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Old 01-18-2012, 10:13 AM   #1
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Cast drain backup


Recent success with an electrical help from the fine folks at this site.

Though I've spent more time pulling toilets, and crawling under sinks than testing circuits, I don't have any experience with the cast drains.

SPECIFIC ISSUE: Basement washer (black hose running up to near white elbow in the picture is from the washer -- black hose running to far drain is from dishwasher) drains into a 1 1 /2" cast pipe (bottom of picture -- 1 1/2" on cap, so I'm assuming that's the ID) backs up occasionally. We can lift the lid on the washer (stop the draining) once or twice for a few seconds during the drain cycle, and the pipe can handle the flow without water on the floor. Miss the drain cycle and it'll leave some water on the floor. Dishwasher never causes backup.

OTHER SYMPTOMS:
1. Tub (1st floor) drain will become slow; won't clog completely as long as I add drain/gel cleaner right away.

2. Drains began to "gurgle" some months ago. Constant.

Purchased a "pro-style" power snake to solve the problem but after purchase I began reading (not here) about snaking a cast drain and the flaking / damage it can cause inside the pipe. Supposedly can clog drain more. I'd already snaked it once (marginal success) when I read that. Cleaned, repacked and returned the power snake.

That was a couple of months ago. Combination of the snake and retail drain cleaner directly into the basement washer drain fixed it temporarily. Gurgling continued though.

Couple of days ago it started again; tried the "retail" drain gel again (snake's gone); still backing up. Thinking about bringing a plumber in to snake it.

Thoughts on "snake = cast damage"?

Other options? Thoughts? Access to this pipe (for replacement) would be major job / expense. Pipe is exposed for about 10', then runs about 30' +/- behind wall in finished part of basement.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
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Cast drain backup


Can you get a better over all picture of that piping?

I see lots of things wrong ----

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Old 01-18-2012, 10:42 AM   #3
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Cast drain backup


That washer drain never should had 2 elbows like that, there is no trap that I can see so sewer gas can be relieced into the room. It needs to be 2" pipe, (not sure what you have now)
Never use a drain cleaner just use a snake. Will a snake cause a cast drain to flake off rust? Yes, will it plug anything up, no.
Should all cast iron and steel supply pipes be replaced with PVC yes. If it's not leaking now it will at some point.
Gurgling is caused from a pluged up or nonexistant vent. When water goes down the drain it's trying to suck air out of the traps.
Take a straw and dip it into a glass of water, now put you finger over the tip of the straw and lift up, what happens? Same principal.
Some times when the main line backs up or a septic tank fills up the sewer backs up into the lines and can plug up the vent line.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:53 AM   #4
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Cast drain backup


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Can you get a better over all picture of that piping?

I see lots of things wrong ----
Wall starts just to the right of the picture.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:18 PM   #5
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Cast drain backup


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
That washer drain never should had 2 elbows like that, there is no trap that I can see so sewer gas can be relieced into the room.

It needs to be 2" pipe, (not sure what you have now)

Never use a drain cleaner just use a snake. Will a snake cause a cast drain to flake off rust? Yes, will it plug anything up, no.

Should all cast iron and steel supply pipes be replaced with PVC yes. If it's not leaking now it will at some point.

Gurgling is caused from a pluged up or nonexistant vent. When water goes down the drain it's trying to suck air out of the traps.
Take a straw and dip it into a glass of water, now put you finger over the tip of the straw and lift up, what happens? Same principal.

Some times when the main line backs up or a septic tank fills up the sewer backs up into the lines and can plug up the vent line.
There's a trap. Follow the PVC pipe to the far end; black trap is toward the bottom of the picture; barely visible, but it's there.

2" white / black PVC was added by a plumber many years ago, just before we purchased the house; day or two before settlement...and just prior to township enacting new electrical, plumbing, etc inspections for house sales (found this out after the fact). Anyway...

The 2" from the washer and dishwasher (far end of picture) both flow into the cast (2"?) at the bottom of the picture.

Also, this may be something...may be nothing -- township was working on sewers in front of the house a few days ago. Had some kind of huge vacuum, I think. Heard the gurgling when they were working. They somehow sucked all the water out of the basement toilet -- sewer gas filled the house then (twice) ... Went out to talk with them; neighbor was walking back and told me he'd just told them the same thing. Someone up the line was having a problem. They moved up the street and opened another sewer cap; did the same thing.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:57 AM   #6
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Cast drain backup


Gurgling was a vent issue. Also, snaked cast pipe. Marginally better. Plan is to knock out exterior wall housing the cast drain and replace with PVC.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:24 AM   #7
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Cast drain backup


Got a new clean out that's accessible; dishwasher drain now runs into the kitchen sink drain, washer drain runs to a trap, and running occasional snake is easy... "up to code" to the wall. Still have to change the rest of the drain from the wall out, but that's for another day.
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