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Old 06-15-2015, 11:24 AM   #1
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Dishwasher drainage mystery


Two weeks ago our garbage disposal broke. Despite not working, the sink drained normally. Then 3 days ago, the sink started to back up (i.e., water would not drain from the sink unless you waited a few hours). Yesterday I decided to replace the garbage disposal. I thought that the water draining problem was related to the garbage disposal. It wasn't, however.

I replaced the garbage disposal, remembering to knock out the dishwasher plug at the top of the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal works fine now (i.e., it spins/runs with no noise). However, we still have the drainage problem.

In disassembling the plumbing pipes while installing the garbage disposal, I replaced all the plastic pipes going from the garbage disposal, through the p-trap, and the pipe going into the wall. They really didn't need to be replaced, but I did so anyway. There were no visible signs of blockage or sclerosis, so I was puzzled why the water in the sink would back up (not drain). I tried snaking the line, but there is a 90 degree bend about 18 inches into the wall which the snake would not make it through.

I will add that when water is backed up in the sink, turning on the garbage disposal causes the 5" of standing water in the sink to drain in less than 10-15 seconds. Yet even after this "purge" of water from the sink, the sink will continue to back up if you turn off the garbage disposal and run the water again. You can repeat this exercise over and over again, and turning the disposal on will immediately cause the standing water to drain....except that there will always remain about an inch or two of standing water in the bottom of the garbage disposal if you look down inside the sink throat.

The last clue to this mystery is that when we turn on the dishwasher, dishwasher water will come up the sinkhole into the sink. But again, turning on the garbage disposal cause the standing water to drain very quickly.

Any clues as to what the problem is?
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Old 06-15-2015, 11:57 AM   #2
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Clogged line
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danpik View Post
Clogged line
Thanks, but why would turning on the garbage disposal "unclog the line"? 5" of standing water drains through the "clogged line" in under 15 seconds when the garbage disposal is turned on. Since when did turning on a garbage disposal cause clogged lines to become unclogged, only to find the line clogged again a minute later when you turn the water faucet on?
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:34 PM   #4
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Could be a clogged vent. The disposal is mechanically forcing the water down the drain. Are there any other fixtures on the same drain line?
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:36 PM   #5
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There is a washing machine next to the dishwasher, and the WM has no problem draining. I have no idea how it is connected inside the wall to the main drain. This is in a condo in a 14 story high rise.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:03 PM   #6
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Just another thought; Imo, the solids draining from the dw are blocking the garbage disposal drain. So when you turn it on, it grinds the waste and drains the water. Just a guess. Other than that, as suggested, there is a blockage somewhere.

Make sure the dw drain hose has a high loop. See pics below.










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Old 06-15-2015, 05:23 PM   #7
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the solids draining from the dw are blocking the garbage disposal drain.

Make sure the dw drain hose has a high loop. See pics below.
Your first suggestion is impossible, seeing how I replaced both the garbage disposal and plastic 1.5" drain lines at the same time, hours before I ever turned the dishwasher on. The sink water from the sink faucet was backing up immediately after I finished connecting the new garbage disposal. This means that nothing from the dishwasher ever got to the garbage disposal to block its drain.

The system has an air gap atop the sink, so yes, I have a high loop.
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:55 PM   #8
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Just thinking out loud and threw those suggestions out there.

Please wait for the plumbers to respond they will be able to give more advice/suggestions as to what could be causing the problem. Thanks.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:24 PM   #9
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You need to figure a way to cable the drain inside the wall- perhaps a smaller cable.

If it backs up immediately after assembling the trap and the piping to the wall, the prblem lies downstream from there
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:37 PM   #10
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Use a 1/4 inch rod that spins.. Gets around them 90 angles.
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Old 06-16-2015, 11:17 AM   #11
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I just went through this. Again.

So the deal is, most kitchen sinks have a horizontal trap arm in the wall to get to one side or another of the kitchen window that's usually placed over the sink. Then it meets up with the vent and the actual drain stack. Snaking beyond these turns is difficult, and the clog tends to happen somewhere below the drain stack when the piping turns horizontal again.

You can often meet with more snaking success by going on the roof and snaking from the kitchen vent (two less turns to navigate). However you need a looong snake!

Here's how I solved my clog with a minimum of effort:

https://www.google.com/search?q=plumbing+drain+bladder

For this to work, you need to go on the roof and cap the kitchen vent (check the plumbing section of your local hardware or home improvement store) so the pressure hits the clog instead of going uselessly up the vent.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:39 PM   #12
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you need to go on the roof and cap the kitchen vent
Thanks, but I should have mentioned that this is a condo in a 14 story high-rise. We're on the 10th floor. We're not going to get up on the roof.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:43 PM   #13
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Thanks, but I should have mentioned that this is a condo in a 14 story high-rise. We're on the 10th floor. We're not going to get up on the roof.
That's a bit of a deal-breaker, then.
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Old 06-16-2015, 02:21 PM   #14
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Talk to your neighbors up, down, left, right and across. If you're is the only one having a problem, it sounds like it's in your unit. If the problem is "common" vents/drains, maintenance may already be aware of the issue.

If you can access the trap for the washing machine drain, try a snake in that line.
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