An article in our local paper over the weekend hit the nail on the head for our house: holiday weekends are a field day for plumbers.Anyway, on Thanksgiving in the midst of cooking, our kitchen sink started to drain slowly and now will drain only if we run the disposal. As soon as the disposal stops, water fills back up.We have been able to run the dishwasher...watching carefully and turning on the disposal when water starts to fill.In the morning, after sitting all night, the water is gone, but quickly fills back up once we start to use the sink.Initially we thought it was the disposal gone bad, DH purchased and installed a new one on Saturday. Obviously that didn't help.Several helpful family members and office co-workers have suggested it is the vent...but we can't seem to find it. The rest of the house, toilets, showers, washing machine, are all fine (knock on wood).As we wait for our plumbing service contract folks to try to fit us into their schedule, any ideas?Thanks!Pam
As we wait for our plumbing service contract folks to try to fit us into their schedule, any ideas?You mean besides disconnecting the trap to see if there's any gunk in there and if there isn't, running a snake/auger through to try to dislodge a blockage (being very careful when you pull it out because black gunk, "mung" is the term I think, will splatter all over everywhere) or gently reminding you that cooking grease shouldn't be poured down the sink, if it's a grease clog you can find your own solutions, I don't have one, well, besides that, no, I don't have any ideas.HM!:)
I forgot to add, DH did run a snake down the pipe...about 20 feet. We figured anything past that would also be effecting the toilets, etc.Wonder where the "trap" is....sure sounds like that could be the problem, we just can't figure out where it is!Thank you for trying to help,Pam
The trap is the U-shaped section of pipe directly under the sink. It will temporarily catch many solids dropped down the sink like rings or coins. If you sent a snake 20 feet down the pipe, then you passed the trap. Your problem is elsewhere.
Yes, I just called DH who is sitting at home waiting for the plumber people to call back. He said he did go past the trap....still searching for the vent as we're thinking that must be where the problem is.Thanks much.Pam
Your problem is elsewhere. If you have a double bowl sink in the kitchen, then the disposal is under one and the trap is under the other. It is called a "U" trap because, well, it is shaped like a "U", which means it stays filled with water so sewer gases can't come back into the house.However above the "U" trap is a connector which routes the disposal waste to a common pipe above the U-trap. That connector isn't, as many believe, a common "T" connector, but has a baffle designed to prevent disposal waste from shooting upwards into the second sink when ejected by tyhe disposal. The downside is that the baffle reduces by half the size of the opening of the connection.So I would disassemble that connector (as well as the U-trap) and take a look. Chances are you have some stringy celery stalk stuff or other debris clogging that baffle. When the disposal is on it "forces" water through, and water can "seep" past the clog, but only very slowly.The piece will look like a (sideways) "T" connector above the "U" trap. Unthread it and clean it out, I'll bet that's your problem. (Snaking down through the second sink won't get it, the clog is on the othe side of the baffle, which comes from the disposal - which you can't snake.)
Well that sounded very hopeful but we only have one sink...read your explanation to DH, he seems to think he has the trap all cleaned out.Thanks for trying to help us!Pam
can you see your "plumbing" (ie, crawl space? basement?)? the reason for the question? if your sink is located some distance from where the "rest" of your plumbming lines are, you may not have snaked it all out. one other thing to try? Toilet bowl plunger in your sink... fill up the sink until you have standing water and give it your best shots.... see if something dislodges... asking about the distance, because for the house we are about to build, our kitchen sink will be approx 30 feet from where it will connect to the main drain line. This means, that while the rest of the house maybe functioning, fine, a snake of 20 feet wouldn't have gotten totally thru the sink drain line... and while you say, the garbage disposal "clears the sink", that is in a sense, a "powerflush" similar to what the toilet bowl plunger would do... by the way, I have used this method successfully in the past.... now if it is a clogged vent??? you might want to consider an alternative fix... ie, install one of those "local vents" that go under the sink if your main vent is inaccessible...
have suggested it is the vent...but we can't seem to find it.OK, I do have more suggestions. :)The vents usually stick up through your roof. If somebody can get up there and see if a bird built a nest or something, maybe thread a wire with a hook down to try to pull something up...you don't want to push any blockages further down though.And if it's a dead squirrel, well, ick.HM!
depending on the design, believe most homes have ONE main vent stack to which the branch vents connect... could be tough to get something down the main stack and make a 90 degree turn into the sink vent branch line... we have had times where due to the cold and snow, the main vent stack has "closed up" at the very top... really a lot of fun to drag the ladder out in a snowstorm and get up on the roof to knock the snow/ice cap off.... have to say, until I read this board, I had no idea folks were experiencing plugging of a vent line as it tapped off the drain.... wonder if its a phenomena associated with use of a garbage disposal?
Hopefully we will know soon. Plumber is on the way. We have the ladder ready if he wants to get to the vent on the roof. We do know we have 3 vents on the roof...but as you say, they may be branches from the main vent.I will let you all know the final outcome as you have been so kind to try to help us this morning.Pam
Plumber snaked out to 49 feet...to where basically the 1 1/2" pipe opens to 3". He said he felt something at about 20 feet which was the distance DH was able to snake...but perhaps our little consumer brand snake wasn't strong enough at the extended end to break through. He didn't seem interested in the vent possibility initially...that might have come next if the snake didn't work.I'm doing a couple loads of laundry to send some water downstream...I'd like to make sure whatever it was gets on its way away from the house.Fingers crossed....Thanks again for the help,Pam
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