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-   -   Wierd Floor Drain "Backup" (http://www.diychatroom.com/f7/wierd-floor-drain-backup-21028/)

rawkintrevo 05-15-2008 12:11 AM

Wierd Floor Drain "Backup"
 
After reading nearly every thread i could find on google and nothing being similar to my problem i'm starting my own. So here goes.

History:
A few weeks ago during the first heavy rain of the year my floor drain backed up for the first time in two or three. Water leaks through the foundation next to the floor drain and the drain its self had some piles of junk sitting next to it that managed to work their way over the drain. The water was clear. I assumed something had gotten down the drain. I went to menards got a 25' hand auger and ran it down the drain. eventually the water went down to about the level of the rim of the drain. But when any water in the house was ran it would temporarily rise back up above the rim. some times sewage would be involved sometimes not. I got one of those steel rods and couldn't get it through the floor drain so i ran it through the stack. No help. I got a commercial auger. One of those big suckers it ran me 375, 75' long. I have ran it and pulled a 1.5 lbs clog out and a 1 lbs clog out as well as several smaller ones. Clogs were all hair/crud stuff flushed down the toilet. The last big one I pulled had some fine tree roots mixed into it, so I swallowed my pride and called a drain cleaner. He came out and pulled another couple of pounds of roots and tampons (which is weird because no females have lived here in over 2 years). Then allegedly hit something and wanted me to call his buddy the escivator in to punch a hole. He was supposed to come back to camera my line but dropped off the grid and hasn't even asked me for money, which is good because he did a hack job messing with my stack and rotating the access point so he could access it easier and come to find out he's not a licensed plumber. His buddy the escivator came out and just wanted to start digging holes based on his professional experience and hope he found the sewer. In the mean time I've installed a backflow valve and I can operate as before minus the use of the floor drain. But this is a nagging problem in the back of my mind and I an curious why the water level would always want to be approx. the rim of the floor drain. If i poor water strait at the drain it will raise a bit and return. If i run a garden hose into the stack it does the same thing.

Considerations:
1 one month before this started the city did some work on the water main in front of my house, the house was build in 1911 when as i understand they ran everything in one trench.

2 one month before that, i laid some ceramic tile and cleaned the wet saw out several times in the utility sink, possibly leading to sediment in a trap?

anyone who has any ideas as to what would be going on here would be apriciated. This isn't an eminent problem for me any more, im ok with the back flow plug, but is more of a riddle that boggles me. It's as if the water table has risen to a natural level which is my floor drain. (I live at the top of a hill)

Thanks

DUDE! 05-15-2008 07:14 AM

I think you found your biggest problem, the tree roots, those fine fibers will find water in your drain pipe. It appears that when you add water, it rises then recedes, seems like its not draining smoothly because of clogging. Those commercial snakes with the right cutter will do the job of clearing out the pipe, they also can break bones. My sister had to have roots cleaned out every few years, had the tree cut down, now her neighbors tree found the pipe. Maybe you need to have someone come in and put a camera down the pipe to see what is actually happening, then go from there.

Alan 05-15-2008 09:22 AM

At the point of finding tree roots, are you still inside the building? :huh:

rawkintrevo 05-15-2008 11:50 PM

Really? It said it wouldn't but i thought it might. They don't sell heads to cut roots but I'm of the impression that I could engineer something after looking at other root cutting heads. When I hit the clog I was approximately 5-15 ft in front of my house, my yard is only about 30 ft long. My plan for re-engineering my auger into a root cutter goes as follows.

Phase 1- Reinforce cable- Get the flexible steel sheathing that you use for out door electrical wires and put it around the cable on the auger to prevent it from kinking and getting all twisted up. Since it is pretty flexible I am hopeful that it will successfully negotiate the corners

Phase 2- Design/produce the bit- I was thinking of going with a circular saw blade, the kind you attach to drills to make large circles in wood, something in the 2-3" range so it doesn't get caught up in bends. I just got a MIG welder so I'll make the proper attachments for my auger.

Phase 3- Pray to any and all dieties that may be of assistance. Ancient Greeks had aquaducts, there for they probably had some sort of god that looked over and protected them, that may be helpful.

The auger in question is the Cobra 40 series
http://www.cobraus.com/product.asp?TypeID=1&SeriesID=4
not rated for roots but again with some simple modifications...I'm feeling lucky. It has a 1/3 HP motor on it, will that suffice or should I connect a small 2 cycle?

The other thing I'm afraid of is cutting a hole in the side of the pipe, how likely is that to happen. Assuming of course I use some reasoning and figure out how far along the blockage is and then make sure I'm that far along with the head before I crank I start boring.

