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Old 09-15-2008, 12:42 AM   #1
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wanting to buy a house, but it has a problem...


Hello,

My fiance and I are looking to buy a house out in the country. It is on well water and has a septic tank. Here is our problem. When ever any water in the house is turned on (the bathroom sink, the tub, or the kitchen sink) water backs up through a drain in the basement. It appears as though everything in the house except the toilet comes down a pipe in the basement that goes right into the floor (and then i have no clue where it goes from there) and ends up coming back up into a drain, in which is slowly drains out of the basement. That pipe that goes down into the basement floor is about 4 or 5 feet away from the pipe coming down from the toilet going out into the septic system. Can anyone offer any advice, suggestions, or anything as to why this is set up this way (as in why wouldnt everything be going into the septic), or what may be causing the back up (since we have no clue where that water would be going to to begin with), and how it could be fixed, and approximatly how much it may cost? I do not have a picture of the basement as it's not our house yet, but i am going to do my best to draw a picture of how its set up, and post it in order to hopefully help everything make sence (hopefully it doesnt confuse you more, i am NO artist! LOL)

Thanks in advance,
Caspurr
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:47 AM   #2
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wanting to buy a house, but it has a problem...


It simply sounds like something is stopped up. Usually not that simple. I would make an offer on the house contingent to a home inspection but also that the drain problem be repaired prior to the sell. How old is the house?

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Old 09-15-2008, 07:12 AM   #3
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wanting to buy a house, but it has a problem...


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Originally Posted by Caspurr View Post
Hello,

My fiance and I are looking to buy a house out in the country. It is on well water and has a septic tank. Here is our problem. When ever any water in the house is turned on (the bathroom sink, the tub, or the kitchen sink) water backs up through a drain in the basement. It appears as though everything in the house except the toilet comes down a pipe in the basement that goes right into the floor (and then i have no clue where it goes from there) and ends up coming back up into a drain, in which is slowly drains out of the basement. That pipe that goes down into the basement floor is about 4 or 5 feet away from the pipe coming down from the toilet going out into the septic system. Can anyone offer any advice, suggestions, or anything as to why this is set up this way (as in why wouldnt everything be going into the septic), or what may be causing the back up (since we have no clue where that water would be going to to begin with), and how it could be fixed, and approximatly how much it may cost? I do not have a picture of the basement as it's not our house yet, but i am going to do my best to draw a picture of how its set up, and post it in order to hopefully help everything make sence (hopefully it doesnt confuse you more, i am NO artist! LOL)

Thanks in advance,
Caspurr
Maybe the septic tank needs to be pumped out?
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:36 AM   #4
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wanting to buy a house, but it has a problem...


The water from all the fixtures (sinks and tubs) is considered gray water and it is legal to dump it on the ground. The house may have some sort of "french drain" that all this water is going to. Could be as simple as a 55 gallon drum full of stone buried in the ground. This could be remedied by disconnecting the drain line and tying into the main drain to the septic. Then cap the smaller line at or into the floor. It is obvious that the current line has a clog and may not be able to be cleared.
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:39 AM   #5
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wanting to buy a house, but it has a problem...


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The water from all the fixtures (sinks and tubs) is considered gray water and it is legal to dump it on the ground. The house may have some sort of "french drain" that all this water is going to. Could be as simple as a 55 gallon drum full of stone buried in the ground. This could be remedied by disconnecting the drain line and tying into the main drain to the septic. Then cap the smaller line at or into the floor. It is obvious that the current line has a clog and may not be able to be cleared.
How is corrugated piping capped? It is just screwing on the cap, or applying an epoxy also to prevent leakage?
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:05 PM   #6
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Handyman, where did the corrugated pipe come from? I didn't see it in the original post. If I had to "cap" this type line, I would cut it flush with the floor, push some rags into it to about 3 or 4" and use cement to bring it even with the floor. Since the line is not going to a sewer main, there would be no chance of the rags clogging anything up.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:33 PM   #7
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Handyman, where did the corrugated pipe come from? I didn't see it in the original post. If I had to "cap" this type line, I would cut it flush with the floor, push some rags into it to about 3 or 4" and use cement to bring it even with the floor. Since the line is not going to a sewer main, there would be no chance of the rags clogging anything up.
Sorry, when I heard "french drain," I just think "corrugated piping."

