Bathroom waste puzzle

To set the scene: I have 2 adjacent bathrooms, an en-suite and the family bathroom, which houses the soil stack. From left to right the arrangement is: en-suite washbasin, toilet - dividing wall - family bath, bidet, washbasin, soil pipe, toilet.
Whilst all of the fittings in the en-suite drain perfectly well, the family bath drains slowly and the family toilet drains very slowly indeed, with the water in the pan remaining at a level much higher than it should. We've cleaned the bath waste pipe with foam cleaner and I've spent hours working on the toilet, finally taking it completely off the wall today. I pushed a spring auger into the soil pipe, but there doesn't seem to be any obstruction for it to clear.
I'm completely mystified as to why, when they all share the same soil pipe, the fittings immediately adjacent to the soil pipe don't work properly, but those further away are fine. The effect has always been noticeable, but in the last 6 months has become much worse. I'm willing to believe that there is still a blockage in the bath waste, but as for the toilet, I've completely removed it and can see that it has a clear passage to the soil pipe.
Can anybody offer any suggestions? Cheers, Steve
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Steve Wilson wrote:

This does indeed sound a puzzle. I assume your family toilet has its own pipe leading to the stack? The only way the water level can remain too high permanently is if the pipe goes up hill or the tiolet itself has an obstruction. What happens if you put the loo out in the garden and tip a bucket of water down it? Is the resulting water level normal or too high?. If normal then the problem must(?) be an uphill pipe into the stack. if high then either the loo is partially obstructed or perhaps your assessment of normal is too low?
Damn! vistors have arrived! try this first and I'llbe back tomorrow
regards
Bob
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Well, I've tried filling the loo and it seems to settle at a normal level, though I notice that it only takes a very small incline one way or the other to make a significant difference to the water level. What I should have added earlier was that not only is the water level high in the loo, but that it also does not flush anythinng away (and I have recently fitted a brand new flush valve). I'm going to have a take a break from toilet troubleshooting today while I fit some kitchen cabinets, but I'll be back on the case shortly. I'm thinking of trying a proper controlled experiment and swapping the loos around to see how they perform. Cheers, Steve
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The appliances closest to the soil stack are the slowest running ?
From your layout description, I take it that the en-suite pipework is running below the pipes in the family bathroom. Yes ? No ?
Are all the appliances running toward the one soil stack ? Or is there a separate stack for solid waste, and another for waste water only ?
Do you have any through wall pipework that connects to an external stack ?
Is the en-suite floor higher than the floor in the family bathroom ?
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Bob wrote:

Bob, Yes, the appliances closest to the soil-stack are the slowest running, and I think the en-suite pipework must run in lower than the family bathroom, as there is a boxed in section of pipe in the garage below the ensuite. There is just one soil stack and nothing external. The en-suite floor is on the same level as the family bathroom. Do these answers shed any light? Cheers, Steve
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Sorry BigWallop, I wrongly referred to you as Bob in my last post ! Regards, Steve
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I've been called worse things than Bob. :-))
Have a read through Mr Thorntons reply, as I am in the same mind as he as to the problem you're getting.
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Hi. This is easy, if I've got the layout right.
There will be a blockage either in the stack pipe itself, or more likely in the underground sewage piping. Now I'll explain why each item behaves as it does.
The loo far from the stack has a lot of horizontal-ish 4" pipe to empty into, whereas the loo close to the stack doesnt, hence one empties easily, into the pipe, and the other doesnt.
If the ensuite bath is connected to the 4" pipe in the ensuite, it too will empty into that pipe. So when the plug's pulled it fills the soil stack and fills the indoor piping. I bet if you filled this bath to the brim you'd see a different story, with a long empty time.
The washbasins hold so little that they can empty hapily into an almost blocked soil pipe, and nothing amiss is noticed. The bidet probably would behave similarly.
Usually these blocks occur at a bend in the pipe underground. You'll need to lift the manhole covers and rod the shitpipe - a real fun job.
Now I might have guesed wrong of course, but this fits the picture and is a standard problem. Dont delay, as you could get a total block of all appliances any time: and inevitably will if its not cleared.
BTW, if there is a separate downpipe for grey water you'll finds it joins the same waste stream as the soil pipe at some point.
Regards, NT
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Thanks NT - guess I'd better get a set of rods :-( What a way to spend the festive season! I think I'll go back to finishing off my kitchen cabinets and put off the evil moment. Regards, Steve
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Steve Wilson) wrote in message

I'd get it done if I were you, becuse everything that goes down is backing up behind the blockage, and will form a watertight bung at any moment.
I hope you have rodding points, last time we had to do this there was nothing anywhere, no manhole, all the piping was cast iron, nothing :) Had to guess where the pipe ran and dig a manhole to do it.
I know, its no fun, but you'll appreciate the christmas pudding afterwards :)
Regards, NT
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snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk (N. Thornton) wrote in message

Well, the problem is now solved, but not resolved. Before rodding the drains, I also dismantled the working loo in the en-suite and discoved an attachment at the bottom of the flush valve marked "airex armitage shanks". I swapped the valve and attachment over to the offending loo, which now works perfectly. A quick google of UK DIY revealed that I have a rare Armitage Shanks loo which requires an "Airex valve" PROBLEM - where can I buy an Airex valve for my en-suite loo? Googling revealed no online suppliers. Has anybody else sourced one before? TIA Steve
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Try:
http://www.cwberry.com/epb2.01/08-plumbing/08-01-bathrooms/cist-flush-pipes-fittings.htm
Andrew Mawson
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Steve Wilson) wrote in message

What do you mean flush valve? Just where is this thing?
Regards, NT
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Have you contacted Armitage Shanks?
Regards, NT
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snipped-for-privacy@meeow.co.uk (N. Thornton) wrote in message

Not yet, though I did have a good look around their website. I'll contact them if I draw a blank elsewhere.

Where the siphon unit terminates below the cistern with a short length of threaded tube to take the plastic nut which secures it to the cistern, this valve is pushed up into it from below. There is a large tube which slides smoothly inside the siphon unit, with some sort of valve arrangement at one end. From this protrudes another, smaller tube. Near the end of this smaller tube is a small doughnut washer, which mates up with a small hole within the loo. I'm aware that that wasn't a great description - if you are really curious I have a photo I could email to you. Regards, Steve
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