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knight1fox3

Home Improvement/Repair Questions

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Did a little searching to see if a thread like this existed. Didn't find anything recent though and most were very application specific. This could be a good thread to post more general questions.



And to start it off, calling all those with plumbing experience. The main sewer drainage pipe in our basement seems to leak but only when we have a heavy rain. And it only leaks from the seals/collars. I tried re-caulking the seals and tightening and collar fasteners but it doesn't seem to help. But I'm also confused as to why it ONLY leaks during a heavy rainfall and not for any other drainage activities (i.e. dishwasher, clothes washer, showers, etc.). And it doesn't really leak to where there's a constant flow, it's very gradual and I can see that some of the moisture does follow the short slope toward the floor drain near the furnace. So I guess that's good but just curious if I need to be concerned about this or should try something to rectify the issue.



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are you on city sewer or septic


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city might have combined storm/sewer lines in your area which puts just enough pressure on your pipes.



Septic - you might have a clog in the field


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Is that a clean out facing the wall?



I was thinking the same thing as snick. And the city sewer doesn't even have to be a combined system. It could have been designed as a sanitary system but receives lots of inflow and infiltration. That combined with a partial blockage of the city sewer, and now you have water backed up in your pipe.



I see you have a sink next to the rubber fittings. Is the leak below or above the drain in the sink?


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One quick thing you can do is to run a snake from your cleanout (provided you have access) out to the main. Tree roots are notorious for breaking thru the house run and causing backups.

If the snake hits a major restriction, hire someone to power auger thru or plan to replace that line.

If there are no restrictions/issues then its an issue with the main in the street.

Good luck.

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^ several family members have had to do that.



a lot of times those "flushable" wipes and girl hygiene products get stuck too. if there are roots in the way that makes the problem worse

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Is that a clean out facing the wall?

I was thinking the same thing as snick. And the city sewer doesn't even have to be a combined system. It could have been designed as a sanitary system but receives lots of inflow and infiltration. That combined with a partial blockage of the city sewer, and now you have water backed up in your pipe.

I see you have a sink next to the rubber fittings. Is the leak below or above the drain in the sink?

Ha ha, ya I was waiting for someone to comment on that. We have a partially finished basement which you can tell the previous owners did after the fact. I was considering making a small access door so that I can get at it from the other side. Just painted drywall on the other side. As for the leaks, I updated the photo to show where I have found moisture. Some are above the utility sink and some are below, so both I guess. You can see the one coupling (highest) that I used the purple PVC joint sealant on and then used silicon to seal it. I don't find much leaking from that point anymore.

One quick thing you can do is to run a snake from your cleanout (provided you have access) out to the main. Tree roots are notorious for breaking thru the house run and causing backups.

If the snake hits a major restriction, hire someone to power auger thru or plan to replace that line.

If there are no restrictions/issues then its an issue with the main in the street.

Good luck.

Thanks for the suggestion. When you say "out to the main", where does that access occur?

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It looks like PVC going into the ground. If It's new construction, the connection to the street is also PVC. IMO, root intrusion into PVC is rear.


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When you say "out to the main", where does that access occur?

behind your drywall.

You might also have a clean out somewhere else along your sewerline.

Edited by matt267
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K1F3, the access that is facing the wall is your main cleanout. You might be able to access from the floor drain too. Run the snake all the way out to the street.

Even PVC can get restricted by roots. Or it doesn't get buried deep enough and gets crushed by driving over da yard.

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PVC pipe attached with PVC cement should not leak. The PVC cement fuses the PVC to itself. Because this only happens during heavy rain, is it possible that you have a small roof leak where the main stack exits the roof? I had this happen to me when we first bought my house. The rubber boot around the vent was leaking and the water followed the pipe all the way down the the basement. You might be seeing the small about of water where is pools up on the lips of the seams.


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Oh ok. I know where the access is since it's in a terrible position. I just wasn't sure how I would know I was out to the street with whatever snake I could rent. How far would that be? Seems like there would be too many turns/bends to get the snake through. :dunno:



Thanks for the replies thus far.


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PVC pipe attached with PVC cement should not leak. The PVC cement fuses the PVC to itself. Because this only happens during heavy rain, is it possible that you have a small roof leak where the main stack exits the roof? I had this happen to me when we first bought my house. The rubber boot around the vent was leaking and the water followed the pipe all the way down the the basement. You might be seeing the small about of water where is pools up on the lips of the seams.

If that's the case (and it very well could be), any I have yet to see any condensation chasing down the pipe. But it may be so little that it dries up before I have a chance to see it. Yet the pool around the seals is still present. This particular storm came through late last night so I didn't get a chance to look at things until the morning. I'm going to have to remember to check on that when we have another storm during the day. Thanks.

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Oh ok. I know where the access is since it's in a terrible position. I just wasn't sure how I would know I was out to the street with whatever snake I could rent. How far would that be? Seems like there would be too many turns/bends to get the snake through. :dunno:

Thanks for the replies thus far.

Once in your sewer line, below your basement floor, none of the bends should be greater than 45 deg. It "should" be a relatively straight shot from the point in your pic to the street. But I guess there is always an exception.

And no I'm not a plumber, I'm just speaking on personal experience from my own house and my work here in reviewing city sewer issues.

