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Question DetailsAsked on 1/4/2018

water backup in kitchen sink & backed up in basement pipe. bathroom is fine, no gurgling

house was built in 1935. had problem in bathroom several months ago. all lines were cleaned out

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1 Answer


You don't say how "all lines were cleaned out" - if routed or jetted then likely not a contuing clog from that time - assuming they wewre cleaned clear to the septic tank or sewer.

Couple of thoughts - pick and choose which apply to your case:

1) first, if you are getting backup ONLY in the sink (or sink and adjacent drains) but NOT in LOWER elevation drains (including sinks, toilets, shower/tub, floor drains, etc), then only that branch line to that sink has a blockage, as some point "upstream" of where it connects tothe household DWV (drain, waste,, vent) "stack". IF it was previously cleaned out (not just snaked) then just snaking should clear it.

2) if you are also having backup or slow draining or drain gurgling when water is used in any other locations (though may only do so with large outflows if only a partial blockage), and it is backing up or gurgling at the lowest elevation drain in the house (commonly a basement or garage floor drain or laundry tub/shower/tub), then the partial blockage is almost certainly in the sewer line to the septic tank or sewer, not in the vertical stack and branch drain lines in the house.

Commonly occurs right after the drain lines turn horizontal to head out of the house (be that under concrete slab or overhead hanging from the joists in the basement or crawlspace), at some place where the sewer line has a sag, or where there is an open or broken or displaced or root intruded joint.

3) If the sewer lines were not cleaned clear to the septic tank or street (especially if that has not been done in the last 10-25 years depending on how much hot water you put down the drains (good thing) and how much food garbage and grease goes down the drains (bad thing), then the pipe inside diameter may be largely reduced by the buildup of soap scum, fibers, and grease - so snaking a blockage or just clearing it at the blockage may result in subsequent reblockage further downstream. If going to the few hundred $ typical expense of having the line routed or jetted to the tank or street, I recommend having a camera run as well - especially if it is being done by jetting rather than full-diameter routing, because jetting tends to skip and miss a lot with many types of jetting equipment. A camera run (typically $100-200 additional when done along with a line cleaning) is a good idea every 20 years or so, or if you are getting frequent blockages, to see the condition of the line and identify deteriorated, broken or root intruded zones before they become a major problem.

Here are links to a few similar previous questions with answers, FYI:

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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