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Old 04-01-2010, 11:31 PM   #1
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Washer drain overflow


I am pretty sure I have this problem already solved but I figured I'd post about it anyway.

I have a house with a 1998 addition to it which includes a laundry room. It seems when the plumbing was put in, they failed to install an air vent. Every other drain the house seems to have an air vent to itself or very near by. However, the washer's drain has none what so ever.

I first called a plumbing co. down the road since they were closest. After 3 days I gave up just trying to get an estimate out of them.

When the guy did come and look (but never gave me a price), he stated I needed to add the air vent and put in P-trap. Well, after cutting a hole to remove some wet insulation this evening from the backup of days ago which was causing a musty odor, I reached down in the wall and can feel a p-trap so that doesn't need to be done. Thankfully I was in the next room when it began backing up so very minimal water ended up on the floor and in the wall. Plus I just happened to cut the hole *right* where the tiny bit of wet insulation was.

This should be killer easy to do. The way they ran the pipe is out of the wall to outdoors, then it goes to a 90 degree bend, then goes to a pipe entering the ground.

This is going to be very straight forward. I just need to remove that 90 degree bend if possible without cutting the pipes (or cutting if needed), replacing it with a "T" junction, and adding a pipe straight up and adding support for it from the side of the house.

The reason why I think the plumbing worked until I came along is from what I have been told, older washers discharged the water at a slower rate than newer ones do. Therefore, my washer of less than 2 years old is overloading possibly undersized and definitely non-vented piping.

Anyhow, the reason I posted this was to just ask folks here if they have ever come across this type of setup and if adding a vent was the miracle fix.

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Old 04-02-2010, 07:15 AM   #2
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Washer drain overflow


The inlet must be at least 2 inch pipe and must begin at least 18 inches above the p-trap outlet. The washing machine hose must fit loosely.

I'm not sure how far you can go beyond the p-trap before reaching larger diameter drain pipe.

Aside from this, yes, venting will help.

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Old 04-02-2010, 09:07 AM   #3
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I'm confused. ......

If you can't SEE the p-trap, and it's inside the wall, how do you know the vent isn't inside the wall? It sounds like nothing here is exposed.
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Old 04-02-2010, 11:19 AM   #4
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I'd see a vent pipe going through the roof if it was inside of the wall.

Upon cutting the hole in the sheet rock and removing the bit of wet insulation, I can see the side of the standpipe now and it says 2". But I think the drain outside (after the P-trap) is possibly less than 2 inches, I will have to measure it and see. Still trying to get the musty odor from inside the wall to subside before I put in an access panel. I am hoping it airs out okay so I don't have to end up tearing out the entire wall to replace insulation. It all feels dry inside of there now from what I can tell but still smells musty. I have a box fan blowing directly into the hole I cut to help it air out.

Last edited by Cubey; 04-02-2010 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 04-02-2010, 03:04 PM   #5
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I'd see a vent pipe going through the roof if it was inside of the wall.
Not if they tied it into another vent in the attic.
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:30 PM   #6
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There's no way it could be tied in to another vent. It would have to go about 20 feet away. They simply didn't put one in. Both bathrooms and perhaps also the kitchen all have their own. There's at least 2, maybe 3 total. The washer drain is a good 20ft from the next nearest drain/air vent. I can tell what it's doing. It's going from the washer hookup box, down to a P-trap, then exiting the house to a pipe in the ground which leads to the sewer pipe that leads to the septic tank.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:04 PM   #7
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Well, it seems the air vent didn't do any good. And the drain pipe is some non-standard crap with clamps. I suspect i am going to have to run a new drain pipe and tie it into the main sewer pipe (3" i think?) just before it enters the septic tank.

If at all possible, I'd like to do it myself. The hardest part will be cutting a new hole in the wall to run the pipe out of the wall beside the washer rather than directly behind it. If I don't do it in that fashion, I would have to run about 100-125ft of pipe the way around the garage to get to the main sewer drain pipe. That's a LOT of trenching to do and a lot of pipe to lay!

But if i run the pipe out of the other wall (the washer will still fit into the area for it), I will have to run only about 25ft of pipe to reach the main drain. Anyhow, the worst aspect I see about it would be having to tie into the sewer pipe if I were to completely put it underground (aside from where it exits the house).

