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Old 02-27-2011, 09:23 AM   #1
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


This picture is from my parents condo (still in Connecticut).

Apartment style condo, 3 stories, built in the 70's. Their unit is on the first floor. No basement - built on a slab. This is a picture of the drain in their bathroom. Through various sources I found out that there was a "problem" in the unit above them 2 days ago.

I got a hold of the plumber that's contracted yesterday and found out they pulled the toilet on the 2nd floor and put "something" down in the hole - very heavy accent, hard to understand.

I went over there yesterday and found .... a "mess' - let's just leave it at that.

I find myself wondering, what the hell blows a big hole in a PVC pipe like that? Am I being paranoid in thinking whatever they did might have something to do with it?
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Old 02-27-2011, 09:37 AM   #2
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


I don't think those cheap traps are even PVC, just thin white plastic. But they do what the are supposed to do.
My guess is that the vanity was draining slowly and someone decided to try to unclog it with a long rod or straightened-out coat hanger and knocked the bottom out of the trap.

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Old 02-27-2011, 09:46 AM   #3
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


Possibly a hair clog and somebody used industrial strength drain cleaner or Muriatic acid on it. Will get so hot it may have weakened it.
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Last edited by yuri; 02-27-2011 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:17 AM   #4
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


If they snaked the drain from above it's possible the snake ended up in that drain line and the spinning end blew out the bottom of the trap.

That's the most likely cause from the sound of it.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:41 AM   #5
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


If they pulled a toilet in the upstairs unit to snake the drain, there's no way it would have ended up in the p-trap of your parents lav.

The only possibility is if they snaked the lav upstairs and there's a fitting in backwards somewhere between the 2 units.

If that's the only problem, I would just replace the p-trap and move on.

Any possibility it froze?
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:52 PM   #6
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


Sorry, I guess it would have helped if I included that info.

Nobody had been there for weeks, I went over there and found it like that after getting the phone call. No chance it froze, there's a unit to the left, to the right and on top of it. Even with the heat off it never gets below 60 in there.

Whatever caused this, it didn't start in our unit.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:01 PM   #7
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


Did anyone enter your parents' unit while trying to solve the original drain problem?

Save all the pieces after it is replaced. There could be evidence inside telling which way the snake came from.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:29 PM   #8
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


Given all the possibilities, that section of elbow is easy to replace tho.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:33 PM   #9
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


whats on the other side of the wall? a lot of older apartments are plumbed with back to back bathrooms. if the people next door were having lav sink problems, them may have tried to snake it and came right out the other sides (your parents side). i highly doubt that it came from upstairs. the vent pipe for yours probably isn't the drain for upstairs, so it just couldn't happen
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:46 PM   #10
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


Nobody entered the unit - there is no regulation on keys etc, and no master key (not necessarily something I agree with but thats a diff. story)

On the other side of the wall, as far as I can tell from the noise is another bathroom, but I'm really not sure. The only place the plumber went is the unit above us (at least according to the plumber). However, the unit on the other side incurred flooding as well - it doesn't take a scientist to recognize all the little pieces of under-carpet padding strewn in the hallway and to recognize the sound of an industrial drying fan.

My concern isn't the piece and the cost of replacing it, it's the massive amount of water damage the unit incurred during the incident. This happened Friday night and when I got there Saturday there were GALLONS of water on the floor.

The plumber immediately wanted to replace the p-trap, but I made him wait until I took pictures of everything.

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Old 03-02-2011, 07:05 PM   #11
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


Was the company name of the plumber "Nobel Plumbing"

just in case nobody get's that, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.

Unless there was some sudden shock (hence the dynamite reference) any pressure introduced in the drain line should simply go up into the sink.

Is the hole broken or melted?

What they put down the drain and why is what you need to find out?

Does it look like the water/whatever flowed from the pipe either before or after it was broken or does it look like it was sprayed like from a water jet?
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:08 AM   #12
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


The hole is definitely broken. Sharp edges.

"bad water" was all over the bathroom, under the vanity, in the sink and on the floor and a little bit in the hallway.

Water that "looked" clear was all the way into the living room and the kitchen which is on either side of the hallway off the bathroom. The floor that my father and I put down 6 months ago is shot.

I'm so puzzled by this..... the association sent an estimator out and we are waiting for them to come back w/ a proposal. They say they will restore the condo to "Same condition as before the incident". Homeowners insurance will have to take care of the 1/2 a kitchen worth of cabinets that were sitting in boxes on the living room floor I guess......

I'm just dying to figure out what the hell caused this...... I just got a message that according to them it was a sewer backup which "happens". I've dealt with the occasional sewer backup all the way back when I was a kid in Denmark, but I have NEVER seen one "explode" a p-trap!
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:21 AM   #13
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


If they ran a high pressure jetter down the main stack, it could have easily blown the p-trap apart. Sewer jetting typically runs around 4,000psi. Speculation here, but I'm guessing they turned it on before they got to the bottom of the stack.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:37 PM   #14
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


Well, here's an update in case anyone was interested:

Bathroom sink & Vanity, the 1/2 of the kitchen that was left for us to remodel, the pergo floor in the living room, baseboards and 2' of drywall in 100% of the condo were torn out. The place looked like an absolute warzone. We were able to save the tile that we put down 2 months ago - probably largely because I caught the problem early and scrubbed the hell out of it w/ bleach. It's 99% back together, but we have made absolutely zero progress in finding out exactly what happened. All involved parties will happily talk for 15 minutes after I ask them, but the topics discussed never seem to include an actual answer to my question.

This has been a very weird experience, but at least we are almost back to normal.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:45 PM   #15
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I'd like your best idea about what caused this.


well, I guess it comes down to; what do you want to do about it?

If insurance is picking up the bill, I would simply move on with life. If no insurance coverage and the cost isn't unbearable, I would likely just move on.

If you want to seek compensation, I think lateral concepts has about the best explanation. As such, without any more proof than you have, I suggest stating the facts and relying on a res ipsa loquitur argument for the actual cause.

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