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Thread: drains clog when it rains

  1. #1
    Unregistered Guest

    Default drains clog when it rains

    we are not on a septic system and our drains (bathrooms) run very slowly or clog completely (and the washing machine starts leaking!) when it rains. Any ideas of what would cause this?

  2. #2
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    Broken drain pipe from house to sewer, a sewer system that is marginal in flow for your house, or a roof gutter being diverted into your sewer system (or a combination of these).

    Is the washer drain hose below the level of the toilets (such as being in the basement), or above? Do you ever have this problem when it is not raining, but you severely load your sewer system (such as back to back loads of laundry along with showers and multiple toilet flushes)?
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
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    I ran into a similar problem on an remodel job though I dont know your full situation as to whether you have a 8' basement or not. In this case the basement during rather heavy rains was flooding (backing up thru floor drain), the washer drain overflowed when used, and the toilets flushed but were slow in doing so. Turned out the sewers were obstructed out at the street from debris causing a back up. Eventually the water rose high enough in the manholes to start backflowing into the basement. After some head scratching and phone call to the county they came out and discovered the blockage. That was one serious drain auger they used. We also had the customer install a check valve in the drain line to prevent any backflow in the future as we were finishing the basement. Maybe you have same situation.
    Last edited by Roger; February 2nd, 2005 at 11:52 AM.

  4. #4
    Unregistered Guest

    Default RE: drains clog when rains

    Quote Originally Posted by suemarkp
    Broken drain pipe from house to sewer, a sewer system that is marginal in flow for your house, or a roof gutter being diverted into your sewer system (or a combination of these).

    Is the washer drain hose below the level of the toilets (such as being in the basement), or above? Do you ever have this problem when it is not raining, but you severely load your sewer system (such as back to back loads of laundry along with showers and multiple toilet flushes)?
    WASHER DRAIN IS IN GARAGE.. WHICH HAS 3 STEPS DOWN TO IT OFF HOUSE. I GUESS THAT WOULD MAKE IT LOWER THAN TOILETS LEVEL. AND YES WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED SLOW DRAINAGE EVEN WHEN ITS NOT RAINING IF LOTS OF BATHS ARE TAKEN & SIMULTANEOUSLY LOADS OF LAUNDRY ARE RUN. DOES THAT GIVE YOU OTHER THOUGHTS OF WHAT THE PROBLEM MIGHT BE?

  5. #5
    Unregistered Guest

    Default drain clogs when it rains...

    thanks roger. Hope this isnt too silly of a question but what is a 'check valve' & how do you install one?

  6. #6
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    My guess is that the pipe from the garage to the street is broken and perhaps partially clogged with roots. Is there a cleanout in the garage where you can snake out the line from the garage to the street? If so, see how far that snake will go before it stops. Then, mark that length and lay it in the grass to see where you need to begin digging a hole.

    If the snake goes all the way to the street, then it could be like Roger suggested with a clog in the street sewer, or it could be a clog in the pipe between the cleanout and the washing machine. If its the latter, I wouldn't expect rain to have an effect on it whereas it could for a yard break or street clog.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  7. #7
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    Sounds like buildup in the main line; clear the obstruction, might want to consider a camera down the drain if it repeats this situation.

  8. #8
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    First the check valve doesnt solve your problem just keeps the water backup from flooding or overflowing in the event you have a blockage occur in your main drain. They also need to be installed where they dont impede the normal draining of your plumbing system. In the case I mentioned above the typical floor drain is threaded at the bottom, the check valve was simply installed by screwing it into the bottom of the floor drain. All a check valve does is prevent water from backflowing but allows water to drain. They have a ball inside them in some styles that simply pushes up against a rubber seal if water tries to go "backwards" through the valve and prevents water from flooding into the basement or out on the floor. They must be installed in the right place or they serve no purpose. They are not going to solve the washer overflowing out its drain pipe if it is dumping water into a drain that is already backed up. The check valve just keeps water from coming up out of the floor drain and flooding your basement or garage floor. Your added information tends to make me agree that you have a blockage in the drain pipe to the street as previously mentioned by the others. I would suspect you will have to have your drain augered out or other method to clear the blockage.

  9. #9
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    Roger said,"
    They must be installed in the right place or they serve no purpose.
    Can you elaborate a little, Roger? What would be a 'wrong' place?
    "If you think education is expensive - try ignorance." (Bok's law)

    Steve

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