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Question DetailsAsked on 7/29/2013



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2 Answers


Sounds like you have a slow drain, will be the main line more then likey but can be a line off of the main depending on your DWV system. I would call a company that handles drain cleaning. Make sure they run lots of water after cableing the lines, I would flush every toilet and run every faucet you can.

Good Luck!


Master Plumber

Littrell Plumbing

Answered 7 years ago by hockeycoachtim


You are experiencing a sewer backup. Unless you are in a flood conditions where the overall sewers may be backing up into houses, you probably have a partial sewer blockage. If you have been having heavy rains or flooding and your house is not substantially above street level, you might call your sewer company to see if backups have been occurring in your area. Otherwise, probably a blockage in your pipes.

One other remote possibility is that the vent pipe is blocked, so sewer fumes are coming up in the sewer pipe rather than venting above the roof. However, if this is the case, you would be having the water in the "traps" (like the first part of the toilet passage) going down too with the normal drainage, leaving a low water level in the traps that would allow sewer cases to pass by - usually full-time, not just when draining. Occurring just when draining almost certainly means the sewer pipe if partially plugged, so the water backs up into it to the drain, pushing the air in the pipe up above it as it fills, so the gases gurgle out the drain as the water is going down the drain, displacing the air.

In your partial blockage case, because the blockage prevents the water from going out as fast as it is coming in, it partially backs up in the sewer pipes. This usually is noticed first when the clothes washer empties out, then as time goes on when toilets are flushed, then when showers are run, as the blockage gets more and more severe.

If this shower is the lowest drain in the house, then the blockage is in the main sewer pipe between there and the street. If you have a lower elevation drain point (washtub, floor drain, shower or tub, toilet, but IGNORE sump pump [not connected to sewer]) and it is not backing up, then it is a local blockage between that shower and the lower drains that are not backing up, and should be able to be snaked out easily by a plumber or a sewer and drain contractor.

You need to get this cleared out ASAP, as it may quickly plug up at any time with any toilet use as material adds to the clog. If this has been going on for days on end, then it likely is due to long-term grease accumulation or pipe damage, which is generally restricting flow but not actually a discrete point blockage.

If the blockage is in the main sewer pipe leading out from the house and it has not been routed out for 3-5 years or more, I would strongly suggest having it routed (not just snaked) all the way to the street or septic tank - likely a 50-100 foot run. This is something that should be done every 10 years or so preventively. This pipe commonly builds up grease accumulation, and sometimes roots (especially in older clay or ductile iron pipe) that gradually close off the flow capacity of the pipe. Older pipe can break with ground movement or let dirt in through opened joints and partially block the flow also.

I would recommend when you call a sewer and drain contractor (if the backup is at the lowest drain in the house) that you choose one who can also bring a COLOR sewer camera, if needed. Color is important, black and white cameras will show major problems, but with color you can see roots and cracks that may not otherwise show. The basic routing will cost between $100-150 if only in the house pipes, and probably $200-350 for a full sewer routing out. If you have him bring a camera, then if he feels an obstruction or narrow spot in the routing as he works through it he can run the camera immediately afterwards to look at what it is. A camera run will be about $100-150 more typically if done right after the routing, as opposed to $250-400 if he has to come back later to do it seperately, because generally they will not run a camera without routing it out immediately before, both so it is clean for visibility, and to reduce the chance of it getting stuck in the pipe.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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