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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Las Vegas, NV
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    Question Washer Drain Pipe Overflow

    I hope I'm not ruffling any feathers by asking about a problem with the plumbing in our mobile home. I suspect the problem and answer applies to all types of construction.

    The problem is that our washer drain pipe overflows. At least it used to after almost every washer load since we installed a new washer in January.

    I used some drain cleaner and now the blockage/restriction appears to have moved downstream of the kitchen sink. Now, when we do a load of wash, the water backs up into the kitchen sink. I addition, if we run water into the kitchen sink continuously for more than two or three minutes it backs up and drains verrrrrrrrry slowly.

    Since our place is over thirty years old I'm guessing that we need to have the lines professionally snaked but I'm also concerned about the possibility that we might have some clogged vent lines.

    So, here's the question - how do I know/find out if any of our plumbing vents are clogged? And, if they are, what do I need to do to unclog them?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    The Great White North
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    Default Re: Washer Drain Pipe Overflow

    It would seem since this is a recent issue it's sounds likely there is a blockage in the drain.

    You might purchase a snake at least 25 feet long and try to free the blockage yourself.

    If you feel the blockage is downstream from the kitchen sink then you might be able to remove the "P" trap and start snakeing from that point to the main stack. Or there may be a clean out access cover which you would insert the snake.

    You could get up on the roof and with a flash light look down the main vent for that area to see if there's anything in the pipe .... however this won't allow you to check a vent pipe that may branch off.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    149

    Default Re: Washer Drain Pipe Overflow

    I would say to get on your roof with a garden hose and then run water through each of your vents pipes to see which one might be clogged. Also, the head pressure might loosen something up. Have someone inside to make sure your are flooding your kitchen with water, either.

    By the way, what kind of drain pipes do you have? If it is cast iron or galvanized, your entire drian system may need to be replaced. Process of elimination.
    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
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    Default Re: Washer Drain Pipe Overflow

    Thanks for the replies.

    I'll try running the snake from the kitchen sink and see if that helps.

    As I said in my original post, I'm talking about a mobile home. I don't know if this is true of all mobile homes but on ours the vents all have caps on them. I guess they are capped to keep birds from nesting there. I did notice (when I was on the roof earlier today) that the cap on the vent closest to the kitchen sink is has a jagged hole in it. I have no idea why that is, but maybe I could run the snake or garden hose in that hole and see if that helps.

    I'll post an update when I find a solution.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Washer Drain Pipe Overflow

    I am recently having the same problem in an older house that I've been in for about six months. I have seen several posts suggesting the the older home's drain pipes were smaller than those needed for today's washer machines. See the post http://advice.thisoldhouse.com/showthread.php?t=6420

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Washer Drain Pipe Overflow

    I've been curious over the idea of new washing machines being the cause of drain issues.
    While not having come across any specifications as to the gallons per minute ( gpm ) discharge from one washing machine to another and whether new versus old .... can't see if this does have any effect.

    However .... I can see an older washer may have a diminished output if there is lint buildup in the pump or lint trap ( if equipped ).

    Last year I helped someone install a brand new top load washer that replaced the 20 + year old top load washer attached to the existing original washer drain in a home that's about 30 years old.
    From that day to present there has been zero issues with a new washer having supposed higher volume discharge.

    Recently someone I know purchased a home that had some remodeling done. This included a new remodeled main floor laundry room .... previously a small bedroom which backed onto a 2 piece powder room.

    The first time the washer was used they experienced all sorts of draining issues.
    The discharge hose was attached to a 1 1/2 inch drain line coming out the wall.

    On closer inspection it was found the 1 1/2 inch drain for the washer had tied into the sink drain of the powder room. The sink drain pipe was only 1 1/4 inch which meant the washer's larger pipe was reduced to tie in.

    Unfortunately this meant the new remodeled laundry room had a wall opened up and some re-piping done to correct the problem.

    In my own home of over 55 years the drain system ... for the most part ... is original.
    Back in the day there was no drain pipe setup for a washing machine ... typically the floor drain ... in this case .... was used for the discharge from the washer.
    When I see older vintage homes with a drain pipe for a washer it indicates to me that it was added ... and raises the question .... was it done properly?

    Things like .... is the drain less than 1 1/2 inches inside diameter .... does it have the proper slope .... is it vented .... or too far from a vent .... improper connections with 90's or tee's for the drain .... are examples that may create issues.

    Any shortcomings in the drain will show up when something like a washer.... new or old .... that discharges a fair volume of water.

    Just a thought.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Washer Drain Pipe Overflow

    Quote Originally Posted by YukYuk View Post
    The newer washing machines don't employ a lint trap, have self cleaning pumps and require a 2" discharge drain with no restrictions to handle if directly attached,

    A 1-1/2" stack pipe isn't sufficient for direct discharge of a newer 'regular water usage' newer washing machine.
    Curoius ..... As mentioned installing a new top load washer there was nothing that indicated it required to drain into a 2 inch diameter pipe .

    As is ...... the washer directly drains into a 1 1/2 inch pipe with zero issues.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
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    3

    Cool Update: Washer Drain Pipe Overflow

    Thanks, again, for all the replies.

    CANUK: I ran the full length of my 25 foot snake through the kitchen sink drain after removing the P trap. It did not solve the problem so I called a professional plumber. He ran a 75 foot snake and the problem seems to be resolved.

    I won't say how much he charged but I wish I had rented a 75 footer and run it myself. I'll definitely do that if the problem ever comes up again.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
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    Default Re: Washer Drain Pipe Overflow

    Glad it's resolved and thanks for the update.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

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