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Old 11-11-2016, 12:08 PM   #1
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Scary poultergeist in my plumbing


Hello all,

I'm Matt, live in Knoxville TN.

Here's my situation. I just bought a new house in March. The way the house is setup is that it's in a hill, so both the "upstairs" and the "downstairs" are ground level entries, front and back of the house respectively.
This means that the house requires a pump to pull sewage to the sewer, I think. The plumbing in the upstairs bathroom (street level) gurgles quite frequently and at times violently; sometimes the plumbing in the bathroom sink discharges whatever's in the p trap along with a nasty stench of the farts of a thousand dead cavemen.
I investigated a suspicious closed off "room" in the first floor by peering through the drop ceiling. I discovered what looks from afar like a 55 gallon oil drum submerged in the cement floor with two pvc pipes leading from it. Preliminary research indicates this could be the pump, which acts like a tiny septic tank. Not sure.
Anyway, when this bad boy activates, there's usually a slam when it cuts off. Then the shower gurgles, the toilet bubbles, and the sink vomits my two day old beard hair. My 2 year old won't go in the bathroom by herself.
My question is what the heck is going on? None of the downstairs plumbing exhibits these issues. My upstairs toilet flushes sluggishly could this be the issue? Should I cut through the wall and clean the pump thingy? Should I call a priest?
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Old 11-11-2016, 01:49 PM   #2
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Re: Scary poultergeist in my plumbing


Did the upstairs drain plumbing ever work properly?

You may want to check the main line going out to the sewer for clogs.

You may want to check the venting (from various places in the drain plumbing up through the roof) for bird nests, dried leaves, or other blockages.

The bad boy is the ejector pump, which works like a sump pump for ground water except it is sealed to prevent odors in the house and it can grind up and pump out semisolid matter.

The fact that the downstairs drain plumbing works okay means there are no clogs downstairs to worry about for now. The ejector system makes the downstairs not sensitive to some kinds of clogs and problems you are experiencing upstairs.

Manually clean up the beard hair and throw that into the wastebasket. Periodically you will need to use a thin snake or long barbed strip of plastic (sold for that purpose) to clean out the sink and bathtub drains of such materials..
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-11-2016 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 11-11-2016, 01:57 PM   #3
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Re: Scary poultergeist in my plumbing


I dunno I guess I just assumed it worked ok. I checked the venting already, nothing in it but I blasted it with water just to make sure, to no avail.

How do I check the main line without being showered in sh...um, "stuff"?
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:16 PM   #4
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Re: Scary poultergeist in my plumbing


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billythegrape View Post
I discovered what looks from afar like a 55 gallon oil drum submerged in the cement floor with two pvc pipes leading from it.

when this bad boy activates, there's usually a slam when it cuts off. Then the shower gurgles, the toilet bubbles, and the sink vomits my two day old beard hair. My question is what the heck is going on? None of the downstairs plumbing exhibits these issues. My upstairs toilet flushes sluggishly could this be the issue? Should I cut through the wall and clean the pump thingy? Should I call a priest?
Is there a check valve installed?




I agree with you billy could be something to do with your ejector pump, check valve, or the way it's plumbed. Please post some pictures of your set-up. Thank you.
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:21 PM   #5
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This is what's inside the house, had to stick the phone over the drop ceiling.
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Scary poultergeist in my plumbing-20161110_190154_1478916780119.jpg   Scary poultergeist in my plumbing-20161110_190144_1478916799514.jpg   Scary poultergeist in my plumbing-20161110_190134_1478916817242.jpg  
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:22 PM   #6
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And this is in the front yard, street level, before the city line.
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Scary poultergeist in my plumbing-20161111_160629_1478916868714.jpg   Scary poultergeist in my plumbing-2016-11-11-16_1478916895813.11.18.jpg  
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:35 PM   #7
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Re: Scary poultergeist in my plumbing


Thanks for the pics billy.

I see the check valve in the first pic. It has the fernco fittings for easy replacement. Sometimes they do go bad and can be very noisy. That may explain the loud slamming. Easy to replace in your case. They also make silent check valves as well.

The other issue you may have, as already mentioned, is a partial clog.
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:43 PM   #8
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Re: Scary poultergeist in my plumbing


In regards to your picture of the street level; It looks like there is a vent on that environment one. Make sure that it's clear and not full of grass, weeds, debris, etc.

Please wait for the plumbers to respond with more suggestions. Thanks.
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