« on: October 31, 2011, 11:00:28 PM »
Dunbar Plumbing was contacted by a customer today in Walton Kentucky. The location of this property was close to Mary C. Grubbs Highway where it intersects with US25. Main Street in Walton is the short 2.5 mile section of US25 that stretches from where Walton-Nicholson road intersects with US25 onto Mary C. Grubbs Highway intersection.
Customer had an issue with all three fixtures backing up on the second floor of the house.
Customer mentioned that when the lavatory and/or the tub faucet was ran, the toilet would start to gurgle instantly. Since no other drains were affected in the house, this lead to the issue being isolated to the 2nd floor only in the structure.
The customer already removed the toilet before we arrived, as it was confirmed that the drain system would have to be accessed through that vantage point to clear the obstruction. As we noticed upon arrival, wastewater was sitting in the closet bend and any water ran from the tub or lavatory in the same bathroom instantly raised the water level in the closet bend that serves the toilet.
Using our medium machine, we inserted our drain cable into the toilet arm to remove the obstruction. What was immediately stopping us was not known initially as we would enter the drain roughly 2 feet approximate and get hung up badly inside the drain. A quite unusual circumstance as the piping leading from the closet flange is minimum 3" and most if not all structures in the Northern Kentucky Area are 4" when stretching 40+ years or older.
We made 4-5 attempts to clear the obstruction with next to no success. It was when the property owner pointed out to us in the lower level of the house that all the piping was visible to the bathroom by removal of a panel. This property is new to both the property owner as well us, and the property is being rented by tenants.
The house had also sat vacant for a few weeks before being occupied which would be partially the issue at hand why we were called out to clear an obstruction in this drainage system. Once we were able to get a visual on the piping arrangement it was clear to see "why" the cable was jamming up inside the piping arrangement.
The drain piping immediately went from 3" to 4" cast iron piping. The major issue was a tee laying on its side which is a clear code violation in today's requirements. Serving out of the top of this 4" tee was the 2" cast iron drain serving the lavatory drain in the same bathroom. Once that connected to the tee, the drain continues at a slope heading towards a ninety degree turn vertical into the closet and heading towards the basement. Being able to see this piping arrangement gave us the ability to understand why the cable was jamming inside the tee as it was trying to head back through the 2" drain serving the lavatory drain.
With some much needed trial and error, numerous shots into the drain finally got us heading the cable towards the vertical 4" drain pipe heading into the piping. This instantly addressed the clogging issue allowing the water inside the closet bend to slowly start dropping, signifying that whatever was holding back the waste matter and wastewater was finally leaving the piping system. We continued to run the drain cable machine inside the piping and took the drain cable the full length to make sure that the waste matter was clearly out of the drain system.
Along with running the tub faucet and lavatory in the same bathroom at full force while the cable was still inside the drain. This technique is a great way to keep all that was built up inside the drain continuing on out, using the water as the helper to rid the piping of waste matter.
It was our assumption that during the time this house sat vacant that possibly the toilet was used for the last time before the house went vacant, the waste matter never made it out of the horizontal bend of the piping. This waste matter then had time to sit and solidify including toilet paper that turned into hard paper mache in consistency. With the new tenants arriving and unaware of this situation, the buildup started against this hardened mass inside the piping and eventually closing off the pipe completely, disallowing flow through the pipe.
This happens quite frequently when homes are vacated and no one is there to keep the water running through the drains. This situation can happen both in a new home where pvc pipe is commonly found for drainage piping, just as much as say an older home could have with cast iron piping, galvanized or copper. If you have a home whereby you're going to sell in the near future, make sure that when you leave the property for good that the toilets and all fixtures are ran heavily for repeated times to remove any waste buildup inside the piping.
This will prevent the unexpected surprise when the new property owners move in, looking at the previous homeowners like they hid some disasterous piping inside the home that's going to be a chronic problem. (they think)
The customer in this case (since the toilet was already pulled) reset the toilet after our job was complete. This was a cost saving measure afforded to the property owner to save money on our expense to show up and resolve the issue. This was a first time customer that reached us via internet through Google trying to find someone to resolve the plumbing issue 'today' as it was the only bathroom in the structure serving the needs of 3 people living in the home.