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#1
Old 12-18-2006, 05:52 PM
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Plugged sewer drain - can't get auger through

We have a very slow drain in the floor of the basement laundry room that we drain the washing machine into. It drains okay (except for some standing water we can see when we remove the top of the drain, a couple of inches down), but it drains too slowly, so we get a huge puddle of water when we use the washing machine. We have tried Drano, snaking out the drain, and using a manual sewer auger, but the manual augers get about two feet in and just stop, no matter what we try.

Anybody have an idea what is going on with this drain, and what we can do about it (short of the $300 plumber call that we will probably have to make in the new year)?
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#2
Old 12-18-2006, 06:01 PM
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Do you have access to any points further down the line via cleanouts? Maybe try snaking those out, if totally clear at least it isolates the problem to a shorter section of the drain. I assume that everything else is draining normally?

If both a snake and an auger stop dead a few feet in that sounds like either a pretty good clog or perhaps some kind of tight bend in the pipe that the tools can't get through, any chance you've got a small 90 degree bend or something right down there?
#3
Old 12-18-2006, 06:50 PM
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look for an access point. It normally is a round plastic cover with either a square hole in it or a square peg. If the flooring has been changed it may have gotten covered and will be a pain to find.

Is this the only drain that is slow?
#4
Old 12-18-2006, 09:19 PM
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We do have an access point behind the washing machine. We haven't got into that pipe yet because we don't have the tools for it. And yes, this is the only slow drain.
#5
Old 12-18-2006, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valgard
If both a snake and an auger stop dead a few feet in that sounds like either a pretty good clog or perhaps some kind of tight bend in the pipe that the tools can't get through, any chance you've got a small 90 degree bend or something right down there?
Probably a tight bend. Waste pipe T's and El's are made with more gradual bends so that snake will make the turn. Most contractors don't use them because they cost more than water pipe fittings.
#6
Old 12-18-2006, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by featherlou
We do have an access point behind the washing machine. We haven't got into that pipe yet because we don't have the tools for it. And yes, this is the only slow drain.
Dunno if it's different where you are but the cleanouts in my house are all capped with a simple fitting that has a big square knob on it, an inexpensive pipe wrench takes it off.
#7
Old 12-18-2006, 09:32 PM
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well, if there is an area of home repairs where the "appropriate tool" adage applies, it certainly is plumbing. Looks like you are all set for a visit from the $70/hour guy.
#8
Old 12-19-2006, 07:32 AM
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How very slow is "very slow"? how old is the house?

If "very slow" means a quart an hour, it's conceivable the floor drain isn't connected to any plumbing at all; it's just a hole in the floor with a short stub of plumbing ending in the dirt under your basement slab. You augur jams when it gets to the dirt.

I'd be surprised if that was true unless the house was rural, amateur constructed, or built before about 1960. But if you have any of those symptoms ...
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#9
Old 12-19-2006, 08:03 AM
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We had this problem a couple of weeks ago. We live in the DC area and it cost us $250, so I'm guessing unless you live an a more expensive area it should be the same or less. I would almost say it would be easier to call someone as they have the tools.
#10
Old 12-19-2006, 10:42 AM
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Location: Lethbridge, AB.
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It drains too slowly to handle the dump of water from the washing machine (which it did when we moved in here three years ago) without making a very large lake on the floor. Then it all drains away. The house is about 40 years old.

Sapo, I got a quote from Roto-Rooter, and their price is $225 for the first hour, and $105 per hour after that. $70 per hour is looking good right about now.
#11
Old 12-19-2006, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by featherlou
Sapo, I got a quote from Roto-Rooter, and their price is $225 for the first hour, and $105 per hour after that. $70 per hour is looking good right about now.
Please come join us at the Minimum Wage thread.
#12
Old 12-19-2006, 02:13 PM
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Sometimes you will get a straighter shot by running your auger down from the vent stack on the roof. But this might also bypass the obstruction. Still, it is worth a try.
#13
Old 12-19-2006, 04:17 PM
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ex-sewer/drain cleaner here. What size in diameter is the floor drain and how deep is it from the floor to the trap? Some drains have what we've always called house traps that have an access but sometimes get cemented over, but that's here. One thing you can try, depending on the size of the drain, is a disc plunger. They come in 2", 3" & 4" sizes and screw on to a piece of black iron pipe. You'd get the drain all backed up and shove the plunger into the drain and plunge your ass off. This usually works surprisingly well, and it's cheap. Just don't go overboard and slam it through the bottom of the pipe. I'd bet it's just lint causing the problem.
Depending on your setup, you could rubberband or tape a kneehigh stocking to the washer discharge hose, leaving a good amount of slack off the end, which will catch the lint before it gets into the pipe (for next time).
#14
Old 12-19-2006, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by featherlou
We have a very slow drain in the floor of the basement laundry room that we drain the washing machine into.
Anybody have an idea what is going on with this drain, and what we can do about it (short of the $300 plumber call that we will probably have to make in the new year)?
Look for a "Drain King" of the right size to fit the pipe at the big box home maintenance store.
It attaches to the end of a garden hose, inflates to seal itself in the pipe and then chug chugs away to clear the obstruction.
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