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Question DetailsAsked on 11/2/2017

which pipe is the culprit of a clog

So we tried the draino, it has helped slow the problem, meaning when we run the kitchen water, it takes longer to come up in the bathroom sink. But NOW, after we flush our toilet, it makes a gurgling noise, but no backup as of yet. I was going to buy some more draino today. Am I doing the right thimg? Or am I pushing to clog further into the system. Please help. Thank you

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1 Answer


Your blockage is downstream of the kitchen sink line and downstream of the toilet - may be in part of the stack (the in-house drain piping connectiung various fixtures) serving both those fixtures, or may be further downstream in the combined sewer line.

The gurgling in the toilet when it is not being flushed but kitchen water is running,or when the toilet is flushed (and likely also when tub/shower in same bathroom is draining too) is because the partial blockage - in the drain piping "stack" (where various drain pipes come together) or in the sewer line to the septic tank or street - is restricting drainage and causing a backup. So as the pipe fills with the draining water it displaces the sewer gases/air in the pipe, causing that gas to come out at the easiest point of exit - which should be through the vent pipes, but many plumbers do not install vent pipes correctly, so thenn comes out at the easiest exit point. In your case either the vent pipe does not individually vent each fixture as it should and is downstream of the point the air is backing up in the pipe, or is plugged off with debris, so the air comes out at the toilet.

Unlikely to push the clog further on with Draino like could happen with snaking, but likely is not clearing the clog entirely either so you could be just one flush away from a near-total blockage and overflowing floor drain, tub/shower, or toilet - whichever is the lowest elevation drain is upstream of the blockage.

Drain cleaner in general is not good for drain pipes, and are generally not real effective for stack and sewer line clogs where they tend to eat a small hole through it but not at all clear the 3-4" diameter line. Drain cleaners really work best with trap clogs and clogged sink stopper mechanism clogs. I have also found Drano to be pretty ineffective (assuming you mean the crystals) - my favorite when drain cleaner is called for is Liquid Plumber Gel - appears to work much better, probably because the gel formulation sticks to the material causing the clog so dissolves it better.

My recommendation - get a Drain Cleaning contractor (your Search the List category) in to clear the clog. And if the sewer line has not been routed out full diameter in the past 10 years or so, probably a good idea to have him go ahead and rout it all the way to the septic tank or street sewer, because just knocking the clog loose can commonly result in to just reclogging further down the line if there is the usual long-term accumulation of fiber, hair, soap scum, and grease in the pipe (which reduces its effective diameter and causes a large percentage of clogs). Generally, the in-house portion of the drain line down to the point where it turns near horizontal is not a problem - clogs commonly form just after the vertical stack turns horizontal, or at some point downstream where there is rough, damaged, or kinked pipe or root intrusion.

You can find a lot of prior similar questions with answers on how to solve the problem, pipe cleaning suggestions, and ballpark costs - look in the Home > Plumbing link under Browse Projects, at lower left.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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