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?
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
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.
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 ?
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
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?
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.
email@example.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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org (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
email@example.com (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.
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