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Water is supposed to go down the drain, not up!

ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
We've had some issues with our kitchen sink draining slowly over the last couple of weeks. No big deal, we did some household fixes on it (plunging, chemicals, etc), and it seemed to alleviate the problem. Until tonight, when the sink overfilled with hot brown water. This water was from the upstairs neighbor's dishwasher. Ugh. At this point, we are convinced that the condo is haunted by some captive water spirit since this is the third water issue we've had (broken water heater -> flooded carpet, upstairs toilet overflowing -> flooded bathroom).

The neighbor turned off their dishwasher and the sink has slowly drained, but it took over an hour. I'm guessing there is a clog way down the line, but so far we've had no issues with our dishwasher, bathroom sink, bathtub, or washing machine. A plumber is going to need to come and take care of this (it's a condo issue, not landlord, but he's taking care of us regardless).

The question I have is: is there anything I can do to make sure there's no more gross backflow in the meantime? The upstairs neighbors and us are going to avoid using our kitchens for the night, though that's not really fair if it continues beyond tonight. And I'm worried that even if I can shut off that drain that it will just find another place to empty into.

WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter

Posts

  • Liquid HellzLiquid Hellz Registered User regular
    Should be ok as long as no more water goes into that plumbing stack. A stack will usually carry all similar items.. so for instance in a condo if all the layouts and floor plans are the same all the kitchen sinks are connected into the plumbing inside the wall all the way up the building. If the drain gets clogged below your floor... then your sink becomes the new drain for everyone above. The other plumbing items in the home will have different stacks they are connected to. Have the plumber clear it and send the bill to the condo association.

    What I do for a living:
    Home Inspection and Wind Mitigation
    http://www.FairWindInspections.com/
  • HeraldSHeraldS Registered User regular
    Had this happen in an apt I lived in, was a house that had been converted to 8 units. A plumber had to come snake the line almost all the way to the sewer hookup. It might get funky again so if you can alert more neighbors do so. Good luck.

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    I own a 100 year old house, which had a drainage problem with the kitchen sink. It turns out that the main drainage pipe had clogged up with grease just through time. If you have garbage disposals and dishwashers, it clogs up that drain pipe far, far faster than 100 years. If the drain pipe is tilted at the wrong angle (usually too steep, due to sloppy construction), the pipe will clog even faster than normal.

    If you have PVC drain pipes, this is a fairly easy fix. The plumber will just run a snake coil through the drain pipe in your basement for an hour, until all the gunk is cleaned out.

    If you have older cast iron pipes, they'll have to be replaced with PVC, and it'll take all day.

    iTNdmYl.png
    bowen
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    is it just the two condos using the drain? If so you probably don't have anything to worry about, unless they turn their washing machine back on or something. If there are more, get hold of the association or whatever you have and let them know. If you're on the bottom/ground floor there could potentially be quite a few units impacted by a clog.

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    I have no idea how many units are on this drain. The condo association didn't get back to me last night (nice emergency line, folks). The building has five units. Ours is on the bottom with another bottom unit on the other side, two top units, and a center unit that is two stories. I'm hoping it is just the two units on one drain, but again I don't know for sure.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    If you have some drainage. You could use some main line cleaner. That stuff works ok for slow draining lines, depending on what's causing it.

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    So update. The condo association's maintenance guy came down and the management wouldn't let him call a plumber until he did things himself. It's like dealing with Comcast here. He snaked the drain and couldn't find anything. Sweet. Then he poured an industrial chemical down the drain (red crystals), sent water after it, and plunged for half an hour. The water seemed to finally go down then, but also started leaking from the P trap.

    So it might have worked? Also might have broken things more? We're going to run hot water down the drain again for a while and see if it continues to drain and make sure there's no more leakage.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited May 2014
    So update. The condo association's maintenance guy came down and the management wouldn't let him call a plumber until he did things himself. It's like dealing with Comcast here. He snaked the drain and couldn't find anything. Sweet. Then he poured an industrial chemical down the drain (red crystals), sent water after it, and plunged for half an hour. The water seemed to finally go down then, but also started leaking from the P trap.

    lol?

    I know it's probably not funny on your end, but that could've ruptured a pipe and / or just moved the blockage further down the line. If that happened, it would've been much cheaper for management to just call a plumber in the first place. Betting that Random Maintenance Guy could save them some bucks with a real plumbing issue was hilariously stupid, even if it did happen to work this one time.

    Is your Condo Association's management an elected group? If so, my advice is to elect new management as soon as you can. People with that attitude will have all of the building's shit wrecked before too long.

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
    bowencabsychrishallett83
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    I don't think so. This is a company running the show, and they've been trying to rent most of the units rather than sell them. This unit we're renting from a private owner, and he's been very cool with us about this whole thing, but he's furious at the property management (understandably).

    And yea, those were my thoughts too. The piping seems ok now, I think he probably used too much of the chemical and it boiled in the trap, causing the gaskets to leak. I'm going to watch it for a few days and make sure nothing else drips, but for now it seems ok. Hopefully the clog didn't get pushed further down because last night was a wreck and I do not want a repeat.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited May 2014
    Nope, not a leaking gasket, a melted pipe. It's not bad, but it's melted inward, kind of crumpled looking just past the trap. I'm sure that will bring about a near-future of clogged piping.

    I think my landlord is going to go nuclear on the property management company.

    Edit: the picture is difficult to make out thanks to the light. It's a very obvious inward bend in the pipe. Ugh.

    1bsaeeqycmwc.jpg

    Shadowfire on
    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • KakodaimonosKakodaimonos Registered User regular
    Yep. That's what happens when you use a caustic drain cleaner on a full clog in PVC pipes. The chemicals just sit there at the clog merrily bubbling away while generating a ton of heat. That pipe should really be replaced.

    In the future, there are some enzymatic drain cleaners which work, but they're more of a preventative to keep the drain from getting blocked in the first place.

    bowen
  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread Registered User regular
    Fortunately, p-traps are super cheap and easy to replace. Any home improvement store will have them.

    XaquinJihadJesus
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Well this isn't the trap, it's the pipe connecting to the trap. I'm sure that is still easy to replace, but fuck that. Their bad decision making broke it, they can pay to have it professionally replaced.

    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Also look for those accordion-style plungers. They are amazing at getting out clogs in sinks. Make sure the one you get can fit into the sink or is specifically designed for sinks.

    Got a pretty long standing clog out of a bathroom sink after the chemicals failed for me.

    Apparently someone had pooped in the sink before we moved in because some poop came back up with it. I hope to hope it wasn't an actual backup from sewage.

    Ladies.
  • SpiritfireSpiritfire Brookfield, WIRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Also look for those accordion-style plungers. They are amazing at getting out clogs in sinks. Make sure the one you get can fit into the sink or is specifically designed for sinks.

    Got a pretty long standing clog out of a bathroom sink after the chemicals failed for me.

    Apparently someone had pooped in the sink before we moved in because some poop came back up with it. I hope to hope it wasn't an actual backup from sewage.

    I've never regretted reading to the end more than I have today.

    bowenKick_04Shadowfire
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