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Old 02-27-2010, 09:14 PM   #1
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water backing up from main drain


Help! We are getting ready to put new flooring in kitchen, family room, living and furnace room. We have had 2 or 3 incidents of water backing up from main drain in furnace room. Plumbers and roto rooter have been out and supposedly fixed the clog. They say since the house is 40 yrs old have it roto rootered once a year and keep pouring drain cleaner once a mo. Has anyone had this problem and are there any permanent solutions before we ruin more carpet and flooring?


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Old 02-27-2010, 09:45 PM   #2
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water backing up from main drain


If your drains work after they are snaked and deterorate over time then something is causing a plug to form.

Potential causes:
Slope too low or negative. I've worked on houses where someone needed a few inches at the end of the drain pipe and pushed it up a bit higher than it's starting point. A good slope for a drain is 1/4 inch per ft or 2.5 inches in 10 ft. You can still get it to drain down to 1/8 inch per ft but that is about the limit.

Slope too great. The solids in your blackwater need to float/wash down the pipe. If the slope is too great then the water drains away and the solids are left.

Constricted flow. I've been under houses where someone ran out of 4 inch pipe and used a 2 inch pipe half way.....DUH no wonder it plugged. If the pipe wasn't buried deeply enough outside of your house and a loaded cement truck drove over it you have a constricting problem

Crack/ broken/ root/ forign object penetration. There may be something catching the flow and plugging it up. A home inspection service or plumber may have a snakable video camera they can shove down the pipe to look for a problem This is what I'd do next if I were you

Too many solids in the pipe. somebody may be dumping grease, too much garbage disposal, female products, paper, cardboard, toys, watches, tooth brushes, bones, plastic, bars if soap etc (rats snakes, bugs fall under this category.) It's ok to shudder at the last thought. In older homes they sometimes run the downspouts into the wastewater. You could be plugging this line with leaves and pine needles and creating a conduit for rodents to enter your home from the sewer

Inadequate ventilation. Got to have air in to have water out Take a hose to your roof . These pipes should NEVER fill up. They go to the wastewater line to let air in and stink out

Crappy pipes call a plumber to give you a BID to correct the problem.

Hope this gives you someplace to look for your problem

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Old 02-27-2010, 09:54 PM   #3
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water backing up from main drain


I'm assuming that ROTO ROOTER told you to dump drain-o down there?

A plumber (good one) would never tell you to do that. Those cleaners are CAUSTIC and will cause further damage to your piping.

Did anyone offer to run a camera? If this is a consistent problem, the line needs to be looked at from inside to see if there's a problem inside the building, or outside the building, and pinpoint where the problem is exactly.
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:34 PM   #4
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water backing up from main drain


when is it backing up when running washing machine or flushing toilet?
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:24 PM   #5
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water backing up from main drain


I would get it cammed. Even once it's fixed, still good to know how it looks in there for piece of mind.
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Old 02-28-2010, 02:14 PM   #6
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water backing up from main drain


have you determined for sure its a problem with the main and not a branch line? it would be easier to narrow down the problem with more details
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Old 02-28-2010, 03:52 PM   #7
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water backing up from main drain


rpowers OP (Original Poster #1) IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) it's a root problem. If it were something else, the problem would be steady. Not intermittent. But roots that penetrate the sewer line tend to grow back after a couple of months. And are fed by the water. The only long-term solution is to reset the line. I know it's expensive. But the other option is to have the Roto-Rooter guy (I'm old fashioned, not politically correct.) every Six Months.! (Both. Mad and Hopeful.)!

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