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Old 02-24-2011, 06:42 AM   #1
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Basement Trap and confused questions


hi all, new here and i was hoping someone would know what the hell is going on here.

i am a new homeowner..been in the house about 5 months and learning as i go. a few months back, i had to have a plumber come out and snake the basement drain to the street because of backup. while he was there, he noticed i had a trap in the basement (at least i believe he said it was a trap. it's a square about 3 feet by 3 feet cut out in the basement floor where you can see the end of 3 pipes but they are all capped and there are rocks at the bottom). he said that needs to always have water in it or you can get a smell in the basement. well about a week ago, we noticed a smell in the basement and sure enough this trap was bone dry. i read up online that you need to fill it, and also pour water down the basement drain as well to fill it up. but now we have to fill it daily as it seems to suck that water up every day. so my questions are

1. where is that water going in the trap? there is no drain in the trap at all

2. is that normal? to have to fill it daily?

3. does this seem to be a sign of a bigger problem?

i can provide pictures if someone thinks that would be helpful, but i am just grateful in advance for any advice or help anyone can provide as i am stumped and i would hope to save some money by not having to all a plumber if i can avoid it

thanks so much!

ryan

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Old 02-24-2011, 07:00 AM   #2
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Basement Trap and confused questions


That sounds like a basement bath rough in----The vent(s) are not connected yet.

I'm guessing the floor drain vent also uses the ,yet to be hooked up vent.

As water rushes down the main drain---it is sucking the water out of the trap---

Make up the vent from the rough in and I'll bet your problem will vanish.----Mike---

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Old 02-24-2011, 07:03 AM   #3
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That sounds like a basement bath rough in----The vent(s) are not connected yet.

I'm guessing the floor drain vent also uses the ,yet to be hooked up vent.

As water rushes down the main vent---it is sucking the water out of the trap---

Make up the vent from the rough in and I'll bet your problem will vanish.----Mike---
i'll be honest...i have no idea what this means at all. not to be disrespectful, but i am a rookie when it comes to these things. i'm not even sure what i am talking about is a "trap". the cut out square in the basement floor with the planks of wood covering it
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:39 AM   #4
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Ryan,I'm late leaving for work---One of the plumbers will fill you in.

Here is a nutshell explanation---

A trap is a place in a piping system that always holds water so sewer gas can't vent into the house--

Look under any sink--you will see a trap---

a drain needs air entering it--a vent--- take a full plastic pop bottle and turn it upside down--

it won't drain quickly---poke a hole into it bottom (vent) and it drains quickly--

Your floor drain has a trap--the drain (pop bottle) needs a vent--or it will get the air that it needs by way of the floor drain-- sucking out the water in the trap as the air enters the drain.--Mike--
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:24 AM   #5
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Basement Trap and confused questions


Ryan, post pics please so we can see what you're talking about and walk you through it.
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Old 02-24-2011, 12:48 PM   #6
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Ryan, post pics please so we can see what you're talking about and walk you through it.
i figured that would be best. i will post pictures tomorrow, and thanks for the help in advance!
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Old 02-24-2011, 04:46 PM   #7
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Ok here are the pictures. The basement has a shower and toilet as you may be able to see in one of the pics. Hopefully this helps. And as you can see it's completely empty. I filled it to the top this morning. So am I supposed to fill this? Is it supposed to be empty? Is this even called a trap?

Thanks everyone

And PS, how cool is the fact that there is an iPhone app for this message board? Awesome!
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:10 PM   #8
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Basement Trap and confused questions


That square pit is not a trap. It's just an access for those pipes you have pictured. The caps you see are cleanouts. Possibly sanitary sewer as well as a perimeter or french drain. There's probably a check valve (back-flow preventer) in there as well.

When you pour water in the gravel it just drains into the earth.

If you have a sewer smell in that area, most likely one of those plugs isn't tight or sealing properly. I would replace them all with plastic (ABS) threaded plugs.

Do you have any other floor drains in the basement? If so, make sure there's standing water in the bottom of it. That may be what the plumber was talking about.

