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jamieblosser 06-16-2011 09:59 AM

Plumbing leak in basement - HELP
Ok, I'm new to this, but could use some help. My kitchen, 1/2 bath and utility room feed into a main drain line that runs through the basement to the wet wall. Last year I finished that part of the basement and put up drywall, and the drain line runs behind the drywall. Today the carpet around that wall is soaked.

This happened once before when the plumbing got backed up due to a clog somewhere in the line. I assume that there is a leak or two at the top of the pipe, which only becomes a problem in the case of a clog. At that time, the sink itself got backed up and I took care of it with a plunger - clog dislodged, drain pipe emptied, leak disappeared. (Surprised it as so easy!) If that's the only problem I'm inclined to let sleeping dogs lie - after all, to access the pipes I'll have to tear out that whole wall.

Now this time I'm not sure what the problem is. I don't KNOW if there is a clog somewhere - the sink is not backed up, at least not yet, though this could come later. Maybe it's just the leak at the top, which will go away when the clog goes away. I'm deathly afraid it may be a new, active leak.

Is there any way to solve this problem that doesn't involve accessing the pipe itself, i.e. tearing out my whole basement wall?

Any help is appreciated, thanks.

Ishmael 06-16-2011 11:32 AM

The water is most likely dripping from a loose or improperly closed threaded clean-out plug in the main drain. Typically they won't leak unless there's some back pressure and pooling inside the pipe - a clog

1) You should always leave access to any clean-outs along the length of the pipe in the basement - lesson learned.

2) Is there a clean-out in the main drain outside the house (usually near the foundation wall)? You can open it there and either snake the pipe, or get someone to run a camera down to find out why it's clogged.

3) If there's no outside access, you can pull (unbolt and remove) a 1st floor toilet and try to snake the drain through that. Make sure there's no standing water in a 1st floor tub or shower before you pull that toilet, though; if there is, it'll come flooding out onto the floor when you lift the toilet.

jamieblosser 06-16-2011 11:44 AM

Re: Ishmael
No, I don't think its a cleanout thread. I put up the wall myself and there are none of those behind it. There are two 90 degree elbow joints that I put in myself when I redirected the pipe, and I'm pretty sure the leaks are coming from one of those, which I must not have put on securely or something.

Re: snaking. I have a standard toilet augur, but I can't imagine that's long enough to reach all the way down there....

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