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Tmb9862 10-28-2006 11:17 AM

Basement Toilet Floods Every Time It Rain
I have an old bathroom in my basement. The water to the toilet has been shut off (for about 40 years now) and the valve is holding fine. Every time we get heavy rain water starts to come into the basement from around the base of the toilet.

I know it has to be comming from around the base because the wax ring is shot right (that ring is at least 50 years old)? It seems to me if I change the ring all I will accomplish is makeing the water back up into the bowl and overflow from there?

If it makes any differance we use sewers.

747 10-28-2006 11:39 AM

Interesting unless rain water is going into your sewer pipe somewhere and you don't have good flow in that sewer pipe. I know on some older homes they were allowed to divert rain water from house into sewer pipe but that is no longer allowed by code. Or its water under basement slab and sub pump isn't doing its job. I bet its one of those two causing the problem.

Tmb9862 10-28-2006 02:47 PM


Originally Posted by 747 (Post 22091)
Interesting unless rain water is going into your sewer pipe somewhere and you don't have good flow in that sewer pipe. I know on some older homes they were allowed to divert rain water from house into sewer pipe but that is no longer allowed by code. Or its water under basement slab and sub pump isn't doing its job. I bet its one of those two causing the problem.

Well all my gutters end like this:
This house was built in 1910, give or take 4 years. So it's possible the gutters go into the sewers. Their certainly isn't any drain for the gutter pipes that I can find. Although I have hit a random clay pipe in the vacinity of one of the gutters. So wheather that goes to the sewer line, an old cesspool, or some sort of drywell I couldn't tell you. It's pretty irrelevent anyway since even if the gutters wern't hopelessly clogged they're not pitched right, and only one of these drains is still connected to the gutter. I'd be curious to see though if I flushed water down the gutter if all of it came out from under the toilet since the amount on the basement floor is probably about what is getting down the gutter.

As far as any sort of pump, they didn't exist ninty years ago.

Tmb9862 10-28-2006 02:57 PM

Ok, I looked in the basement and right under that gutter pipe is this pipe comming into the house:
Their is no gaurentee that is from the gutter though as their is a detached garage apartment which may or may not pipe it's sewage through the main house.

That pipe continues to this:
Which most likely runs under the slab to that toilet.

Which brings me to if their was a clog in the line the upstairs toilets, showers, etc would effect it in the exact same way as the gutter wouldn't it?

boman47k 10-28-2006 05:02 PM

"clog in the line "

I would think that would depend on the location and the severity of the clog. Backup will find a way out at the lowest possible break in the system. This maybe the base of the toilet. Have a clean out plug for your sewer? Not a plumber, but I have had to do my own over the years for the most part. ( and family owned rentals)
If you are on a sewer system, not sure how the rain would cause this. Talking about a municiple system not a septic tank. May be the basement needs looking at near the toilet

majakdragon 10-28-2006 05:29 PM

Since it is obvious that you are not using this toilet, I would suggest removing it and installing a Plumbers Test Plug in the opening.

boman47k 10-28-2006 05:35 PM

I agree, might be a good place to put in a clean out plug. I am still somewhat perplexed as to why it only happens during severe rain. Now if there was someway of running enough water with dye through the gutter or right outside that wall....
But, you do not know where the gutter goes, so that may tell much. I'm thinking you may have seepage rpoplem with the basement and the it just happens to coming in where the toilet is. Cheapest, quickest way to check may be to remove the toilet and snake the the pipe out from that point out and see if it alleviates the problem.

oddjob 10-28-2006 06:30 PM

Our local water purveyor said they have similar problems at the treatment plant, hard rains find their way into old sewer mains thourgh cracks and breaks and throws a tremendous load on the sewer system. perhaps your house being so old it to may have rain water infiltration into the sanitary sewer and backing up on you. I second the clean out idea!!

boman47k 10-28-2006 06:57 PM

If I did the cleanout, even though I had a cleanout plug outside, I would still remove the toilet and do it from there in case the clog (if there is one) is between the outside plug and the toilet. Poured some acid down my stack pipe/soil pipe/sewer pipe once to clear it. This is some very caustic stuff made for this purpose named 'Cobber'. It usually ony sold to liscenced plumbers. I then ran water through ny sewer vent pipe with a hose from the top of the house. I let it run for while. Well, the line was blocked between the bath room and the outside. As the water from the hose ran, where do you think it backed up to and was coming out? The lowest point it could, the tub! You can guess what a shape the tub was in, and the acid ate away at the finish on the tub making it feel like sandpaper. Now that will encourage you to take showers instead of baths. (After a very thorough cleaning!)

Tmb9862 10-28-2006 07:58 PM

Removing the toilet and blocking it off was the first thing that crossed my mind. Even though that bathroom is in lousy shape and hasn't been used it still adds to the value of the house. To someone who wants to finish the basement already having the plumbing for a bathroom saves time, money, and a potential hastle with getting a permit.

One thing supporting a clog is the toilet has sat disconnected from the water supply for so long that the trap must be empty. Their are however no sewer gasses comming out of it so far as I can tell.

As for a clog in the line I really doubt it. I would imagine that during times of heavy water use in the house I would be seeing the same problem the rain is creating. I have the main house, two apartments attached to it, and a detatched garage apartment. It's not uncommon to have three or four showers going at the same time in the morning and it doesn't back up.

As far as a cleanout plug I don't believe their is one.

Rain saturating the sewer lines sounds feasable. What if the toilet is just about level with the sewer line so that when the sewer line is at a high level it's above the toilet but normally it would be below the level of the toilet.

My first course of action should be to just remove the toilet and wait for the next heavy rainfall. At this time I can confirm the water is comming through the drain and not seaping up around it.

boman47k 10-28-2006 08:39 PM

Interesting quantry here. Is the floor slanted back toward the wall? Seems to be where most of the water is in the pic. Finish on the wall different up to a certain point on the wall? Flaking morter or whatever is on it? Of coarse it could be that the line has a high level with the toilet being in the basement. But if the floor is level, I'm wondering why the water seems to be at the back for the most part as if it could be seeping through the wall or where the wall meets the floor. Maybe get someone to the check the moisture level at the wall at different heights and compare with the other walls? Hope you let us know what you find out. Seeping walls may be the cheapest to have fixed. Good luck!

majakdragon 10-28-2006 09:54 PM

Using a test plug to stop water from entering at the toilet (if that is indeed where it is coming from) will not be a permanent thing. The plug could be removed any time it had to be should someone want to redo the bathroom. It will also answer the question as to if that is actually where the water comes from.

Double A 10-29-2006 10:16 AM

This might not be a 'plumbing' problem at all.

Water might be accumulating below the basement floor and pushing up beside the closet riser and coming out on the floor.

Pull the WC and put in a test plug as Majak suggested and then check it next good rain. If its coming around the pipe, instead of through it, you'll have to take some type of action to mitigate this problem. A sump and sump pump might be in order.

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