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Old 03-11-2012, 05:21 PM   #1
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Main drain backing up--suggestions


I recently had frozen pipes burst and run for days while I was out of town, and our house basically had to be gutted and redone. While we were tearing everything out, we relocated a couple of plumbing fixtures/tubs, and actually added a bathroom. We have a slab foundation.

When the guys were breaking up the buckling tile in the bathrooms, apparently they weren't real careful about preventing tile scraps from getting in the main drain pipe. We are having regular backups, which is pretty frustrating since we have all new flooring, cabinets, carpet, etc.

Here is what we have done so far to try to solve the issue.

(4 bathrooms) One toilet remains off for easy access to use a drain cleaning machine. I went ahead and purchased the following from Home Depot:

Ridgid K400 Drain Cleaner
http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/K400-Drain-Cleaning-Machine

It seems like every 1-2 weeks we have a backup. I have to run the machine through, and then I'm good to go for another week or two. At first I was concerned about having poor venting, but that doesn't seem to be the issue. The flooding always seemed to occur in conjunction with draining a large jacuzzi tub and another standard size tub on the same day. However, after clearing out the pipe, I have filled both tubs, drained simultaneously, ran a hose with 1" volume at 50psi into one of the toilets drains, and flushed all of the other 3 toilets simultaneously. If ventilation was the cause of the backup, it surely would have happened then.

As a note, we are on well and septic, and the tank has recently been pumped and checked to make sure it was not the issue. We received a clean bill of health, and have a proper air gap of about a foot over the tank.

My working theory is TP getting caught on jagged tile debris, and the new low flow toilets not running enough water to properly move the TP down the drain pipe. From there, my wife theorizes that the heavier duty TP we've been buying may also be part of the issue, as it may not be breaking down as well as the thinner cheaper stuff. I'm thinking we shouldn't have these kind of issues period, and didn't have these types of issues before.

I'm looking at renting a piece of equipment like the following Water Jetter, and then a camera to inspect the pipes. I freely admit I am not an expert in this area, and welcome any input that may minimize pain and expense. This last time, running the drain cleaner through the regular toilet did not work, and had to open up an additional toilet to get the pipe open. Leaves me a bit weary and frustrated. I welcome all input. Thanks.

Water Jetter
http://www.ridgid.com/Tools/KJ2200-Water-Jetter

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Old 03-11-2012, 05:47 PM   #2
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Main drain backing up--suggestions


You might want to give in and hire a plumber for this job----Sometimes experience is what you need--
Ask your friends for a referral---a good plumber is a valuable thing.

A plumber will be along in a moment---Mike---

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Old 03-11-2012, 06:31 PM   #3
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Main drain backing up--suggestions


I think you need to rent the camera but not the jetter. IMO its too small. Find where the problem is with the camera, document it. Then approach your demolition contractor with the evidence. ask him to hire a plumber with a large jetter to solve your issue- assuming it something like tile.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:38 PM   #4
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Main drain backing up--suggestions


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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
You might want to give in and hire a plumber for this job----Sometimes experience is what you need--
Ask your friends for a referral---a good plumber is a valuable thing.

A plumber will be along in a moment---Mike---
Could be as simple as a bad flushing toilet to the beginning of a bad drain field notice I said beginning starting to fail if you’re on a drain field system. We run across this type of problem regularly, plumber comes out clears the main, 2 weeks later back up runs a camera finds nothing. But the stoppages continue, we go out a run a stress test on the field and find 9 out of 10 times it’s a drain field related issue. Be careful using a jetter especially if you have cast iron, you’ll do more harm than good, even a mini jetter.
Best to let an expert sewer and drain plumber look into it for you. And If it’s a construction issue kick it back to the contractor.
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Last edited by Javiles; 03-11-2012 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:48 PM   #5
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Main drain backing up--suggestions


Names of companies you are unhappy with are not permitted. nor is a link to such a site as you posted.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:26 PM   #6
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Main drain backing up--suggestions


I used to have that same machine,i personallyt dont consider it a main line machine.
Its good for 2" lines but for bigger stuff youd be better off having a drain cleaner with a real main line machine clear it out if it keeps coming back,just my experiance anyway
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:35 AM   #7
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Main drain backing up--suggestions


Quote:
Originally Posted by plummen View Post
I used to have that same machine,i personallyt dont consider it a main line machine.
Its good for 2" lines but for bigger stuff youd be better off having a drain cleaner with a real main line machine clear it out if it keeps coming back,just my experiance anyway
Yep, my boss just bought one, and i'm not entirely thrilled with it either.


In regards to OP, I agree with the e-plumber. You need to prove that the tile is causing the problem. Once you do, then you can get them to take care of it.

The only downfall is that if it's not tile in the drain causing the backups, you may need to hire a pro anyway, to tell you what the problem actually is.

It could very well just be the toilets if they're 1.28 GPF. Cheapest way to find out : Try dumping an extra gallon bucket of water down them for a month or so after using them and see if you still get a backup.

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