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Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer.
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 7586
Experience:  Retired mech. contractor, shop owner, 51 yrs experience.
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After doing a bunch of laundry yesterday I went to use one

Customer Question

After doing a bunch of laundry yesterday I went to use one of the toilets that is downstream from the laundry and it didn't drain properly when flushed. Initially I wasn't sure if the 2 had anything to do with each other so I spent hours working on it thinking I may have had calcium build up. After initially using a closet auger and then cleaning the jets with clr, it still didn't flush. I went in this morning and it flushed perfectly. Multiple times. I figured the CLR, after maybe a little bit being left in the toilet, had fixed it. So I started to clean the bathroom starting with bathtub, I ran the shower. Then the toilet. But when I flushed, it was back to not draining properly. I noticed gurgling and bubbles. Due to the fact the shower dra ins properly, I think somehow the shower is somehow filling the vent and somehow clogging it, but somehow not affecting the shower drainage performance. I can hear that vent gurgling noise in other drains when the toilet slowly drains.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Phil replied 9 months ago.

Hello, the 4 inch sewer main, down stream of the toilet is beginning to clog up. The washer water full of lint etc makes the clog a little worse for a while then then sewer line finally drains completely.

The problem is usually roots from nearby trees or bushes growing through joiints in the 4" sewer line, the older the line is the more likely that is the case, especially 20 years or older.

Things like CLR, are only good for superficial water scale build ups.... in sewers the problem is mostly tree root issues, or grease and debris build up in the line. If you can find the clean out plug you can rent a 50 or 100" long snake and clean out the sewer line if the tree roots have not grown into too tough of a ball.... when that happens you need to call a 'roto rooter' type company that can run a snake with a root cutter head on it down the line.

You can also try this product for milder root growth problems

http://www.homedepot.com/p/ZEP-2-lb-Root-Kill-ZROOT24/100074551

There is about an 70% chance that will solve the problem, for $12 a treatment it is surely worth a try.

We can go from here as needed.

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