So, I am wondering, would this diagram I drew work for it? The concept behind this diagram is so that I can simply remove the clean out cap, install a threaded to slip fitting, and tie it in that way rather than digging a huge hole, cutting the existing sewer pipe and putting in a tee in order to tie in. Naturally, I would keep a clean out cap on top of the assembly, as shown.

Since the drain is lower than the standpipe for the washer, even if the water would technically have to go "up" to enter the main drain pipe, it should still drain just fine since the entry point is higher than the drain point. Is my logic flawed? After all, with a trap, the waste water has to go "up" a pipe too.. which is part of the trap. My understanding is so long as the inlet is higher than the outlet, it will work properly.

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Old 04-07-2010, 08:26 PM   #8
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Washer drain overflow


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubey View Post
I'd see a vent pipe going through the roof if it was inside of the wall.

Upon cutting the hole in the sheet rock and removing the bit of wet insulation, I can see the side of the standpipe now and it says 2". But I think the drain outside (after the P-trap) is possibly less than 2 inches, I will have to measure it and see. Still trying to get the musty odor from inside the wall to subside before I put in an access panel. I am hoping it airs out okay so I don't have to end up tearing out the entire wall to replace insulation. It all feels dry inside of there now from what I can tell but still smells musty. I have a box fan blowing directly into the hole I cut to help it air out.
Adding an air vent (the way you described it) will definitely help. But I doubt if you'll be able to do the installation according to Code. My advice would be that in this case you should call in a professional. Correcting someone else's mistakes (or lack of knowledge) is much more difficult than doing a job right in the first place!
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:53 PM   #9
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Adding an air vent (the way you described it) will definitely help. But I doubt if you'll be able to do the installation according to Code. My advice would be that in this case you should call in a professional. Correcting someone else's mistakes (or lack of knowledge) is much more difficult than doing a job right in the first place!
Well, I did already try adding the air vent. Being in the county, it's kind of "anything goes" to a certain degree, so long as you aren't dumping black/gray water directly onto the soil. Anyhow, the vent didn't do any good. There is something wrong in the substandard piping they used (thin black pipe that uses clamps at it's fittings!) which goes to God knows where. And it seems to be very slow draining, either due to a clog somewhere beyond the 25ft my pipe auger can reach, or it's crushed someplace, or has roots in it, or it's draining into a damaged old septic tank. Regardless, as you kind of said it's a lost cause to try to fix that old pipe line. It needs to be capped off and left alone.

That's why I am now considering the diagram above about adding a new 2" drain directly to the main sewer pipe that goes to the currently used septic tank. I know that is what that pipe is for sure. That way, I will know the water is going where it should and having all 2" pipe between the washer and the main sewer line should allow it to drain perfectly, along with a 2" air vent.

If I can't do the new drain pipe like I showed with it coming back above ground in order to connect to the current cleanout opening... with a new cleanout opening placed above it... I'll just have to run as much pipe as I can to the main sewer line, then get a plumber to come tie it in for me. I can at least dug up the dirt so they won't have to do that, which will save some labor cost.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:08 PM   #10
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Washer drain overflow


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubey View Post
Well, it seems the air vent didn't do any good. And the drain pipe is some non-standard crap with clamps. I suspect i am going to have to run a new drain pipe and tie it into the main sewer pipe (3" i think?) just before it enters the septic tank.

If at all possible, I'd like to do it myself. The hardest part will be cutting a new hole in the wall to run the pipe out of the wall beside the washer rather than directly behind it. If I don't do it in that fashion, I would have to run about 100-125ft of pipe the way around the garage to get to the main sewer drain pipe. That's a LOT of trenching to do and a lot of pipe to lay!

But if i run the pipe out of the other wall (the washer will still fit into the area for it), I will have to run only about 25ft of pipe to reach the main drain. Anyhow, the worst aspect I see about it would be having to tie into the sewer pipe if I were to completely put it underground (aside from where it exits the house).

