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zasior 01-07-2009 08:57 PM

Leaking kitchen sink drain pipe
Ok, I have fixed it once before (perhaps 2 years ago) but situation is happening again. Basically, the drain pipe from my kitchen sink (PVC) that goes from the 1st level kitchen into the basement developed a crack that runs vertically almost entire length of the pipe. I have noticed that it only leaks if the dishwasher is on. The leak is very small and water collects only on the wider part (don't know the name) that the pipe goes into just above the basement floor. That water stinks man (I guess after sitting a while with the dirt collected during wash cycle). No water actually gets on the floor (basement is not finished - easy access to everywhere...). What could be causing it? Would the temp of dishwashing water (quite hot) be expanding the PVC pipe to the point of causing a lengthy crack? I can fix it again, but each time I do it, I end up replacing larger chunk and eventually may not be able to cut any more (at the point where pipe enters the coupler near the basement floor) - what then? If the crack goes all the way? Anyway - any ideas on the cause or proper way to fix this would be appreciated?

JDC 01-07-2009 09:16 PM

The reason that you notice it only when the dishwasher is running is because the dishwasher is a pumped fixture. Being a pumped fixture, it sends alot more water into the drain than your standard faucet does. Water clings to the walls of a vertical pipe spinning around the interior like a tornado.

If the crack is all the way down the vertical pipe you really should replace it. From your description it sounds as if it goes into a bigger pipe by way of a reducer coupling. If this is the case, there is a reamer you can buy at a plumbing supply house that will auger out the pvc while leaving the fitting intact. They come in various sizes from 1-1/2" to 4" (may be some larger, I just have never used anything bigger than 4"). You have to be careful not to go too deep though or you'll ream out the backside of the fitting.

If you get a chance post a picture or two so we can take a look at it.

In the meantime....
Good luck!

zasior 01-07-2009 09:32 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for your reply. I've attached the picture of the pipe. I've drawn the arrow pointing to the location where the pipe enter the coupling(?). So you're saying I could get a reamer to remove the pipe from there and insert new one? And one more thing - what possible could be causing the crack to reapper? Is it temperature of water? Or should I get a different type of pipe (are there any?) that could work better for me? Any help is appreciated.

JDC 01-07-2009 09:41 PM

hmmm...that's ABS pipe, not PVC. And it looks like it enters a cast iron cleanout tee. Its kind of hard to tell because the fitting is in the bottom of the picture. If it is indeed a cast iron cleanout tee then we've got a whole different ballgame. It looks like the ABS goes into a 4x2 rubber fernco donut. If this is the case you should be able to just pull that sucker out of there. Well, with alot of elbow grease and determination. If it isnt cast iron but a 4" ABS cleanout tee with a 4x2 reducing bushing in it then the reamer is the way to go. (I'm assuming the pipe is 2"...could be 1-1/2" its hard to tell from a pic).

Not sure why the pipe would crack again. Is there stress on the pipe to get it to line up?

zasior 01-07-2009 09:46 PM

ABS it is then :-) It just shows you my level of expertise :-) I just checked the coupling (or cleanout tee - really have no idea what that is) - but its all plastic - no cast iron.

JDC 01-07-2009 09:48 PM

yeah then you should be able to cut the pipe out from just above the tee to wherever you need to to eliminate the crack. The reamer sounds like your best option here. Just be sure not to go too deep.

zasior 01-08-2009 05:08 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for all your help. One more question. I've attached also top end of the cracked pipe. I'm not 100% sure whether the crack goes all the way there (it's inside kitchen cabinet next to the sink) but if it does go there and I need to replace the entire section of that pipe, what would be my best option of cutting? Point 1 on the pic or Point 2 on the pic (just below the coupling)? Or anywhere else? And what's the best way to cut it? The cabinet is fairly narrow and the pipe is right next to the back wall - you can see the cutout around it. Not much room to go with ordinary hex saw - or is it? Or is there another, better tool for cutting? If I cut at point 1 would I have to use reamer to remove pipe leftovers from the top coupling? Again - not that much room but perhaps enough to go with the drill... Any help is appreciated. I love this forum as I'm learning so much.

4just1don 01-08-2009 06:16 PM

unless that chunk is broke below #1 cut of at 'top' of coupling below #1. That will give you some pipe to no hub OR adapt to and be covered by that coupling. Only other sane thing to do would be to cut it ALL out and start from scratch,,,but doing that may be a bigger headache than good. is that just a vent going up from tee or more drains to top side?? if its just vent only,,,I would connect to there and cut out tee,,,unless that presents more probs,,,cant see that part or how far it goes,fittings invovled etc. And how far down to where the bottom crack is,,,guessing 8-9 feet??? Are you sure the pipe wasnt cracked before you put the last one in?? Got slapped down too hard on cement someplace?? Slight cracks are hard to see. same way with bottom pipe, cut off JUST long enough to get coupling on it with coupling covering ALL the pipe,,so if its cracked the crack remains inside glued coupling,,much easier and cheaper!!

zasior 01-08-2009 08:13 PM

Thanks for your reply. Yes, that is the vent up there. I think you're right - I'll try cutting just at the top of coupling below #1. Yes, the pipe goes down about 8-9 feet. The wierd thing is that I replaced that pipe already once (but smaller section as the crack was only several inches long). I was careful to ensure new pipe went nicely without any stress. I still need to check where exactly the crack is - I'll wait until the dishwasher is full and then run it - but that will be in a couple of days (we don't use it too often). That should show me where it is. I hope the crack is on the "old" pipe - like you said, some cracks could be tiny and expand after time. However, if the new pipe has crack too, than this would mean something else is up. Can really hot water (I have my boiler set at 160 degrees - wife like hot baths...) cause ABS pipe to stress and crack?

zosoplumber 01-10-2009 08:18 AM

JDC is on the ball, just cut pipe flush with tee clean out in basment and ream it out, and the cut at point #1 leaving enough pipe for new coupling, using a string saw might be a good option for those cramped quarters, there cheap and can be purchased at a Lowes or somewhere like that in the plumbing sections. My concern though is getting the new pipe installed, getting the full length of pipe glued in the new coupling is no problem, but you'll find when you go down stairs to glue it into the tee cleanout your pipe will be to long and you willl not have any play in your pipe, I am from south carolina and i never use abs, so I don't know what kind of flexability abs has, but if its like pvc there is not much, and trying to bend the pipe to fit into the tee might lead to a stress crack(could be the reason you have one know). In order to do this with out any hassles is to by a no hub band coupling, wich is a rubber couplin that is clamped around the pipe instead of glued, I would take a measurment from the inside of the new coupling upstairs to the inside of the cleanout tee downstairs and subtract around a foot, glue the pipe into the new coupling upstairs, then check the measurment from end of pipe to inside of tee cleanout and subtract about 1/8", and cut the lenght you need. Take your no hub band and slide it on to end of pipe(wich pipe is not important) and push up out of the way til you get your second piece glued into tee, then simply slide band down over both pipes and clamp.
Also the smell your smelling is actually the sewer gases leaking from the crack, and not the water itself, just another reason to fix it.

zasior 01-11-2009 07:22 PM

Thanks for your reply. I will look into those rubbery couplings next time I go to the hardware store. Thanks for your help!!!



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