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Washer Backs Up Into Sink

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Next up, a plumbing situation from Lewis who listens to us in Houston on KFNC.

    Lewis, what’s going on?

    LEWIS: Well, I’ve got a drain problem that it’s been plaguing me for the last few months here where the washer, when it runs, it backs up into the sink every time it drains.

    TOM: OK.

    LEWIS: And I’ve tried different things. I’ve tried to snake it. The snake comes out every now and then with just a little bit of fuzz but it doesn’t cure the problem. So I’ve tried different types of drain cleaners. I mean you name it I think I pretty much tried it and I’m not sure what steps to take next.

    TOM: Alright. Well, you have an obstruction somewhere that’s causing this. And you said you’ve snaked it out but how far down have you gone?

    LEWIS: See I may not have – well, I mean is there a wrong way to snake it in this …?

    TOM: You may not have gone far enough down the line.

    LEWIS: OK.

    TOM: Because you know, the water fills up a pipe pretty quickly and if you’ve got an obstruction in there somewhere, you just may not be getting far enough.

    LEWIS: Yes. I go to the back of the house where the service part is – you know, where the sewage is –

    TOM: Right.

    LEWIS: – and I open that up and I can look and I’ve got flow going through there. But (AUDIO GAP) I guess not what you call exactly fast flow.

    TOM: Right. Yeah.

    LESLIE: Well Lewis, also, when you’re snaking your drain it’s very important – especially if you have two sinks coming off the same pipe, what happens is there’s a T or a joint in there and when you’re snaking it, it might not be making that turn.

    TOM: So you could be going down the wrong pipe, literally.

    LEWIS: I was wondering that, too; to see if maybe I was going down the wrong one. Because I think you’re right about the T, though, because one part goes off to the washing machine and the other part goes towards the other parts of the house.

    TOM: Right. So there’s an obstruction there. The only thing that could be causing this is an obstruction. It does not sound like a venting problem; it sounds like an obstruction. So you’ve just got to get to the bottom of that. If you can’t get to it yourself, you might want to call a Roto-Rooter guy or something like that. They even have cameras now that can go down drain pipes and actually physically see where the obstruction is.

    LEWIS: Oh, really?

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Well also, I think, as a homeowner, if snaking a drain is something you’re doing yourself, if it’s done wrong, you can actually cause a lot of damage to your plumbing.

    TOM: That’s a good point.

    LEWIS: (chuckles) OK, I didn’t think about that part.

    TOM: How do you know that, Leslie? (Tom and Leslie laugh)

    LESLIE: Snaking the drain is something that I won’t do myself. But having had the Roto-Rooter people in my house not so long ago, I learned about snaking the wrong pipe, how to find a T or a joint in the drain, what to do and what not to do. And for the 100 bucks, it was worth it.

    TOM: OK.

    LEWIS: (chuckles) I might do that. They also tried to sell me some type of – they said it was probably sediment in the pipes as well or a buildup, just say, around the edge of the pipe.

    TOM: It could. It could be.

    LEWIS: And they were trying to sell me some kind of product that actually – I guess it has some microorganisms or what-not that go and eat the …

    TOM: I wouldn’t put anything down your plumbing pipe except a snake.

    LEWIS: (chuckling) OK.

    TOM: Alright.

    LEWIS: Alrighty. Thanks a lot.

    TOM: Lewis, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

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