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Old 07-19-2013, 11:05 PM   #1
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water issues today - toilet overflow


Hi All,
We just recently bought a new house and were shocked with the following plumbing problem this morning.

When our washer was running/discharging water, first floor toilet started overflowing. It's like the washer water was all going into the toilet.

When the plumber showed up, he found no issues and everything was flushing normally. The only proof of a water overflow are the wet hardwood floors near the toilet area

I think the issue was likely an airlock and I'm wondering how this issue can be eliminated? Even though we have since ran the washer and dryer without any issues there is always a concern that the overflow may happen again as nothing was done about the problem.

The photo attached shows the set up. It seems that on the very right there is a vent pipe which serves as a vent for the washer drain, toilet drain (1st floor) and powder room sink drain, in that order.

I suspect we'll need a vent pipe installed for the washer drain?

Thanks.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:29 PM   #2
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water issues today - toilet overflow


First off it is a New to you. Second was this house sitting empty for a very long time, and was it a foreclosure? If it was sitting empty for a long time, you need to get a plumber in there with a cutting tool, to go through the main waste out to the sewer, to cut out any crud and tree roots if any, that are in the pipe.

If it was a foreclosure, who knows what the previous homeowners did to the plumbing before they left.

The reason I stated to get a plumber in there with a cutter, is that when water is not regularly flushed through the main waste line, the crud dries out and then forms a concrete type substance, that they can only get out with either the cutter or high pressure steam through the line. The later the company needs to know what they are doing, otherwise if it is PVC out to the sewer, they can cause the line to collapse if the steam is too hot.

As for the photo, that is typical plumbing for a home, the problem would not be there, it would be more lower where they enter the 4" or 6" line to the curb.

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Old 07-19-2013, 11:53 PM   #3
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water issues today - toilet overflow


I've been at this a couple decades and the only time I hear of air locks in plumbing systems are from homeowners.

The pipes in your picture are drain lines- the vents are in the wall above the floor level.

What exactly did your plumber do to decide there is no longer an issue?
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:24 AM   #4
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I moved this to 'Plumbing' for you----
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:00 AM   #5
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I've been at this a couple decades and the only time I hear of air locks in plumbing systems are from homeowners.

The pipes in your picture are drain lines- the vents are in the wall above the floor level.

What exactly did your plumber do to decide there is no longer an issue?
When the plumber showed up, the washing machine was running normally and the toiliets were flushing and no longer backing up. As stated in the OP, when the plumber showed up, it was as if there were no issues whatsoever. As if I was pranking them. He flushed the toilets, ran the washer, no issues. Problem resolved!!! Except we have to live in this place and need to make sure nothing like this will happen again.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:06 AM   #6
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First off it is a New to you. Second was this house sitting empty for a very long time, and was it a foreclosure? If it was sitting empty for a long time, you need to get a plumber in there with a cutting tool, to go through the main waste out to the sewer, to cut out any crud and tree roots if any, that are in the pipe.

.
This was a regular new construction home, completed late last year. We had no issues, all plumbing fixtures water lines are brand new and yesterday was the only sign of a problem. I have a warranty on this house for the next 10.5 months, but obviously if the issue were due to our own fault, nothing would be covered.

If it were a clog, how could it just go away on it's own?
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:38 AM   #7
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If it were a clog, how could it just go away on it's own?
Don't think too hard about the answer to this question.

(Water)
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:47 AM   #8
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Don't think too hard about the answer to this question.

(Water)
I guess I'm trying to rule out an airlock at this point. Since an airlock would mean the issue could return. And if it were a clog, the issue is solved for good, right?

The thing is, the toilet bowl water began receding as soon as washing machine was shut off. And the washing machine water would have to flow upstream, second leg of a U-shape, to discharge out of a toilet.

Edit: additional details. Unfortunately, the washing machine discharged fully once and we did not notice any issues. It's only on the second load that we noticed water discharging out of a toilet. We have a basement and all water ended up there, luckily it's unfinished at this point. And then, like magic, once we stopped washing machine, all issues resolved. Works like a champ now.

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Old 07-20-2013, 09:23 AM   #9
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In your picture- where is the toilet and washer located.
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:49 AM   #10
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In your picture- where is the toilet and washer located.
I just took a panoramic view (looks like my hand was shaking as the pipes look way more crooked then they really are, but hopefully you can tell how the drains are tied).

on the very right is the vent (i'm presuming), then the smaller pipe is my laundry drain (directly from the washer), then goes the toilet drain followed by the sink drain in the laundry room.

Edit: my hypothesis is that the toilet flush introduced air in the drain somehow and the washer discharge had nowhere to go but up.
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Old 07-20-2013, 11:39 AM   #11
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my hypothesis is that the toilet flush introduced air in the drain somehow and the washer discharge had nowhere to go but up.
Under the laws of physics I do not know what this means,

Are you certain that on the far right is a vent and not another branch drain to something else? A vent in that position would not be correct for a washing machine, toilet and bath group.
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:41 PM   #12
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water issues today - toilet overflow


Airlock would only happen if there was no vent. No, most likely when they were working on the home, one of the sub's put too much toilet paper in, or drop a good one, the house sat for a while before you took ownership, with no one going around and flushing the waste lines with water, so you got a clog.

If it is gone, I would let it go and if it comes back up, call a real plumber, preferably a mom & pop shop, not the contractor.

Majority of people find that working with the majority of contractors and their so called warranties are worthless.

My wife has a co-worker, whom's home is falling apart at the seems, and they have been in court against the contractor, going on now something like six years. It is going to get to the point that they will have no choice but to condemn the home and build a new one, due to it is getting that bad.
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:53 PM   #13
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water issues today - toilet overflow


Looks like clean out city.... What state do you reside in and was the plumbing inspected by a code authority?

If they did a final air test it is common for the idiot of a plumber to forget to open up the vents that go out the roof. They need to be blocked for the test.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:30 PM   #14
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Under the laws of physics I do not know what this means,

Are you certain that on the far right is a vent and not another branch drain to something else? A vent in that position would not be correct for a washing machine, toilet and bath group.
Ill have to double check with the plumbers but i believe that its a vent pipe.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:31 PM   #15
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Looks like clean out city.... What state do you reside in and was the plumbing inspected by a code authority?

If they did a final air test it is common for the idiot of a plumber to forget to open up the vents that go out the roof. They need to be blocked for the test.
Well we have lived here for two weeks without any issues. I can see cleanout as an issue on 1st or 2nd washer use day

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