I have the tiolet off of the floor and the flange exposed but I have a
lead bend in it (from the flange to the main line about 1 foot or so)
and I was told that an industrial snake will destroy that lead bend.
Do I just use a smaller snake but then it may not fully clear the
I could go through the trap right before the line goes out to the
septic but then I will have to do it backwards and I am told that I
need the line to be near the machine so it doesn't go flailing around
the room (ideal would be a drain opening in the floor right next to
This is probably one of things best left to a company that does it but
unfortunately these are guys that are in between jobs and I doubt they
will take into consideration the lead bend for example. So I want to
do it myself or at least be educated enough as possible. Any ideas?
Yep. Excellent chance you will be replacing the lead bend.
Anyway, I doubt that the machine will be effective going that
distance with all those bends.
Are you *sure* that there is an actual clog in the house sewer
leading to the tank? Like tree roots? If tree roots, you'll
need a powerful cutter with minimum length of stout cable.
Is it possible that the drain field is saturated, rather than a clog?
Can you get the tank lid off to provide clues?
Could there simply be a paper clog right in the trap?
Give this project some thought before jumping in.
All those bends??? It's "one" bend. Down from the floor to 90 degree
to a Y fitting where it attaches to the cast iron line.
Am I sure??? I am not sure of anything. It's a little hard to be
sure without actually checking for things. However, I doubt there are
tree roots in the line as there aren't any trees around the house. If
the drain field was saturated I would expect to see this problem
during every shower, dishwasher load, etc. It's only from the washing
machine -and- I can run the washing machine over and over and over
again one run after the other with the same problem. If I had a
saturated field I would think that eventually I would reach a point
where it would not take anything more and I would get a complete
backup. Secondly, I can run the washing machine in the morning where
nobody has used any significant water for over 12 hours and it will
still do the same thing. My theory is that between the drain cycles
on two or more washer runs this main drain pipe has enough time to
discharge. Hence, "the thought" that I have given this.
If there were a paper clog right at the main trap then the other two
drain lines coming from the house would be having similar problems and
they are not - plus I took the two caps off of the septic trap and it
What "clues" are you going to find by looking under the septic tank
cap? Besides the "scum" at the top of surface I doubt you will find
Give it some thought??? I can think about it until I am blue in the
face. It's time to start "jumping in" and trying different things.
Yes, it could be A, B, C or D - now it's time to start eliminating
some of them. So far I have snaked the vent stack to the roof - clean
as a whistle, ran a small auger snake back from the septic trap
towards the area where the problem is - nothing significant came out -
but then again it was not an industrial snake.
One point that someone just made was to check the actual "vent" not
the "vent stack" that many people think is always the problem. Their
theory is that a large rush of water (from a washing machine) is not
venting at the front of the water rush due to a partial clog of the
main vent. This sounds plausible but I am skeptical - it's a four
inch copper vent line with a grate at the end. What could have gotten
in this past the grate (and want to stay in there.) Bugs perhaps. I
am going to check it but I don't have much hope.
Apologies for any perceived criticism. You have indeed
done the homework :-)
Removing the tank lid would allow you to see the amount
of flow *into* the tank. Would also vent pressure ahead of the
flow. If there is only a trickle of flow, then you know
a clog exists between house and tank.
Would it be practical to excavate the line leading into the
tank? Cut in a TEE for access?
Plan "B": Rent a sewer machine which mounts on a
tripod stand to get the auger up at the trap level.
I wish I could rent an industrial snake on a tripod - no such thing at
my local equipment rental. Even if I could of course it would be
going backwards (or uphill towards the beginning of the drain line)
but it might be enough to dislodge something and maybe I could keep
the faucet on while snaking.
I picked up (borrowed) a small electric snake tonight. I've seen this
one in action and it does not spin very fast. I am going to snake the
vent line to the outside if I can get to it through the septic's trap
(I think I can do it) then I am going to snake from the last elbow
straight out to the septic. Then I can try (again) to go back from
the trap to the end of the drain line but I doubt it will do anything
(with this snake and the various endpoints on it.)
I don't have much hope and I am afraid this is going to remain a
mystery either forever or until the problem worsens or until someone
qualified can take over. Sewer line cleaners are shady - just like
chimney cleaners, carpet cleaners etc. They work on commission and
solving your problem is not their top priority only trying to scam you
into some horse$hit "product."
I really don't need to cut a tee into the line outside to the septic.
I have a clean out right on the 90 degree cast iron bend as it heads
outside. It's only about 8' or so from the basement to the tank.
Probably not allowed by code anymore to be that close.
