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Flooding the laundry room.

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JROLLED
JROLLED Member Posts: 3
So I just bought my house at the beginning of the year and just noticed an issue with my plumbing. So I have my laundry dry room on the main floor downstairs, off of the kitchen. The laundry room has a drain made in the floor, and I noticed some water around it one night. Then another night my wife drained the tub upstairs and i was downstairs and heard a gurgling noise and went to check the toilet which is across from the laundry room. I step in water, alot of water. When I flicked the light on the drain in the laundry roo. Floor was flooding my laundry room and part of the little hall between laundry and bathroom. What could it be? It only happens when the tub in the master is draining

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  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,734
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    welcome to the world of clogged drains, usually the lateral under the basement slab or out to the main sewer
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,000
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    Sewer/drain backup. 
  • JROLLED
    JROLLED Member Posts: 3
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    Could it be the septic tank is full?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,419
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    JROLLED said:

    Could it be the septic tank is full?

    Septic tanks don't fill. What can -- and sometimes does -- happen is the leach field clogs, and then you have a nasty mess on the lawn and the department of health gets after you.

    However... drains in the house do clog. The drain from the house to the street or septic system clogs. And then you have what you have found. The sneaky thing is that the clog is rarely complete -- so you only notice it when you have a drain with large capacity and a lot of water -- as it might be a bath tub -- and that overwhelms the ability of the partly clogged drain to carry the water.

    The bad news is that it very rarely improves with time...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    To be clear, septic tanks are always full. Are you sure you have one and not connected to municipal sewer system?
    You run water/sewage into one end of it and an equal amount of "grey" water runs out of the other end usually into a proper leach field. There have been many incorrect methods of grey water disposal, even into a public road ditch.
    There are a lot of "wild west" scenarios possible.
    Sometimes the discharge method freezes shut

    Depending where you are and the conditions of purchase, the seller is responsible to disclose any deficiencies in the systems.

    You may need your lines augured and also some septic work done. You may find a company who does both.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,734
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    The tank should be checked for sludge periodically, if it reaches a height where it flows in to the leach filed, it will plug the leach field and it will need to be replaced.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,858
    edited December 2020
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    You guys are talking about leach fields like its 1913.
    Cesspools can certainly "overfill". Just not like burst out the top overfill. And the usual result is it backs up the main waste pipe. 
    Or it could be a clogged drain. Who knows what the previous owner was flushing. 
    @JROLLED, how old is the house? We're assuming it's the original pools?
    The main waste should enter one pool, then there should be another pool for liquid via a crossover pipe from the main pool.
    You don't know the history of any problems but maybe the neighbors know if the poopy truck has visited that house on occasion. 

    Short story. I'm no cesspool expert, I just have my own nightmare experiences. 
    My cesspools were in the backyard. When I bought the house I did an addition off the rear. The architect put a crawlspace foundation wall right in line with the main waste to the cesspool. The plumber did double offset eighth bends so it would run parallel to the future wall. I knew it then but it passed inspection. 
    Anyway, between annually renting a machine to clear the blockages and then dealing with overfilling, pumping, aerating, rinse and repeat of the pools, I gave up and moved the pools to the front yard.
    JROLLED
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,419
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    A properly maintained septic tank should really be pumped out every three to five years, depending on usage (there are exceptions -- we found that some usages -- elementary schools! -- every year was needed!). It's not expensive, and helps you remember where the darn thing is. As @HVACNUT says, non-digestible sludge collects at the bottom of the tank -- and non-digestible floatables collect at the top. They need to go. If that is done, a properly designed leach field can last a long time. I know of some which are getting on for 50 years old. If that is not done, or if the leach field is of a more modern and compact design, leach field life may be less. A failed leach field really has to be dug up and replaced in a slightly different location -- no easy job on a small lot. It will recover on its own, though, if let alone -- unused -- for a few years, provided it is shallow enough.

    Cesspools are different, and have been banned for decades. They combine the settling and the leaching in one tank -- and yes, when they clog, they're done.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,330
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    Cesspools are different, and have been banned for decades. They combine the settling and the leaching in one tank -- and yes, when they clog, they're done.

    Like Hydronics, there are many different types of septic systems, and there is not always agreement on terminology. What Jamie refers to as a cesspool, I have heard called a cesspit.

    What @HVACNUT calls a cesspool, I have heard called a multi tank system. A multi-tank system could gravity drain into a leach field or be pumped into a mound. It all depends on your local codes, depth of groundwater, and soil types.

    @JROLLED you probably need some sewer rodding. There is a machine called an Electric Eel you can rent from some Home Depots. Or you can call Roto-Rooter. Roto-Rooter will tell you to get the tank pumped first. Tanks that are not pumped often enough can build a scum layer on top which can back into the line and cause a clog.

    Your septic tank may have two access ports. One for pumping (at the far end of the tank from the house), and one for rodding (at near end of the tank closer to the house). Dig down and look in this port. Hopefully you will be able to see the outlet from the house. Draining a bathtub should cause a heavy stream of water here. A trickle would indicate a clog. The clog may be between the tank and the house. Better to rod towards the house from the tank. This way you wont make a mess in your basement.

    I DIY.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,467
    edited December 2020
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    Find out from the previous owner when the septic sys was last pumped out. Based upon the fixture units and the number of occupants in the house, the tank need to be pumped out on a schedule as Jamie Hall says.

    Which is why you use a product like Rid-X on a regular basis and watch what chemicals you put down the drain.

    Sometimes roots get into these old sys, clogging them up.
  • JROLLED
    JROLLED Member Posts: 3
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    The house is 30 years old if that helps
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,330
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    Is the ground frozen above your tank? If not yet, you may want to dig now instead of 4 weeks from now.
    I DIY.
    mattmia2