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MattWhite 08-04-2010 12:21 PM

Very Strange Shower Drain Problem
Hi this is my first post and I am very confused about this problem.
I'm not a plumber but usually quite good at fixing things around the house.
This problem has got me stumped.
Apparently this has been happening since the shower was installed. A couple people have come by to fix it but its never been fixed.

Here goes... When starting the shower, water does not drain and it builds up to around an inch on the shower floor. Sometimes it leaks (I think through the shower wall joints, more silicone should fix this problem) under the shower creeping out on the tiled floor.

After between 3-5 mins, the drain starts to work normally, all the water drains properly and continues to drain properly until the next shower at which point the problem starts over again.

I have noticed by pouring a bottle of drain cleaner through the drain it lessened the waiting time for the drain to start working properly.
I just dont understand how it could not work at all for the first few mins of the shower and then suddenly start draining properly every single time.

The only thing I can think of is a clog, but that still doesnt make sense to me because it does start work perfectly after a few mins when the water builds up and then runs properly.

Or some kind of pressure issue with the style of the pipes, p-trap etc. But again, after the pressure builds up and all the water drains, you would expect it to clog up again and build up pressure.

Im really lost.
This is a one piece shower with a bunch of jets, steamer, radio, telephone, lights. Not that any of those things would have anything to do with this kind of problem.

Any help would be much appreciated.


PaliBob 08-04-2010 12:54 PM

Matt, Welcome to the Forum


Originally Posted by MattWhite (Post 480321)
........this has been happening since the shower was installed

This is not due to a normal clog that somehow keeps recurring but is caused by a faulty installation. Get the original installer to correct the problem as it may require digging into the drain and vent connections.

MattWhite 08-04-2010 12:58 PM

The shower is installed on the main level of the house. If I go downstairs, I can easily access the pipe coming from the shower. I already had to seal it because it was leaking all over the basement. That problem is fixed. The ceiling is open in the basement and the pipes are all easily accessible. But I do not know the details of a proper installation or what could be wrong with this one to cause this effect.

PaliBob 08-04-2010 01:24 PM


Originally Posted by MattWhite (Post 480344) was leaking all over the basement....

Matt, I can't see the mistakes made by the installer nor would I be able to analyze what were those mistakes but IMO you have a legal issue with the installer. He did a crappy job installing the shower and he should make it right.


MattWhite 08-04-2010 01:28 PM

Unfortunately my mother had this shower installed years ago, she cant contact the person who installed it initially but has had a couple of different people come by to fix it but they did not fix it. She now has the house up for sale and was hoping to have this fixed before it sells.

epson 08-04-2010 01:57 PM

You keep mentioning that they came by to fix it, what did they fix? Did you try and snake the pipe to see if maybe there was some debris lodged in the pipe like maybe a rag that the installer put in and forgot to remove before completing the installation. I have come across this many times. Its just a thought.

MattWhite 08-04-2010 02:03 PM

I wasnt in the country when it was installed or when "they" came by to fix it. My mother doesn't know either, she just knows she paid someone to fix it, and it never got fixed. I havent tried to snake the pipes, I dont see how a clog could consistantly stop it from draining initially for 3-5 mins. Maybe I can post of picture of it when I get home. Shows the P-trap and surrounding area.

LateralConcepts 08-04-2010 02:14 PM

Sounds like some type of debris, test plug, or other object stuck in the line. You need to try to clear it with a snake. If there is an object stuck in the trap, or further down the line, you may not be able to clear it with a cable in which case you would need to re-plumb it. Also if the object is very substantial, you don't want to push it into the main and cause a bigger problem.

Is it a 2" line?

Pictures from underneath will also help determine if something's not plumbed correctly.

PaliBob 08-04-2010 02:17 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Matt, Since this problem has been there from day one, the installation had to be bad. Showers have to be vented.

This problem has to be fixed now. The new buyers will most likely not see the problem until their home inspector finds the problem which will cause the sale to come to a screeching halt until the problem can be solved at who knows what cost and hard feelings.

MattWhite 08-04-2010 02:33 PM

I'll take a closer look when I get home, but I dont think the shower is vented. I believe I understand the principle. Its like one of those large cans of juice, you should pierce the can on both ends to allow the juice to flow freely. Is that the same idea for the shower?

PaliBob 08-04-2010 03:02 PM

Yep, Note that the vent connects to the main stack above the level of any other drain.

PaliBob 08-05-2010 05:46 AM

Matt, Here is a 2001 City Plumbing Installations pdf that may help with the venting issue. See p6 & p10:
City Plumbing Code-vent


DannyT 05-21-2011 11:53 AM

how old was the shower that was replaced? How old is the house?

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