We have a GE "extra heavy duty large capacity" washing machine that has
worked beautifully for more than a decade. Unfortunately, ever since we
got it, the drain line has been problematical. The washer drain hose is
stuck into a 1.5-inch ID pipe opening in the washer wall fixture behind
it. If the seal between that drain hose and the pipe is not good, the
water will overflow out the opening and spill down the side of the
wall. (Yeah, we don't have a lot of wallboard left under there
Now, that same drain pipe is also fed by the dishwasher and kitchen
sink, and there is no such trouble with them. Water drains out of the
sink pretty quickly, in fact -- for a sink. As you might guess, without
any overflow line (see below) the washer pump also fills up my sink. So
it seems that at least between my washer and the kitchen sink, the line
A plumber has come in to clean out the drain pipe, and nothing much
changes. I finally attached an overflow line on the access port fixture
on the outside wall of the house (conveniently behind the washer) that
allows this water flow from the washer to shoot out into the garden.
NIce, and kinda spectacular, but ...
I've been told by a neighbor that I'm supposed to NOT have a perfect
seal between the drain hose and the sewer pipe, as there has to be air
pressure relief. (The plumber didn't think this was an issue.) But this
is certainly not the solution to the problem because if the seal isn't
good, as I said, the water just spills out faster!
So it seems that I have a washer pump that is too powerful for my
drain. What are my options? I guess I could constrict the drain hose a
bit to slow the flow, but I'm concerned that might be stressing the
pump. Would it? Actually, I'm probably already stressing the pump with
What do you do with the waste food in dishes. pots/pans, etc????
You could have a fair accumulation of grease and food if you don't
scrape all food and cooking waste into the trash can. Plumbers sell an
enzyme concentrate that you flush down the furthest drain once a month
to digest accumulated sludge in your pipes.
The problem may NOT be the washer, but downstream of the kitchen sink.
Even so, you may still need to get your city to come out and pressure
flush the sewer. I complained of standing sewage in the street and the
next day they broughy out a truck with a 2000 psi water pump on it.
They unplugged at least 3 other partial blockages before they got to my
house. When they broke through the final barrier, a 3 foot high
fountain of water, sludge, and waste went into my yard. They spread a
fair amount of granular chlorine on the waste that remained in my yard.
Byproduct is that the chlorine also killed the mold growing on the
concrete, so it is MUCH whiter than the concrete that was not affected.
Roto Rooter can't do this, they us a mechanical scraper and a garden
hose. The 2000psi pump REALLY cleans things out. And it costs NOTHING
to have done, IF you can really complain about standing sewage water in
Well, yes. Why would we dump grease etc down the sink? Sorry, this one
isn't that easy. We do the right thing with our kitchen waste. Also, in
answer to others, and in relation to this, yes, tried Drano, enzymes,
etc. repeatedly. No change. Also as I said, the kitchen sink drains
fine. This is a fire hose pointed down the drain.
As to having my kitchen sink fill up with washer water, yeah, that's
better than having the water on the floor, but it's a bit ugly when it
pushes stuff up from the trap. Yes, having a special sink for a drain
reservoir is what many people do, but I don't have room for that.
Let me just emphasize that this washer pumps water out FAST. When it's
shooting into my garden, it's spurting out two feet in an inch-wide
Now, in the limit of constricting the drain hose, it IS going to lower
the flow rate. So that's not an issue. The issue is whether I damage
the pump by doing that.
The normal way this problem is avoided is by having a laundry tub that
the hose empties into. The water in my tub gets up to 15 inches deep
I think while the washer** is draining, and I think that is typical.
So you have your kitchen sink and it's doing the same thing. I think
you are lucky your sink is doing this. Otherwise the washer hose
might be pushed out of the pipe.
*which I think is one notch larger than some, but isn't heavy duty,
let alone extra heavy duty. What does that mean: it can wash a lot
of heavy denim at one time. I think.
It's not bad like when the woman upstairs, in an apartment no less,
put Drano into her sink, and it backed up in my mother's sink and
ruined her dutch oven that she had for 40 years. Just don't put
drano in your laundry and everything will be good.
I don't think you are because it has the kitchen sink as an outlet.
Just don't plug the sink when doing the laundry.
Would a constriction on the hose help? I'm not a repairman or
anything, just a guy with one washing machine and three others in
earlier years. But when you squeeze a lot of hoses, it just spurts
out faster in the opening that is there. That doesn't seem to match
the laws of pressure from high school physics. They would seem to
imply your plan would lower the output. Someone more clever than I
can resolve this.
If you were designing something from scratch, I think one would put a
restriction in the pump inlet, but that's deep inside the washing
machine and I definitely wouldn't mess with it.
I think you should regard your kitchen sink as a laundry tub.
Then you're done and it won't cost you a penny. Besides the fact
that I see no other choice.
Does it ever get too high for the kitchen sink?
Have you considered placing a restriction in the line
between the washer and the wall? Since the washer's pump is
probably on a float and not just a timer, reducing the flow
might be a stopgap measure. I would have no problem pumping
the water to the yard or garden or even a ditch, but YMMV.
Just for the heck of it, have you tried running a rod down
the drain line? Have you tried putting a can of Drano in
the line, adding some water and letting it sit for a few
hours? I'd even consider doing the Drano bit from the
kitchen sink because of old buildup. Here at the house, we
have no problems, but I still do Drano in every sink yearly
or even semiannually.
Code for this type of drain is 2" drain pipe. With a laundry tub, 1 1/2" works.
It is possible that careful cleaning of the drains could lessen your problem.
could plumb the washer hose directly to the drain and add an air trap there to
suction when the water stops. Then have drain stoppers that can be shut tight on
sink to prevent overflows there. Resticting the washer hose enough to reduce the
would likely result in a place for lint to catch and gradually close it off
further. I don't
know how much pressure washer pumps can handle. Contact a washer repairman
for that info.
Don't blame washer. Something wrong on the side of the drain. Undersized
or being plugged up. How high is the stand up pipe? I have never
experienced problem like that. Had the problem always? If not think logic.
That would be something to think about.
I had a problem with my washer drain backing up and
finally got tired of it. It wasn't quite the same as
your descrption, but it happened over and over. I
called the plumber and said I wanted it fixed. He came
and replaced the line from the washer and sink back to
the (larger) line under the bathroom. He also installed
a vent at the washer drain. Before the closest vent was
at the kitchen sink, which is too far away. So check on
that too. Then call a different plumber and get
somebody to replace all the drain with an appropriate
In my case it cost me $700 here in Tulsa, OK. The
installation is different, because the drain is no
longer in the wall, it now runs on the surface of the
wall behind the washer. The vent is run up the wall
about 7 feet and has a one way valve on the top.
By the way, mine is in the garage.
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