The main reason I asked was because my neighbor and I recently had some drainage work done between our houses, which is very narrow.

We had 4 catch basins put in. Two direct water to the street, while 2 direct water to his dry well. His dry well also receives water from one of 4 downspouts from his gutter, his sump, and water from his small backyard.

We had Hanna go through last week and dumped about 8" of rain in less than 1 day. As I suspected and discussed with him before the storm, his dry well can overfill and then water would backflow out of the two catch basins.

They did. That's why I was asking how corrugated piping can be capped. I know they sell caps for corrugated piping, and I even had the same thought that you had about stuffing rags into them.

I'm just wondering to myself right now whether the backflow was mainly due to this crazy Hanna storm, and won't be repeated often, if at all, or should I just go ahead and remedy the situation. This would entail capping off this corrugated pipe and try to run a new pipe from the catch basins through my backyard to an existing drain line further down that transports the water from my gutters.

These two catch basins though, don't drain too much water because the area is small and the grade directs water away anyway.

I know ideally, it would be the latter, but I have improved the grading on the side of my house so even with backflow, the water should still move away.

I also know that if I ever encounter this situation, that I can just open the lid of the catch basin and just stuff the corrugated piping right and and back support it with pavers to make sure it holds. Quick emergency fix.

Last edited by handy man88; 09-15-2008 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 09-15-2008, 03:23 PM   #8
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wanting to buy a house, but it has a problem...


Hard question to answer since you never know what or when Mother Nature will hit you. Guess you would need to consider the worse case scenario and do what you need accordingly.
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Old 09-15-2008, 04:13 PM   #9
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wanting to buy a house, but it has a problem...


To answer TazinCR:

we are currently in negotiations for the house, it was the house inspection that allowed us to find this problem with the drain. The house is about 92 years old, give or take. We asked the seller to repair the problem, along with a few others that came up during the home inspection, and he has refused to do anything other than fix the leaking toilet. This is why are wondering how much fixing an issue like that would cost, because it could play a huge role on if we would still want to buy the house or not. Or how much to ask him to come down on his price if he isn't going to fix it.

To answer handy man88:

I don't see how the septic would have anything to do with it backing up like that since the water is not going to the septic tank. It may have at one point (due to there being a cap on the septic pipe) but at some point, for one reason or another (possibly because if you look at the pic i drew running the pipes to where the septic has a cap would block getting into the basement) it does not run to the septic anymore.

To answer/comment majakdragon:

AHHH yes "french drain" that is what the inspector said the water was most likely going into. As soon as i read that i remembered him saying that. My concern is how much would running the line into the septic cost...and why would that not alraedy be done? Especially since the septic tank is fairly new (only a couple years old) are there reasons why one would NOT be able to do that?

Thanks for all your input/advice guys...keep it comin'
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Old 09-15-2008, 07:05 PM   #10
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wanting to buy a house, but it has a problem...


Glad I could use words you were familiar with. I am guessing that the line that does not go to the septic, has been there for a long time. I know people who had waterlines in their homes for a few years before installing a toilet. Another reason could be that the owner did not really understand septic systems. Some people are under the impression that you need to 'baby" the system. This could translate to not running all the house drains to the system, as done in this house. As you admit, the drawing is not of much help in figuring out the exact solution. If possible, I would see if there was a way to cut the current line and install tees/elbows to get to and connect to the drain to the septic. I would be a bit worried about someone who doesn't want to do any repairs if he also won't lower the price. Last time I was house hunting, I found a deal like this. All the drains under the house, in a 12" crawlspace, were leaking and the guy wanted an outrageous price and would not come down. I bought a place a few miles away for half the price and he is still trying to sell this mess he has.

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