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scottl31 11-15-2010 03:52 PM

Waste from other toilet?
 
I tried looking this up but could not find an answer.

I was checking my crawl space to make sure everything is OK and I notice evidence of a little drip under one toilet. I yell to my wife to flush it and sure enough it drips a few drops every flush.

I pull it out to fix it. I clean the wax from the flange and stick a rag in the drain. I take the toilet outside to clean it up. It's late in the day and I don't feel like going out to get new wax so since we have two toilets, I wait until the next day.

Ready to reinstall. I pull out the rag to start to put the closet bolts on. I find the rag is soaked. I look inside and see evidence of water, paper and a piece of "waste" at the bottom of the "J" shape of the drain. I'm thinking this came up from the street, but how? I recently snaked the line so I doubted it.

So I bring the hose in through the window and wash it all down. I go just outside the bathroom window where the mushroom is and tell my wife to run water down the drain. It appears to run freely.

As I'm installing the bolts in the flange, I hear my little girl using the other toilet which is on the other side of the same wall and offset about 3 feet. I wonder if it came from that toilet. I wait for her to flush and cover the drain just in case with just enough of one edge uncovered to see if anything happened. Sure enough some water and paper bubbled up there and left another piece of "waste" at the bottom of the "J" shape of the drain.

Does this sound in any way normal or do I have huge problem?

House built in 1956 and the pipe is cast iron with an inside diameter of 3.5"

Sorry this was so long, but any help greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Scott

braindead 11-15-2010 04:26 PM

You have a partial clog in the line that both are connected to, it needs to be snaked out maybe the whole distance to the connection.

I don't have a clue what you call a mushroom?

scottl31 11-15-2010 05:03 PM

It's the sewer cleanout, it's shaped like a tall mushroom.

I was looking at the pipes under the house. The output drains are pointed right at each other but slant down from the "J" joint to form a "V" where it joins the main line. They are pretty close together.

I wonder if the toilet flushes with such force that a bit of stuff splashes up into the other toilet line?

TheEplumber 11-15-2010 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scottl31 (Post 534826)
It's the sewer cleanout, it's shaped like a tall mushroom.

I was looking at the pipes under the house. The output drains are pointed right at each other but slant down from the "J" joint to form a "V" where it joins the main line. They are pretty close together.

I wonder if the toilet flushes with such force that a bit of stuff splashes up into the other toilet line?

Because the fixture cross it has a "v" shape to it, it shouldn't flush across. As braindead said- you have a partial blockage below the "v"

"Mushroom"s a new one:eek:

scottl31 11-15-2010 10:30 PM

OK, well I remembered wrong. It doesn't slope to a V. There is none or very little slope from each toilet. It's a straight shot across from one to the other. See pictutre.

My toilets have a strong flush so some stuff goes all the way across. I imagine the toilets of the fifties did not flush with as much strength.

Should I have this changed to a V type of deal?

Thanks,
Scott

http://home.comcast.net/%7Escottl44/DSCF5876.JPG

TheEplumber 11-15-2010 10:43 PM

IMO too much work to change it. Nowdays we use what is called a fixture cross. The branch lines are much more directional then a double san. tee which is what you have. If you decide to change it, do not use a double san tee or a double wye. That is most likely what the "know it all" box store will stock.

scottl31 11-16-2010 01:18 AM

So if I change it, I need a "fixture cross"? Is there a picture of what that looks like? Since I have cast iron, would I need it to be cast iron or can ABS be used and hook in to my existing cast iron line? Also, any idea how to get those joints apart and how to re-join them with the new parts?

Both toilets get pretty even use. I guess I would think about changing it if we only used one of them occasionally, letting stuff pile up in the pipe.

Thanks,
Scott

TheEplumber 11-16-2010 07:03 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here's your picture--
You could cut in a abs fitting but in your case it will take a lot of work. I suggest you keep your current arrangement.

Homerepairguy 11-16-2010 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scottl31 (Post 535046)

From a layman's point of view looking at your photo, it sure seems like a long way for the water to go to get into the opposite pipe. Especially considering that the ID of the pipes are 3-1/2". Seems like the force would have to be pretty strong for sopping wet toilet paper to bridge the gap. Maybe verify that you don't have a partial blockage below the cross joint like others have mentioned?

HRG

Bud Cline 11-16-2010 08:40 PM

I think you worry too much. There is nothing wrong with that arrangement and if it has worked all these years leave it alone. One pipe is serving as a shelf but not much more can accumulate there and if both fixtures are used about equally - no big deal. Remember, crap runs downhill and gravity is your friend.:)

If there is no blockage downstream, no big deal.

Oh, and toilets of yester-year used almost six times more water with four times more head pressure than today. You're fine.:yes::thumbup:

scottl31 11-16-2010 09:58 PM

Thanks guys.

You are right about worrying. If I went under there and the toilets weren't leaking, then I never would have had an issue to bring up.

I guess I worry a bit since if you have a problem down there, you usually don't find out until it's sort of too late and some major damage or stinkage mess has occurred.

Can I use a drain auger to go down there from the toilet drain or up from the sewer cleanout, which is just outside under the windows between the two bathrooms. From the toilet drain to the cleanout outside is maybe 10 feet, no more than 15.

Would that be sufficient to check/clear any partial blockage in the line?

Thanks!
Scott

Homerepairguy 11-16-2010 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scottl31 (Post 535582)
Can I use a drain auger to go down there from the toilet drain or up from the sewer cleanout, which is just outside under the windows between the two bathrooms. From the toilet drain to the cleanout outside is maybe 10 feet, no more than 15.

Since sewer cleanouts normally point downstream in a Y config (at least mine all do), I doubt you could send a snake upstream toward the toilets from there.

How about if you open the cleanout and flush some "clean" water down from a toilet. Will you be able to see how fast the water flows downstream by looking down the cleanout?

On the inititial flush you could just fill the tank part way and turn the water off to the tank to prevent too much overflow from the cleanout if overflow happens. Increase the water level in the tank gradually until the full tank is tested.

Gushing flow would seem to indicate that the flow from the toilets to the clean out is good anyway.

HRG

scottl31 11-17-2010 01:18 AM

I have flushed clean water and I even ran a hose into the one that's still open. It really seems to flow freely and normally.

I'm tempted to have someone drop a golf ball down the open one and see if if gets to the cleanout. Probably not such a good idea.

Maybe Bud's right. Too much worrying.

Thanks,
Scott

Bud Cline 11-17-2010 11:33 AM

IF, if if, there would be a slight downstream obstruction then adding to it with a golf ball may only create more issues.

Sometimes joints can (over time) snag debris, sometimes vegetation can grow into the pipe via an underground pipe joint, sometimes egress pipes can shift from expansion and contraction of soils with seasonal changes, sometimes foreign objects like toys or diapers can cause a slight blockage.

The thing to do may be to send a snake/grinder downstream to a point you know to be the end-of-the-line where it may dump into a continuing egress if you think things are not up to par.:)

scottl31 11-17-2010 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bud Cline (Post 535837)
The thing to do may be to send a snake/grinder downstream to a point you know to be the end-of-the-line where it may dump into a continuing egress if you think things are not up to par.:)

Can I accomplish that with a drain auger? I have a 25ft. one, more than long enough to reach from the toilet drain to the sewer cleanout outside.

Also, as I mentioned, when I look into the cleanout and have someone flush, it shows what appears to be a good strong(normal as far as I can tell) flow. The same if I run a hose down it.

Thanks for your help,
Scott


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