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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
DISCLAIMER: I've done a TON of remodeling work in our 25 year old home and I've really done tons of homework on being a responsible home-owner and DIYer (thank the Lord for YouTube and DIY books!), but this issue has me stumped. Before having my hubby dig up our yard (he's a Federal employee and with the upcoming sequestration, we can't afford a plumber at this time) or break out the power tools and start whacking pipes or drywall (groan), I'd like to pick your brains, if I may.

However, that said, I'm not a plumber. And I honestly appreciate every last bit of information, advice, suggestions or criticisms you might be kind enough to give me.


Here's how our plumbing system is laid out (the best I can deduce and from the tidbits I've been told by plumbers we've hired in the past) as so:

"Main" vent pipe -> Kid's bathroom -> kitchen sink/dishwasher -> laundry room/washing machine -> garage sink -> our bathroom -> clean-out (outside) -> main sewer drain line.

In kid's bathroom ~ When the kids take shower, toilet gurgles and shower/tub backs up.

In laundry room, if I use my washing machine (sometimes in conjunction when a child uses THEIR shower whilst I'm doing laundry), the toilet in *our* bathroom (again, the last plumbing fixture in our plumbing "chain") overflows and the garden tub backs up (with a lovely concoction of faecal matter and other associated goop).

No other fixtures back up so and spew mess.

Basically, if a large amount of water flows through our pipes at one time, it affects our bathroom, no other fixtures are directly affected. However, all drains involved are SLOW. We're talking a gallon of water in my kitchen sink, or any tub/shower takes seemingly forever to drain.

Is it safe to assume that rather than the vent being blocked, we have a clog in the main sewer/drain line?

If so, would it be feasible for me to attempt to clear out the clog using an auger/snake (fuelled either by hand or by drill ~ the sort you buy at Home Depot or Lowes) via the outside clean-out (our home is a ranch style home and as far as I know, we do not have a clean-out indoors)? Or would it be better to snake the vent FIRST and then take care of what I believe to be a clog in our main drain/sewer line? Or vice-versa?

I hope you don't think I'm a total idiot. Like I said, I'm no plumber and if the sequestration weren't looming over our heads like an ugly vulture with a mean streak, we'd call a plumber. But as I said, with the sequestration in our near future, we have to focus on keeping the house. :/

Thanks ever so much in advance! <3

1,354 Posts
Its your main sewer pipe. Hit the clean-out in your front yard both directions. Well actually. Here is what you want to do. Unscrew the clean-out. Have somebody flush the toilet. Do you see water coming to clean-out. If no snake from clean-out to house. If yes snake from clean-out to road. You need to rent a power rodder. Not a little hand held snake. Be careful. Those things can jump back and bite you. Put the cutting blade on it.
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