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Old 05-30-2010, 11:16 AM   #1
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Sewer not vented?


This old house is over 100 years old. City sewer.

I had a major clog due to very large tree roots coming in through a joint in the main sewer line under the basement floor and then one day suddenly breaking the ceramic clay pipe and filling it with mud.

During the digging the plumber discovered the sewer cleanout was under basement shower add-on (by the look of things, done some 75 years ago) and replaced it with a trap and cleanout. He also removed the shower drain and replaced the washer tub and plumbing so that now the washer doesn't drain into the tub, it drains into the cleanout.

Now my toilets don't flush quite right. I think the repair uncovered a different problem. Hint: in the past whenever I have run water in the second floor sink, I smell sewage. (My wife hasn't complained so I never did anything about it).

Before I call the plumber back out here, let me get opinions on this: I think it may be that my sewer vent is clogged and now that the shower drain is gone and the break in the main is sealed, the system is airtight, and the toilets won't flush in a vacuum?

Should I ask the plumber to install an air admittance valve or should I hire a chimney sweep to get up on the roof (3 stories - I'm not climbing that ladder) to try to clean out the vent?

Edited to add:

I found the vent up in the attic and it is so accessible that I think instead of messing with killing myself by falling off the roof I'll just cut it in two places and clean upwards and then clean downwards. I'll buy two repair couplings in the morning. Before I cut.

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Last edited by Hemingway; 05-30-2010 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:52 PM   #2
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Sewer not vented?


If you have been smelling sewer gas you have a health issue with your plumbing!! I think that you need to get a real plumber to look at your system, your post indicates that what your plumber has done is questionable.

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Old 06-01-2010, 01:13 PM   #3
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Sewer not vented?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemingway View Post
I found the vent up in the attic and it is so accessible that I think instead of messing with killing myself by falling off the roof I'll just cut it in two places and clean upwards and then clean downwards. I'll buy two repair couplings in the morning. Before I cut.
Oops. I started with the hacksaw and immediately found out these are metal (lead?) 1-1/2 inch pipes. Heh, they looked like PVC but it wouldn't have been used until the 1950's. Since the entire stack is made of threaded pipe, the only way in is via the roof. Darn.
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Old 06-01-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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Sewer not vented?


I don't think that you have a vent problem, you have a major problem in your underground line. If you want to cut the (galv. not lead) vent all you need is a sawzall and two Fernco couplings.

Like I said on my other reply you need a REAL plumber to fix your problem. You have something hooked up totally wrong and it's not going to get fixed by using the same person that put it in!
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:29 AM   #5
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Sewer not vented?


Quote:
Originally Posted by braindead View Post
I don't think that you have a vent problem
Okay last night I ran a 25' snake up and down from the 2nd floor sink and came up with no squirrel hairs or nest parts so unless the vent is blocked at the top of the screen, that probably isn't it.

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Originally Posted by braindead View Post
Like I said on my other reply you need a REAL plumber to fix your problem. You have something hooked up totally wrong and it's not going to get fixed by using the same person that put it in!
Well, I live in New Jersey, where good, responsive service is hard to find. I've used these guys before with good results, but they've never sent this particular guy. I could call the owner and ask him to honor his warranty on the repairs, but I think I'll call this particular guy first to give him a chance. That's what I would want if I worked on someone's job, let me try to fix my mistakes before calling my boss. In the end, I may need to call someone else, but what do you mean by REAL plumber? He has no complaints registered with the BBB? He's rated on Angie's list?
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:57 PM   #6
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Sewer not vented?


Hemingway: >>>washer tub and plumbing so that now the washer doesn't drain into the tub, it drains into the cleanout.<<<

It's things like this that makes me think that he has some quesionable ways of doing things, that hook up is against code and probably will cause sewer gas leakage.

Sewer gas is not only a health problem, but if it builds up enough it can cause an explosion.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:01 PM   #7
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Sewer not vented?


Quote:
Originally Posted by braindead View Post
Sewer gas is not only a health problem, but if it builds up enough it can cause an explosion.
It would probably cause death by asphyxiation long before the explosion though.


Hemingway: it sounds like you need somebody to simply inspect the entire system after you have given them a list of the problems.

Was the mainline augured when it was open?
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Old 06-09-2010, 04:23 PM   #8
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Sewer not vented?


I called the boss and he sent someone out no charge. The guy said he could inspect the vent but if the first floor toilet is flushing fine then the vent probably isn't the problem.

He checked the second floor toilet and did the hot water and dish washing detergent trick but recommends replacing the toilet because calcification has clogged the air holes. He said if I went down to home depot and bought the toilet, he would install it for free. So it doesn't sound like a run-around when he puts it like that.

With regard to the sewer main, I didn't ask if they had augered it, but when they dug up a large section of my basement floor to expose the sewer line, I saw the tree-branch sized root he cut out of the mess. So I had assumed that if he was going to go to all that trouble, he would check the line to see if he got it all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by braindead View Post
Sewer gas
He said the odor in the sink is not sewage, it is from the drain - soap and toothpaste not getting flushed out of the drain because we have low water pressure (a third problem I need to have addressed).

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