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rosemonster 01-04-2011 12:34 AM

Can you snake plastic pipes?
What should I do? I have a plastic washer drain that has a clog. When the washer spins a small load it comes out of the top of the plastic pipe and I saw suds spilling out after the spinning stopped so I believe (or I hope) this is where my clog is and not in the main. It only spills out when I use washer.

I also have a plastic shower drain and plastic toilet drain that need snaking. I bought a 1/4" cheapy hand auger to snake for the shower over the summer but it wouldn't go through the bend. So, today I looked on the home depot site to buy a bigger auger (1/2") and one of the reviewers mention not to use it on plastic pipe or it will tear it up. Then I remembered the plumber I called out over the summer wouldn't snake the toilet drain before we put the wax ring on. He said because it is plastic pvc and I should leave it alone which leaves me with a poorly flushing toilet and possibly a leak. I mean I can't just let it get worse.

Is there a way to safely snake these pipes? If not, can anyone tell me the correct way to replace the washer drain. I've read about how to cement pvc but the last piece goes into the cast iron main line.

Here are pics of washer drain. (don't mind the kitchen drain pics, they are for another post) Hope anyone can help...Thanks.

DangerMouse 01-04-2011 05:46 AM

If you post the pictures here, I might be able to help. Your links do not work for me.
Same with your other post.
(most likely MY fault, being so slow on dialup.)


rosemonster 01-04-2011 08:57 PM

not your dial up.
Something was wrong with the link. I reset it. I hope it works now. When I try and upload a pic it says it needs to be 100kb and I don't know how to scale them down.

Plumber26 01-04-2011 09:13 PM

It looks like to me that the washer is the last thing to leave the building on that level of the house and also the lowest fixture in the house. If so, I'd say your problem is with the main line, probably in the yard. If it was the washing machine, as short as that line is, you'd get water backing up almost immediately after drain cycle starts. Are you on city sewer or septic tank? if septic tank, may want to get it pumped out. Also, if you plan on keeping this setup, you may want to install a swing check inline so that any blockage in yard or on city's side will not back up into the basement.:thumbup:

Plumber26 01-04-2011 09:14 PM

And yes, you CAN snake plastic pipes!

rosemonster 01-05-2011 04:01 AM

Thanks so much for telling me about snaking it. Please tell me, which is the right auger to use for plastic shower, toilet and washer drains? Any chance I can push through to the to the main a few feet when I snake the washer drain to see if there is a clog right past there as I suspect there may be? When I snake the toilet and shower, how hard should I push. If I mess these up, there is no access anywhere to get to them. I wasn't getting into bend. I wasn't sure if it was because I had got the cheapest 15' auger or if I'm just not pushing hard enough cause I was paranoid about the plastic breaking.

It's city sewer and you're right about the washer. It's the lowest appliance, but about 2/3 way toward back of house.

The water (now suds) does come out immediately when washer starts to drain. It Does it on the first load mostly, especially if it's a small load. I wash with hot water, which seems to melt down what's clogging it for the next loads. There's a stack in front of it and behind it. Besides all other plumbing nightmares happening here all at same time, the one thing I'm sure of is that this washer drain is clogged regardless. I actually wonder if it isn't clogged right there in main as well but the rain water from very back roof vent goes through main quickly with out a problem. There is some thing dangling in the main clean out in the street. Looks very close to the bottom. Plumber said don't worry unless it drops in. I figure if I snake the washer line and it spills again, then I know it's in the main, right?

Thank again for helping me.

plumberinlaw 01-05-2011 02:18 PM

It looks like the line is 11/2 for the washing machine. Code calls for a 2 inch line.
I would use a 3/8 cable for the kitchen and laundry
5/8 for the closet bend after the toilet was pulled
3/4 for the main line to the city
If there is no access you should have a cleanout installed

rosemonster 01-05-2011 05:26 PM

Oh sweet!
Thanks so much. Running to home depot now before they close. I'll let ya know how it goes.

rosemonster 01-15-2011 08:48 PM

OK, I've snaked all these areas and the pipes weren't harmed. When I snaked toilet, I got wax coming up on the snake and I think I made it all worse???

Why wax? Is this normal? Toilet is still flushing but weirdly and I'm getting some whiffs of sewer gas, but not from the toilet??? I swear, I don't know what I'm trying to fix anymore.

Red Squirrel 01-15-2011 09:03 PM

Ouch you may have hit the wax ring and unsealed it. Toilets usually sit on a wax ring to act as a seal so it does not leak. I'm no expert so someone might be able to offer an easier fix, but I'm thinking you may need to remove the toilet, add a new wax ring and reseat it.

I find for unblocking drains, being relentless with the plunger, and adding some javex, seems to work. My main blocked once and managed to unblock it with just the plunger. Took a good hour, but I did it. You need the give it very quick and strong plunges, as chances are you're just making the water bounce depending on where the block is (before or after the vent).

rosemonster 01-17-2011 07:09 AM

Hi, thanks for your help. Sorry, my fault. I wasn't clear.

It's not blocked or clogged, I hear dripping underneath the floor a few minutes after I use any plumbing. No real access. I wanted to snake all these plastic pipes because I'm sure they have hair and such in them. I'm just trying to figure out what the real plumbing problem is here. Getting the run around from plumbers and can't afford to keep fixing the wrong stuff anymore.

I wasn't expecting to find wax. I get it every time I gently push the snake down. Come up with the tip full of wax.

Is it normal get this. Does anyone else think I've hit the seal?

Too long to explain, but it would be hard to pull this toilet before I finish other projects here. Any help would be appreciated.

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