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Old 05-12-2013, 08:08 PM   #1
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


How do I know if my main drain line is clogged or if it is the drain vent?
When I run the washing machine, water is coming up from a pipe under the house... when I flush a toilet, water along with toilet paper comes up the same pipe.
We are on a "step system" with a holding tank that pumps uphill to the city lines when it reaches a certain level.
Thank you for any help you can provide.

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Old 05-12-2013, 08:15 PM   #2
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


Sounds like your drain piping or the soap foam causing the tank to back uo---

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Old 05-12-2013, 08:16 PM   #3
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


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Originally Posted by kingfisher1526 View Post
How do I know if my main drain line is clogged or if it is the drain vent?
When I run the washing machine, water is coming up from a pipe under the house... when I flush a toilet, water along with toilet paper comes up the same pipe.
We are on a "step system" with a holding tank that pumps uphill to the city lines when it reaches a certain level.
Thank you for any help you can provide.
either drain is clogged or pump is not working....ben sr
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:44 AM   #4
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


The city just checked the pump & it is working fine.

Should I try sticking a hose down the 3 vent pipes on the roof? Would that clear a clog in the main drain? . . . or, once the main drain is clogged, do I need to do something else ~ like call someone?

Unfortunately, the roof is wet today (rain in Oregon) and my husband is out of town. When I get on the roof, I feel like I'm on the Empire State Building..... Aaagh! But if a hose will do the trick, better me than a plumber I can't afford right now.

Thanks so much for your input. I truly appreciate it.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:32 PM   #5
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


i don't suggest going to the roof with a hose ....don't think its a vent ....could try running hose down drain where its backing up...may get lucky ..but you may need a snake...ben sr
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:40 PM   #6
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


Vent wouldn't be causing all this. It the main drain. Need a plumber with a drum machine or a guy who does hydrojetting.
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Old 05-15-2013, 03:34 PM   #7
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


I tried everything I could on my own, then called a plumber who cleared some very fine roots from the main drain line. He said to put some root killer in my toilet and hope for the best.

I asked him if I needed to replace the line and he said it could be pretty costly because it is at the very back of the house on a hillside with a small clearance in some areas. He said he could possibly cut the line altogether and put a new one above ground, but suggested just keeping an eye on it for now.

Now I'm left with a rather smelly hillside under the house with black plastic on top of it. Ew~I hope flies or critters aren't in the near future.

What do you think of the "keep an eye on it" suggestion . . . and how close of an eye do I need to keep? I don't relish the thought of crawling under the house very often . . .

Also, any ideas on getting rid of the smell? How about the root killers ~ are they all the same?

Thanks to everyone for your help on this.
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:14 PM   #8
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


For the smell, go to a pet store and get Natures Miriacal (or the generic brand).

For big areas I mix it with water and spray it with a garden sprayer.

It somehow eats organic material.... not just masks the odor for a little while.
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:20 PM   #9
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


here's what just happened the plumber with his cable went in and scraped the roots in the line basically its like pruning a tree, now the bare skin roots absorb more water with guess what nutrients, now they will come back thicker and stronger, you need to get rid of them now, there not going away better now then later.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


Update: 11 days later

So ..... I thought the problem was fixed: 11 days ago the plumber ran a huge snake through the line, pulled out some roots, had me flush the toilet & run around the house where we both listened as water went into the holding tank. Yay (at the time)

He agreed with the G R E A T DIY folks to put Root Killer in the line to prevent future problems, which I did according to the instructions. I then paid him $225 and was just happy to be able to flush the toilet without worrying I cleaned up under the house and then went out of town for 5 days, returning last Thursday. I'm telling you this to point out I have only used the line 6 days!!

