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Question DetailsAsked on 9/12/2013

Our washing machine drain pipe overflows intermittingly. What are the possible causes?

We have had Roto Rooter Snake the Main drain & washing machine 2" thru the wall drain pipe located on the second floor of our house. We have the washine machine hose only go less than 6" into the drain pipe to prevent syphon overf low.

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2 Answers


I would say that if it is intermittently happening and is not related to over use of detergent by a family member your best bet is to have a drain cleaning company send a camera down the pipe. You may have something stuck in the line that lets the snake go past and fall back into place to block the line at times. The local company I recommend guarantees their work and would do the call back for free if it did not do it the first time. They are a local company and not connected to one of the bid names. Not sure of Roto Rooter's policies.

Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


I don't understand the only 6 inches into the drain pipe with the discharge hose to "prevent syphon overflow" - if pushing it further down causes overflow, it sounds like you have a 90 just below that point that it hits and partically blocks its outflow. The discharge hose should go into a vertical pipe (no bend at the inlet) that goes at least 3 feet down before it hits any bends, and then there should be as few bends as possible before it hit the larger sewer pipe.

My guess is you have a bend near the top that is restricting flow at times when you have a large load (hence full tub) or have a lot of soap suds, which reduces flow capacity. If you can access the top of the pipe, use a hand mirror (large enough it can't be accidentally dropped in) and use a strong flashlight with the mirror to look down into the pipe and see if it is clear and straight for about 3 feet. If not, you might have to get it modified to a larger pipe or, preferably,, a larger pipe.

One other possibility, which is rare but occurs - if the drain pipe inside diameter is less than about 1/2 larger than the washer discharge hose, or if the discharge hose curve jams down into the drain pipe so it almost fills it with the bend,, you may have too small an air gap. For the water to flow down the drain, it has to be able to pull in enough air to replace the volume draining, down as far as where the sewer hits the static (roof) vent pipe anyway. This may be what youmean by the syphoning issue - if it is trying to suckk the waer out of the dischazrge hose, then it is not getting enough air. If the discharge hose is about 2 inch, you need a larger drain pipe. Otherwise, what you may need to do is get a pipe hanger for rubber hose, and wire to the hanger with a wire connected to the valve box, to hold the curved part up so the straight part is aimed straight down into (and sticking down into) the drain pipe.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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