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Thread: gurgling water

  1. #1
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    Question gurgling water



    When our clothes washer spins -- there is a LOUD gurgling sound (and sometimes even splashing) in three nearby sink drains!! I'm now also smelling sewer gas odor. The laundry and all three sinks are on the same floor -- but the gurgling does not affect the other three sinks and shower stalls or tub -- everything is on the same floor.

    What in the heck is going on and how can it be fixed???

  2. #2
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    Default Re: gurgling water

    I would have to guess the laundry drain is tied into the same drain pipe as the sinks which are gurgling.
    If these sinks make a gurgling sound when the washer is draining then likely there is a venting problem .... either blocked or missing altogether.

    When something like the washer is discharging a fair amount of water the drain line is trying to vent from wherever it can ..... in this case the sinks. When this happens the water seal .....that is normally in the " P " trap under the sink ..... is being sucked out and allowing sewer gas to enter up through the sink's drain.


    Just a thought.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: gurgling water

    Washing machines, and in particular modern machines, drain water at a remarkably fast rate. What's happening is that your washer, because of it's very fast dispense pump is "blowing out" all of the nearby p-traps because (1)it's not vented properly and (2)it's not plumbed properly to accommodate the discharge.

    This is equivalent to connecting an air compressor discharge hose to your drain system and pumping a very rapid succession of 90 pound blasts into your plumbing system. It empties any local p-traps and you get sewage gas.

    Normally, this is because the home was never designed for a washer/drain in that particular location and the current install never took into consideration modern dispense rates.

    Generally, you need a discharge drain of a minimum of 2" diameter and that drain must rise to a level of 6" above the maximum water level of the appliance. And, that discharge drain must have it's own p-trap and must meet the drain stack an angle to accommodate flow. (Generally 45 degrees is acceptable) or... And must be a certain distance from any other fixtures, turns or discharges. Or to bore you with this code bit...the tie in can be made at any convenient point on a stack or horizontal line, except, an unvented fixture arm may not be connected to a vertical combined waste & vent stack if there is a water closet (toilet) discharging into that stack at any point above. There are a lot of restrictions.

    Today, most people install a laundry sink near the washing machine and install a drop adapter to the edge of the sink and the machine drains into the sink and drains at a normal rate and that drain has an acceptable lint filter. Most states/counties/cities have strict regulations as to what can be done where.

    The laundry sink approach seems to work best in most situations but many cities frown upon it. That's the best I can do without a picture of your particular situation.
    If I only knew what I was doing!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: gurgling water

    Quote Originally Posted by KKelly View Post
    Washing machines, and in particular modern machines, drain water at a remarkably fast rate. What's happening is that your washer, because of it's very fast dispense pump is "blowing out" all of the nearby p-traps because (1)it's not vented properly and (2)it's not plumbed properly to accommodate the discharge.

    This is equivalent to connecting an air compressor discharge hose to your drain system and pumping a very rapid succession of 90 pound blasts into your plumbing system. It empties any local p-traps and you get sewage gas.

    Normally, this is because the home was never designed for a washer/drain in that particular location and the current install never took into consideration modern dispense rates.

    Generally, you need a discharge drain of a minimum of 2" diameter and that drain must rise to a level of 6" above the maximum water level of the appliance. And, that discharge drain must have it's own p-trap and must meet the drain stack an angle to accommodate flow. (Generally 45 degrees is acceptable) or... And must be a certain distance from any other fixtures, turns or discharges. Or to bore you with this code bit...the tie in can be made at any convenient point on a stack or horizontal line, except, an unvented fixture arm may not be connected to a vertical combined waste & vent stack if there is a water closet (toilet) discharging into that stack at any point above. There are a lot of restrictions.

    Today, most people install a laundry sink near the washing machine and install a drop adapter to the edge of the sink and the machine drains into the sink and drains at a normal rate and that drain has an acceptable lint filter. Most states/counties/cities have strict regulations as to what can be done where.

    The laundry sink approach seems to work best in most situations but many cities frown upon it. That's the best I can do without a picture of your particular situation.
    Ya know ..... there's been mention of newer washers pumping more water .... which equate to more gpm ..... yet I haven't found anything to support this.
    Is this some sort of internet legend or is there some verifiable source to support this?

    As for the drain size .... to my knowledge the codes still state that a washer drains needs to be a minimum of 1 1/2 inch . Sure a 2 inch drain would be nice but a 1 1/2 inch drain will work fine.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  5. #5
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    Default Re: gurgling water

    Without knowing more about the plumbing configuration of the involved pipes it's nearly impossible to say for certain exactly what is going on.

    A case in reference: One of my neighbors down the road a piece in an older home has this same problem when their machine dumps the water. The causes are multiple in this instance. The machine (basement) is connected to an overhead pipe via a discharge hose...and that connection is to a staged-down T plumbed into the drain line. Not a good situation. To make matters worse, the 1 1/2" drain pipe connects to the main house-drain ...also with a T. End result is that the water cannot escape as fast as it enters (via the proper route) and so it backs up...upstream of where the washer connects.... and that build-up of water acts like a syringe plunger which then creates enough pressure to cause their kitchen sink trap to gurgle loudly. Sometimes a little water emerges into the kitchen sink.

    Although the remedies would only take maybe half a day tops to install...the HOs decided to just live with the gurgling and such instead. If this was my house, things would have been changed long ago.

    Depending upon the current configuration, your gurgling sinks *could* be caused by a wad of lint buildup (or similar) where your drain connects to another branch or to the the main house-drain. If so, this would impede the outflow of water causing it to back up and create the pressure necessary to gurgle the sink drains.

    Or...it could be a venting problem. Impossible to say from here.

    Another possibility is that if you have older galvy pipes...they may be choked down with mineral sediment (and/or soap scum and such) accumulated thru the years and simply can no longer handle the volume thrown at them when the machine discharges. Even PVC pipes can choke down with soap slime/scum/gel. Been there, seen that...more than once. Since there are sinks involved (bathrooms?).....the problem may be related to a reduced/choked diameter of the pipe from an accumulation of shaving gel gunk, make-up gunk, toothpaste gunk, lint from the washing machine...etc.

    Or maybe a combination of all of the above potential problems.

    Snaking or jetting of the pipes may be necessary....although neither of those will remove hardened mineral deposits from galvy pipes. Just hope that isn't the cause or pipe replacement will be in order.
    Last edited by goldhiller; 11-02-2008 at 08:38 PM.

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