EDIT - Just re-read your post. Since you mentioned you had a back-up.. how bad was it? Did it fill that square box with sewage? Was it professionally cleaned? Dirty, crappy, rocks could be culprit as well
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:36 PM   #9
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Ok here are the pictures. The basement has a shower and toilet as you may be able to see in one of the pics. Hopefully this helps. And as you can see it's completely empty. I filled it to the top this morning. So am I supposed to fill this? Is it supposed to be empty? Is this even called a trap?

Thanks everyone

And PS, how cool is the fact that there is an iPhone app for this message board? Awesome!
The two C/O plugs at the bottom of the photo are access point for snaking a house trap.

The downstream plug needs to be made water/air tight to prevent gasses from the side sewer and it's connection to the municipalities sewer from entering your home.
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:39 PM   #10
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The two C/O plugs at the bottom of the photo are access point for snaking a house trap.

The downstream plug needs to be made water/air tight to prevent gasses from the side sewer and it's connection to the municipalities sewer from entering your home.
There is one pipe end you can't see. But ok, so I have to seal those better? And that shouldn't have water in there?

What is that space technically called?

Thanks so much for the replies!
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:45 PM   #11
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Basement Trap and confused questions


What Widdershins mentioned makes sense also. I didn't think of that because we don't have house traps around here. At least not that I've ever seen. If so, they're very rare.
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:50 PM   #12
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There is one pipe end you can't see. But ok, so I have to seal those better? And that shouldn't have water in there?

What is that space technically called?

Thanks so much for the replies!
From the photo, my guess would be that the white plug is the culprit.

Somebody came along at some point, removed the original brass plug and then mickey-moused a replacement plug, which isn't likely airtight.

If this were me, I'd remove both the plug and the clean out adapter (The clean out adapter is leaded in to the hub of the trap) and install a Tyler Pipe Tye seal and a plastic DWV clean out adapter and plug.

I really don't think this is going to be something you can do yourself, btw.

And if the trap is still connected to the drainage system, then it should always have water in it.
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:58 PM   #13
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From the photo, my guess would be that the white plug is the culprit.

Somebody came along at some point, removed the original brass plug and then mickey-moused a replacement plug, which isn't likely airtight.
That would be my guess also. Appears to be a lead fit-all. It was probably put there because the threads are messed up in the old cast iron hub.

Instead of using a tye seal in the hub, I'd use a dollar plug or (expandable plug)

Looks like this: http://www.fdsons.com/proplus-dollar...53-p-1101.html
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:10 PM   #14
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That would be my guess also. Appears to be a lead fit-all. It was probably put there because the threads are messed up in the old cast iron hub.

Instead of using a tye seal in the hub, I'd use a dollar plug or (expandable plug)

Looks like this: http://www.fdsons.com/proplus-dollar...53-p-1101.html
Those old plugs can be a real bear to get out (the upraised heads were usually hollow and snapped off as soon as you put a wrench to them), so my guess would be that the original plug was mangled and destroyed when it was removed.

As for the mechanical plug idea -- I can see that the other two brass plugs are 4", but the PVC plug looks less than 4" and more than 3", which means it's a specialty size -- Meaning neither a 4" or a 3" mechanical plug is likely going to work.

A 4" will be too big and a 3" won't tighten down enough to seal it.

>shrugs<

Just my two pence.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Widdershins View Post
From the photo, my guess would be that the white plug is the culprit.

Somebody came along at some point, removed the original brass plug and then mickey-moused a replacement plug, which isn't likely airtight.

If this were me, I'd remove both the plug and the clean out adapter (The clean out adapter is leaded in to the hub of the trap) and install a Tyler Pipe Tye seal and a plastic DWV clean out adapter and plug.

I really don't think this is going to be something you can do yourself, btw.

And if the trap is still connected to the drainage system, then it should always have water in it.

that sounds right. when the guy was out there last time, he said he had to snake a line out to the street because of a back up we had at the time. the backup was found when we ran water in the house, the main basement drain would have water come up from it. maybe he took that white plug off to snake and didn't fit it back in right? but that was months ago...why would it just start to smell about a week or 2 ago? seems as though the smell is more a less gone now though, but it comes back every now and again faintly.

so the final verdict from what i can see is to replace those plugs?

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