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Kitchen Sink Backing Up? Check the Trap.

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Janet in New Jersey’s got a leaky roof. What can we do to help you?

    JANET: I had a new roof installed on my home and when I went to use my washing machine I had a tremendous flood. Apparently, they took the vent pipe out and put it back in and it wasn’t in there tight. And I had a lot of water coming out. The roofer was very cooperative. And I had a plumber in but he said it should have been – should be snaked. They put the pipe back in without snaking it and now I’m having a big buildup in my sink.

    TOM: OK. So I’m a bit confused. Is the leak because of a roofing problem or is the leak because of a plumbing problem?

    JANET: The leak is because when they – they have a vent that goes to the top of the roof.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Correct.

    JANET: And apparently they pulled that out and then just pushed it back down again into the plumbing.

    TOM: OK.

    JANET: It wasn’t a tight connection.

    TOM: Alright. So, where the pipe goes through the roof there’s a piece of flashing. And they pulled that out and now that’s been reestablished. And the pipe where you say it goes down and connects in, has that been reset?

    JANET: Well, they reset it but apparently it’s backing up now with …

    TOM: Alright, well that’s a different issue, OK?

    JANET: Oh, OK.

    TOM: This is a completely different issue. Unless – was a reroof going on at the same time here? Was there a lot of debris in the attic space?

    JANET: No. No.

    TOM: Alright, because I was going to say that sometimes the debris could clog the pipe. But the pipe up there is a vent pipe so if your sink is backing up and there’s a clog somewhere down the line, I doubt that these two conditions are connected, Janet.

    JANET: Oh, I see. I thought maybe because they put it back in it did something to (INAUDIBLE).

    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, because the plumbing pipe up above the roof line is for venting. And you’re not going to have water that’s going to get up in there unless there’s a really, really bad backup and it pushes water up that high. So the situation here is that you’ve got a clog somewhere in the line. Is it just in the sink?

    JANET: Yes.

    TOM: Well, check the trap under the sink. That’s the first place to check. Very often …

    JANET: Now, when the plumber came in and fixed it – reconnected the pipe – they took out the hose that I had in the sink and put it in the pipe.

    TOM: OK.

    JANET: And since then I’ve had this problem.

    TOM: Alright, well …

    JANET: Do you think it would help if I just had it snaked?

    TOM: I think that you need to have the plumber come back and he shouldn’t have just done part of the job without doing the whole job and that is to find out why this drain pipe is obstructed. Because obviously that’s what’s happening.

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