. In years past, this method used to solve the problem but has become less effective in recent years. When draining and looking into the main line with a mirror I can see the drainage flowing freely into the empty main, thus do not think there is any problem with the main.
Thank you in advance for any input or advice.

LateralConcepts 07-22-2010 12:09 PM

There's probably also a cleanout in the vertical line coming down from the kitchen before the laundry ties in. Running hot water simultaneously in the laundry tub while cabling through that cleanout will help. Also if you bend the cable putting zig zags with a wrench in the first approx. 18" up the cable, would look something like this VVVVVV, that will help clear sludge and grease. Use a scrubbing motion in and out while you're cabling.

The problem is with an old galvanized drain line, the interior of the pipe is rough and porous which catches all the grease and lint. I'm sure you're not dumping bacon grease down the drain, but years of accumulation will inevitably cause a problem. Going forward for preventative maintenance use a bio-treatment to help break down the sludge. Also, utilize a lint trap on your washing machine drain hose(can be purchased or use old pair of panty hose).

Additionally if it's a long flat run under the slab, you could have a problem with ventilation. Some detergents foam more than others and won't allow air in the top of the pipe. Like taking the lid off a water bottle, turn it completely upside down and... gurgle gurgle gurgle... angle it so air is able to come in and it's free flowing. Same concept.

If you've recently purchased a new washing machine, the pump most likely produces a larger volume of water and the old line may not handle it. What used to be 1 1/2" pipe is most likely necked down from grease build up.

If these tips don't help, the next option is hydro-jetting with a mini jetter to clear the grease. If there's a problem after that, then it's time for a re-plumb.

LateralConcepts 07-22-2010 12:14 PM

Also if the floor drain wasn't bubbling, the blockage is upstream from that.

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