Edit:

Also, if you're seeing water on the pipe above the utility sink, that may indicate that it is NOT the city sewer backing up or even a blockage in your line under the slab. If the city sewer was backing up, I would think that you would see wastewater, or at least have some odors/evidence, in the sink before the seam above the sink was to leak.

Edit 2:

Do you have any floor drains in the basement? Or a toilet or shower?

(Sorry for all the reply/edits. I just get excited about wastewater)

Edited by matt267

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Edit:

Also, if you're seeing water on the pipe above the utility sink, that may indicate that it is NOT the city sewer backing up or even a blockage in your line under the slab. If the city sewer was backing up, I would think that you would see wastewater, or at least have some odors/evidence, in the sink before the seam above the sink was to leak.

Well again I appreciate the replies from everyone. And that's what I was thinking about eh city sewer backing up. Wouldn't it also be backing up from my floor drain where the furnace discharge is if this were the case?

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I don't know much about plumbing, I usually just change parts until something works..



Do you have some sort of air intake pipe on the roof that is maybe taking in to much water?



I had a mystery leak in the basement at old house that I swore only happened when the washing machine was running, I was close to busting up tile in laundry room until I knocked a picture of a wall in the kitchen (above the leak in the basement but below the laundry room) & discovered that someone!!! had driven a picture nail through the sheetrock and into the PVC pipe,, causing an arbitraty leak down below..



so that F'n water can do some crazy shit and cause some weird problems..


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Well again I appreciate the replies from everyone. And that's what I was thinking about eh city sewer backing up. Wouldn't it also be backing up from my floor drain where the furnace discharge is if this were the case?

I forgot you mentioned the floor drain for the furnace. Yeah, it doesn't sound like a city sewer issue.

Do your rain gutters somehow tie into your sewer line?

Edited by matt267

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Do you have an outside clean out tap on your pipe to the sewer? I did plumbing but it was in FL so basements are nothing I ever had to deal with. We always had a clean out T on the outside of the house, it was a tee fitting with a screw on top just outside the wall. This made for easy access and you could see how well everything was draining (turn on a couple of sinks/tubs and watch for flow). Doesn't sound like your problem if nothing happens with the washing machine but if it were the sewer backing up I would expect you to be getting an odor in your basement.

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One quick thing you can do is to run a snake from your cleanout (provided you have access) out to the main. Tree roots are notorious for breaking thru the house run and causing backups.

If the snake hits a major restriction, hire someone to power auger thru or plan to replace that line.

If there are no restrictions/issues then its an issue with the main in the street.

Good luck.

this. My gut reaction to this was taht something outside was broken, partially clogged. could be your service line to the main, could be the main is broken and taking on runoff. most newer san sewers are supposed to have an infiltration shield at the manhole rim access (don't get over excited here with the terminology Matt). sewers could be backing up. ask your neighbors if they have a similar problem. if it's a flat pipe and taking runoff from a storm this it could reach capacity real quick, causing it to back up into homes.

Edited by NJmike PE

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Well again I appreciate the replies from everyone. And that's what I was thinking about eh city sewer backing up. Wouldn't it also be backing up from my floor drain where the furnace discharge is if this were the case?

I forgot you mentioned the floor drain for the furnace. Yeah, it doesn't sound like a city sewer issue.

Do your rain gutters somehow tie into your sewer line?

not necessarily. need to know for sure where that drain is tied to. could be tied to the storm sewer or footing drains in which case it would not back up

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Well again I appreciate the replies from everyone. And that's what I was thinking about eh city sewer backing up. Wouldn't it also be backing up from my floor drain where the furnace discharge is if this were the case?

I forgot you mentioned the floor drain for the furnace. Yeah, it doesn't sound like a city sewer issue.

Do your rain gutters somehow tie into your sewer line?

not necessarily. need to know for sure where that drain is tied to. could be tied to the storm sewer or footing drains in which case it would not back up

It could be.

But fox's picture indicated past water on a seam above the utility sink drain. A sewer back up would get into the sink, if the water was backing up that high.

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Well again I appreciate the replies from everyone. And that's what I was thinking about eh city sewer backing up. Wouldn't it also be backing up from my floor drain where the furnace discharge is if this were the case?

I forgot you mentioned the floor drain for the furnace. Yeah, it doesn't sound like a city sewer issue.

Do your rain gutters somehow tie into your sewer line?

not necessarily. need to know for sure where that drain is tied to. could be tied to the storm sewer or footing drains in which case it would not back up

It could be.

But fox's picture indicated past water on a seam above the utility sink drain. A sewer back up would get into the sink, if the water was backing up that high.

not what I meant. I was referring to the floor drain for the furnace. That could be tied to the storm sewer or footing drains. That would explain why the floor drain doesn't flood first. It is the lowest elevation and if tied to the san sewer it would back up with the main stack in the house

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I understood you were referencing the furnace floor drain possibly being tied somewhere else. I'm not sure what his state requirements are for that, so it might be possible. (Personally, I would never want a drain in my house that was connected to a storm sewer unless there was a really good check valve installed on my property.)



I'm still not convinced it's a city sewer issue though.



We should all get together at fox's house and discuss this over a few beers. Get a group of engineers and wannabes together and we'll complicate the shit of this problem.


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