Slow drains in very old building
My condominium was built the year I graduated high school
(1964). It is concrete block construction and to say the plumbing is not easily accessible is an understatement. Mine is an end unit on the 3rd floor of a 4 story building and shares the standpipe of the unit to the side and maybe the two across the hall as well all the way from the top floor to the bottom. The pipes are old and not as large as one would install now I think or else they have lost useable diameter with the build up of gunk over the years. We can't, for example, have washers in our units because there is insufficient capacity in the pipes to prevent back up in other peoples units. We have a laundry room with two washers and if you start both of them at the same time, that will cause a back up as well. When I shower the water accumulates in the tub -- it can't drain as fast as the shower can supply it. Putting foaming pipe snake down helps a little but not much and not for long. I suspect that it clears about 2 feet of pipe and that fills in again quickly because of the slowness downstream. My neighbors tell me that plumbers are reluctant to run a snake down because of the age of the pipes and the size of the system. I'm thinking that someone needs to get up on the roof, run a fiberoptic line down to check for problems and if they decide its safe run a snake from the roof to the street, but I don't think I can afford to do it and so far I haven't motivated the condo association to take action. How risky is it really? What could be done to repair a problem if one occurred without demolishing the building? Is there another solution?