I can rent a camera from the local rental place for 4 hours for 140. But someone pointed out that if the drain is full of water, which I'm assuming it is because of the standing water higher in the floor drain, I won't be able to see anything.

And finally, I still don't understand why a slow running drain would not allow the water level to drain all of the way out. Thanks for the responses though, I thought this would be up forever and I'd never hear anything... The internet is grrrreat (for ****)*


*If you havn't seen Avenue Q I highly recomend it.

DUDE! 05-16-2008 04:33 PM

I'd be careful engineering a head for your auger, I've danced a couple times when the cable got hung up, not much running room. Just wondering, the drain level stays higher, but the system as a whole is draining okay? If the drain pipe is full of water, so camera wouldn't work good, how is the rest of your water getting out. I know its frustrating some, not to be able to see what is going on in the pipe

Alan 05-16-2008 11:53 PM

If its outside of your house, what I would do if it was mine is dig the darn thing up. Especially since you say your yard is only about 30 feet. Thats not bad hand digging. Start at the building and determine the depth of your pipe. It should be graded at least 1/8" per foot. At 30 feet, that gives you an overall fall of about 4 inches, but could be more depending on what the land looks like around you. Determine if you'll be able to dig to an adequate depth, find the closest vegetation to where your building sewer is and start there. :yes:

Roots seek out water, especially water rich with any type of material good for fertilization, which happens to come from leaky drains/sewers. Whether it's a leaky joint or a broken pipe, you should probably fix it. If the roots are getting into the drain, that means that there is a leak. The roots will grow bigger, and enlarge the crack ( or leaky joint ) which will invite more roots, so on and so forth. All this digging seems like a lot of work, but cutting the roots out aside from being kind of dangerous when you engineer your own attachments, is a bandaid at best, you will constantly be cleaning your sewer. Why not fix it permanently?

Start with the basics : Are you on a slab? What kind of material are your drains/sewer?

rawkintrevo 05-17-2008 09:59 PM

I've considered the dig too. My basement is about 10 so I'm estimating its going to be in the ball park of 13ft ish. I can rent a back hoe for about 250 and my uncle knows how to run it. I need to get a locater because the house was built in 1911 so it may run in the same trench as the water main which happens to be in the same general area as the gas main. However, the basement appears to have been added later so it may go strait to the street from the stack and then it's under sidewalk but I have no reservations about digging that up. Whole project could be done for a little less than $1000, so I'd budget $1500 for it. But if I could band-aide it for say 75 I would prefer to do that, and use the extra money to build a garage. If I call the city can they tell me where the lateral hooks into the main? Given the age I would presume the pipes are clay/mortar.

mstplumber 05-18-2008 02:58 PM

Raw,
I am all about fixing it yourself but it sounds like you have the potential to have things snowball out of control if things aren't handled very carefully. A 12' deep sewer ditch is potentially extremely dangerous in itself. Added to the risk of damaging your other utilities I think your best money would be to call a Licensed Plumber and at least get their professional recommendation. That will cost you a few bucks but could save you lots in the long run.

It sounds like you are really comfortable doing your own work and I know you probably don't want to call someone else but sometimes thats the most cost effective solution. A good plumber with a camera and locator can pinpoint where your sewer line is and possibly even where the problem is.

If you do decide to do the dig yourself, please get a trench box or dig the sides way back on the ditch. And don't forget to call the Utility Location Service.

Alan 05-19-2008 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mstplumber (Post 124010)
Raw,
I am all about fixing it yourself but it sounds like you have the potential to have things snowball out of control if things aren't handled very carefully. A 12' deep sewer ditch is potentially extremely dangerous in itself. Added to the risk of damaging your other utilities I think your best money would be to call a Licensed Plumber and at least get their professional recommendation. That will cost you a few bucks but could save you lots in the long run.

It sounds like you are really comfortable doing your own work and I know you probably don't want to call someone else but sometimes thats the most cost effective solution. A good plumber with a camera and locator can pinpoint where your sewer line is and possibly even where the problem is.

If you do decide to do the dig yourself, please get a trench box or dig the sides way back on the ditch. And don't forget to call the Utility Location Service.

X2 on all of this.

rawkintrevo 06-04-2008 07:10 PM

Drain Tile Hooked Into Sanitary Sewer
 
I found out last night the hard way that my sump pump was no good. After seeing how much water the new one pumped out I expect the old one had been out for some time. This house was built in 1911, back then did they ever cross connect the drain tile to the sanitary system? Again because the drain really wants to back up when it rains, and if the sump (which I verified pumps out side about 20 feet away from the foundation) wasn't running could the drain tiles trying to dump water into the sanitary system be the cause of the line which may be partially blocked being over worked and thus the back up?

More simply: Have you ever seen/heard of a case of a house from this era, in which the drain tiles drained directly into the sanitary system?


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