Monday, October 10, 2011

Stop, Drain! --Er, I Mean "Start!"

Ran some laundry Sunday afternoon and the last washer-ful wasn't done until after sunset -- which was when I found the basement sink half-full of graywater, a puddle at the floor drain and evidence of a small overflow at the washer drain, too.

Floor puddle is still there this morning; the float is up in the floor drain. The main drain is probably partially blocked.

Great.

I'm off to try some drain cleaner ("Thrift," usually good stuff). Wish me luck!

Update: Ran the drain cleaner. (99% sodium hydroxide -- Wikipedia shows a container marked "Certified Lye." It's true!) The big basement sink appears to be draining okay. Guess I'll be able to risk a quick shower.

Update 2: Took shower. Checked basement sink, a bit over half-full. I see plumbers in my future. I hope a serious augering will do the trick.

Update 3: Whatever it is, it's still there tonight after a very large dose of Thrift this evening. The drain seemed to be draining. Waited 20 minutes, then did up a few dishes by hand, checked the basement sink and -- a third full. I need a plumber -- and time to be here with him. Hoping hoping hoping to be able to put it off until at least Wednesday.

16 comments:

Jerry said...

You might even consider the good folks at Roto-Rooter. Did marvelous for the drain in my mother's house.

Tango Juliet said...

Good luck!!

og said...

A good auguring will probably help. Don't know where your sewers are exactly but sat imagery shows manholes in the streets and not the alleys, which is probably a good thing. The original drains are peobably vitreous tile and you have some big trees, Rotorooter should be able to scour out any intrusions and get things flowing again toute de suite.

WV: Crack. In a post about backed up septic,I'm not going anywhere NEAR that.

Crucis said...

Had similar problem at my last home. Plumber ran the auger out 50' and hit...tree roots.

There is a product (I've forgotten now) you can run down the drain monthly to keep tree roots in check.

Just in case...

Drang said...

The only thing I have to add, aside from wishing you luck, is that we have a local plumbing company with kind of a membership deal, which is a Good Thing when one has many trees between one and the sewer...

DaddyBear said...

Yeah, it's probably tree roots. If you had a dry summer, the root systems went looking for moisture.

Either that or someone tried to flush a possum, which is always a treat.

Roberta X said...

The tree that was over my drain is long gone, but it could be looooong wandering root, I suppose. Or giant hairball.

Matthew said...

I like a brand of melt-um-up-good called Mule-Kick.

Used that in my rentals.

There comes a time when only cold steel will suffice though.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Do you have an outside cleanout point close to the house that you can access? It may be messy and nasty, but if you can find the blockage yourself from that end and clear it rather than call a plumber, it will save you a pile of money.

I wish I had known where mine was before I called the plumber, but the previous owners had covered it up. The plumber rooted from the toilet (he had to remove it and then re-seat it) and then from the street, and the only things I got out of it were finding that other cleanout (when he hit the endcap from the street and we followed the noises) and a $200 bill. Then he said they didn't have the right equipment to get at the blockage to clear it and would have to come back.

I ended up reaching into the sewer, grabbing the root that had gotten in, and yanking it out myself (after cutting it outside at the point it had grown into the sewer). If I had known about the cleanout, I would have saved $200 and a wasted afternoon.

Stranger said...

Before you go the augur route, try a gallon of sulfuric acid. It is in the bright red gallon bottle at the big box building supply, and it is absurdly overpriced. But it works.

So well I buy it at the plumbing supply in five pound buckets called "sewer acid." Which are about the same price as the red bottles but a lot harder to handle.

Stranger

Unknown said...

Careful mixing the lye and the acid... but then you knew that I'm sure.

I've had much joy from a "plumber's friend" -- that large rubber suction cup on the end of a handle. Down slowly and up quickly, to avoid splashback.

Lye tends to work well on far-away root systems. On a temporary base, of course.

Roberta X said...

There's a last-access cleanout in the basement, hidden under my laundry table. I've had the drain augered from there before.

Going to take a lot of moving stuff around before it is accessible, though.

phlegmfatale said...

Wow. You're so productive! I feel like an underachiever.

Roberta X said...

Hooooooboy, will you call my boss and tell him that? A good laugh would probably do Mr. Salaryman a world of good.

mikelaforge said...

Yikes. Be real careful with the mixing of chemicals if you decide on that "root".

Roberta X said...

I ain't mixing nothin'. Shaking out a big heap of Thrift is all the excitement I care to have. It makes a short-lived and very thin bit of caustic dust; I hold my breath and leave the area ASAP. (I wear gloves and goggles; I'd do an APR but I don't know that filters in the cheapie I own are up to the job and don't want to find out the hard way)

As soon as Tam gets back, we will be calling a plumber.