Unfortunately, when the washing machine was emptying this morning, I heard a loud gurgle/bubble noise coming from the bathtub drain (as before, nothing came up). I went under the house and the pipes are trying to "burst at the seams" again ~ in other words, I can see water trying to come out of the capped lines (and succeeding somewhat) draining under the house. aaaaagh !@#$%^&*

I'm thinking the plumber may have just punched a hole through the roots and now it's clogged again? Should I call him back & ask him to do it again? Or is their a better solution? I'm at my wit's end and trying hard to hold back tears . . . do I run to town for the next 2 days to use the facilities until after the holiday weekend or let it leak under the house or what?

Does it ever get easier? Thank you for any advice you can give.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:05 PM   #11
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


Call him and let him know the rodding was not successful---he needs to know.

Another rodding might be all that is needed---more aggressive, hydro blasting might be called for--or the junk he broke free may have clogged up the pump.

Give him a shot----(to fix it---please don't shoot him)---Mike------
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:41 PM   #12
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


Definitely call him back. Another augering is in order. If I were the plumber, I'd also recommend having a camera run though the line if at all possible. Alot of information can be had by actually taking a look at things in there. Could be that maybe he did just punch a hole through it and an appropriate sized cutter head is all that is needed. However, nothing like getting an eye on it. Also, most root killers need to used within a certain time period after snaking the line...like within 24-48 hours. This is because when the roots are cut, the capillaries in the roots are open. Wait too long and they can "sap" over. good luck!

For odor? OdorXit.com

Last edited by JDC; 05-26-2013 at 07:44 PM. Reason: additional info
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:46 PM   #13
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


sometimes after running a snake if you don't go to the mainline or to the baffle on a septic system ..the clog just moves....call him back //ben sr
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:36 AM   #14
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


Earlier today (Sunday) I left a voice mail message for the plumber. He didn't call back so I'm hoping he'll understand my predicament & call tomorrow. Unfortunately, tomorrow is a holiday but you never know. He's a single plumber (as in he doesn't have any employees) and it's a small town ~ so hope, hope, hope ~

No one seems to care (except you guys) that I have this huge problem (huge to me). Everyone just says, "Well, you'll have to call a plumber . . . " My husband just stomped out of the house because I suggested his hobbies seemed to be more important than the crap under the house! And of course he leaves town again tomorrow . . . so I'm left to deal with this mess by myself ,,,, again.

I'm sorry to burden you with all of this but I can hardly stand it. Does anyone else cry when this kind of stuff happens? Sometimes it's just too much for me to bear.

I've got to go to sleep now ~ and hope I don't have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night . . . that last line is a joke ~

Goodnight. I'll let you know the outcome of this whole thing after it is resolved.

Last edited by kingfisher1526; 05-27-2013 at 12:40 AM. Reason: incorrect grammar
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:12 AM   #15
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Main Drain Clogged or Drain Vent?


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Earlier today (Sunday) I left a voice mail message for the plumber. He didn't call back so I'm hoping he'll understand my predicament & call tomorrow. Unfortunately, tomorrow is a holiday but you never know. He's a single plumber (as in he doesn't have any employees) and it's a small town ~ so hope, hope, hope ~

No one seems to care (except you guys) that I have this huge problem (huge to me). Everyone just says, "Well, you'll have to call a plumber . . . " My husband just stomped out of the house because I suggested his hobbies seemed to be more important than the crap under the house! And of course he leaves town again tomorrow . . . so I'm left to deal with this mess by myself ,,,, again.

I'm sorry to burden you with all of this but I can hardly stand it. Does anyone else cry when this kind of stuff happens? Sometimes it's just too much for me to bear.

I've got to go to sleep now ~ and hope I don't have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night . . . that last line is a joke ~

Goodnight. I'll let you know the outcome of this whole thing after it is resolved.
all to often the woman of the house is left to deal with these things....and yes many cry at least some of my customers do ...so I tell them relax this stuff happens all the time ..let me worry for you we'll fix it and have you going again in no time it always helps to add some humor to a bad situation...so even though your upset now ..relax this happens all the time...think of it this way....your #$%$@ is our bread and butter lets us know how it works out...ben sr

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