Have you ever lifted a septic cover to "look at the flow into the
tank?" Not much to see past the 12" layer of scum is there? It would
be one thing if you could take the "entire" cover off of a tank which
is possible on some steel tanks but not on concrete ones. It's just
the opening on top. The only way to see inside is to have it pumped
out....or jump in!
You might try a drain king while you have the toilet off. These
are patented rubber bulbs that you hook to your garden hose. You
can run them from the drain valve on the hot water tank for an
even stronger effect. Your distances are minimal so it should be
relatively easy. They are inexpensive and should be readily
available. Here is a link:
an alternate brand:
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
That looks interesting. I wish I could find some reviews on it. I
thought I would not that you need to buy the right model for the size
pipe you have. For main drain lines it looks like this one is it.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)96392286&sr=1-3
On Nov 29, 10:14 pm, poison email@example.com wrote:
Just a follow up on my success just in case someone is searching for
this topic in the future:
Here's what I did.....for now::::
I ran the snake from the trap backwards to the toilet while running
the hot water from the faucet. Some small pieces of like soap came
off the pipe walls but nothing to get excited about. The end of the
snake kept coming up the toilet bend. I could not get it to go to the
end of the line to save my life. I couldn't reach down the bend far
enough the steer it the other way. Not a big deal it only had about
three more feet to go and I was 99% sure that three foot section was
not the problem area.
I then ran the snake from the right side of the trap out to the septic
tank and I could not get it through the sanitary T bend. So I put the
spring type end piece on the snake and just kept working it until I
got it to go. It must have gone about 12 feet or so and then just
stopped. I am not sure why, I thought it would have gone into the
tank and just kept going and going and going. But there might be a
final turn as it goes into the tank where it got caught up on.
I then decided just to snake down from the clean out for the bathrooms
upstairs down to the trap. I figured "why I have this here - might as
well" and then a ton of hair and gunk came out but this was not on the
problem line (remember this later for my theory.)
I ran it back out to the septic and got it go through with the big
blade end piece.
I then went outside with the snake and ran the snake through the
septic's vent back to the trap. I wanted to go the opposite way but I
could not get it to go up the vent line once it got started from the
left side of the trap. It took awhile and again I had to use the
spring end. It when through and I could see it come out into the
trap. It had like some very small amount of hair which I thought was
very odd - not sure how that got in there.
I then went back to my local hardware store (was there in the morning)
and bought some special sulphuric acid as per the recommendation of
the guy who works there. "Safe for septics" so they say. I dumped
some in down the lead bend (where the toilet is) and dumped some in on
the right side of the trap towards the septic. This special acid is
supposed to "react slowly" and then neutralize.
If you think the septic smells bad try this acid.
Anyway, you let it sit in the pipes for about 15 minutes then you have
to flush it out for five minutes with cold water. It is supposed to
eat anything "organic" including soap.
I finally reinstalled the toilet and ran the washing machine four
times (with soap) and the problem did not occur. There was some dust
floating in the toilet when I first set it up and it was still there
after the four washes.
So here's my theory:::::
It might be that the hair clump in the other drain line was just low
enough to pick up water when the main pipe filled with the large flow
from the washing machine. When the clump got wet it got pulled down a
little into the main to block the flow in the main line. When it
dried out it went back up in the other pipe. This is essentially what
the plumber who fixed my closet flange thought the problem was - a
clog that was expanding and contracting.
I hope that's the case then I don't have to worry about this. I'm not
100% convinced that's what it was but maybe 50/50.
It was hell but I'm glad I did it. Sometimes you just gotta "jump in"
there Speedy Jim.
Let us know if the problem comes back.
2 quick thoughts:
The tank inlet may have a baffle plate.
That will deflect the snake and make it
difficult to get past. Possible that's what
you ran into.
The sewer line from house to tank may be collapsed
or compromised in some other way. Snaking it will
provide some temporary relief but likely will clog
again in a short time.
You really didn't read what I wrote did you? Snaking the line to the
septic was probably not the main issue. Clearing the partial clog at
the bottom the drain line for the upstairs was! I stand by my theory
that as the water ran by it or should I say "under it" it saturated
the blob which then caused it to lower and block the drain line to the
Will it come back? Maybe but being that I've been running the washing
machine all weekend and it's been fine and it was also fine for six
years when we moved into the house (started four years ago) I think
I'm in the clear.
The line from the trap inside the house to the tank is about 10 feet
long. There is nothing there (on the outside) except grass and the
line is at least three feet down. If this were shot I would be seeing
it with all water not just hte washing machine. Driving the lawn
tractor over it did not nor will it cause it to "collapse". I don't
know Jim, I think your view of things is that the glass....or should I
"septic tank" is always half empty.
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