So, I am wondering, would this diagram I drew work for it? The concept behind this diagram is so that I can simply remove the clean out cap, install a threaded to slip fitting, and tie it in that way rather than digging a huge hole, cutting the existing sewer pipe and putting in a tee in order to tie in. Naturally, I would keep a clean out cap on top of the assembly, as shown.

Since the drain is lower than the standpipe for the washer, even if the water would technically have to go "up" to enter the main drain pipe, it should still drain just fine since the entry point is higher than the drain point. Is my logic flawed? After all, with a trap, the waste water has to go "up" a pipe too.. which is part of the trap. My understanding is so long as the inlet is higher than the outlet, it will work properly.

I wouldn't guarantee that diagram to work at all.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:13 PM   #11
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I wouldn't guarantee that diagram to work at all.
Okay.... well, then it should IF.. rather than having it come back up above ground at the clean out cover, having it directly tie into the main sewer line... that should do it. There's no other way it could be done.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:23 PM   #12
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Okay.... well, then it should IF.. rather than having it come back up above ground at the clean out cover, having it directly tie into the main sewer line... that should do it. There's no other way it could be done.
If you're on a septic tank, your sewer line shouldn't be that deep anyway.

For trap and standpipe requirements :

trap must be installed above floor, no less than 6 inches and no more than 12 inches.

Standpipe for trap shall be no less than 18" and no more than 30"

Trap arm length (distance between trap outlet and vent) shall be no less than twice the pipe diameter (in your case 2" pipe diameter, 4" minimum between trap and vent)
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:39 PM   #13
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If you're on a septic tank, your sewer line shouldn't be that deep anyway.

For trap and standpipe requirements :

trap must be installed above floor, no less than 6 inches and no more than 12 inches.

Standpipe for trap shall be no less than 18" and no more than 30"

Trap arm length (distance between trap outlet and vent) shall be no less than twice the pipe diameter (in your case 2" pipe diameter, 4" minimum between trap and vent)
I'd probably just use a new standpipe since it would have a new hole in the wall to run the drain. The current trap is only a few inches above the floor. But I know that isn't the problem. I have run a hose directly into the drain (with the 90 degree bend removed outdoors, so it has no trap) and it still drains like crap.

I would have to put a new trap as well since the existing in-wall one is pointing out the wrong wall for where I want it to go. Being in the corner like it is and how the garage is built in relation to the house/laundry room, I can't help but to have to run it out of the other wall, unless I were to have two holes cut into the garage to run the pipe through the corner in the garage and back outside which can then enter the ground and lead to the main sewer line. That would be messy and a waste of time and energy. I guess I need go get a plumber down here to evaluate the situation.

I tried to do that for the vent pipe but after 3 days of trying to get a price out of the guy who came and looked, I told them never mind and gave up trying... nor did they ever try to contact me about it. They acted like complete idiots at that company so I won't ever call them again for anything.

So I have to try to find someone else who's willing to drive 15 miles down here to look at it.
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:15 AM   #14
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... even if the water would technically have to go "up" to enter the main drain pipe, it should still drain just fine since the entry point is higher than the drain point. (diagram follows in original post above)
You cannot have the waste water go uphill or over a hump except by using a holding tank and ejector pump.

As far as P traps go, there is something about the way water flows that keeps solid matter (such as lint from a washing machine) from accumulating there most of the time, but I don't have much knowledge of hydraulics to understand why.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:52 PM   #15
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You cannot have the waste water go uphill or over a hump except by using a holding tank and ejector pump.

As far as P traps go, there is something about the way water flows that keeps solid matter (such as lint from a washing machine) from accumulating there most of the time, but I don't have much knowledge of hydraulics to understand why.
I will be using some kind of a lint trap, even if it's something as simple as a tie on one that you can buy for about $1: http://www.kitchendance.com/walitr.html

Since the p-trap is going to be outside of the wall in how I will have to run the new drain, I will be putting one that can be taken apart in case a clog does occur there, like sink ones do.

There is an expensive fancy filter such as this for filtering lint but I think that may be going to too much of an extreme: http://www.bonanzle.com/booths/septi...Machine_Filter

The $1 one should do just fine. I will just have to remember to check it often (every 3-5 loads) or it could back up due to too much lint.

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