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Old 08-02-2009, 08:00 PM   #1
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Basement Floor Drain

Hi Folks,

My wife and I are first-time home owners and we are dealing with a drain in our laundry room that is backing up.

When we first discovered it four days ago, half the floor was covered with water and there was a brown sludge in a two foot radius or so around the drain. Most of the water receded back into the drain. I mopped up the water that had pooled in various places and let the sludge dry and swept it up. (It dried a very light rust color and it did not smell). We had had a little bit of rain the night before so I figured it was backup from the main sewer line. The water company came out and checked the sewer main, however, and it was clear.

The next day it happened again. So I called a plumber and he came out and snaked the line (through a downstairs toilet adjacent to the laundry room, though, not through the drain itself. I thought this was a little odd, but I figured he was the professional). He pulled out a few pieces of what looked to be a sanitary napkin, but no tree roots. Before he left, we flushed toilets, ran the upstairs showers, turned on the washing machine--everything we could think of to put water into the system--and the drain did not back up.

It was fine for about a day. Now, it is backing up again. The amount of water is not as much (it hasn't pooled across the floor) and the water is clear. There is still no smell. It has been raining again today as well, but not so much that I would think it would be a major factor (though I really don't know).

Any thoughts/suggestions?



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Old 08-04-2009, 03:20 AM   #2
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The plumber snaked through the toilet closet bend line because the basement floor drain has a trap in it. When he removed the toilet, he removed the trap there. A toilet has a built-in trap.
It sounds like you may have a cast iron drain line system. Sectional line like CI can allow root intrusion, which may be your problem. A snake can punch right through roots and may or may not bring any root debris back out.
The best way to determine what's happening, before you have a major basement flooding problem some day, is to have the line inspected with a camera. Call a plumber or drain cleaning outfit with one. Then you can go from there to resolve whatever issue that you have.
Good Luck!


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Old 08-04-2009, 09:46 AM   #3
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Thanks, Mike.

After I posted my original note, I checked the downstairs toilet before I went to bed and it was PACKED with sludge. So I had another plumber come out yesterday. He snaked the line again (further than the first plumber did) and then sent the camera down. The camera revealed what look to be a major blockage out near the street (but still on our property, of course). Not sure if the pipe has collapsed in that section of if a big root has punched through or what, but he could not get the camera to go any further and it looked like the line was mostly blocked. So, it looks like we're going to have to have the line replaced.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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backup , basement , drain

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