Plumbing conundrum

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by CityGirlintheCountry, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    So every year about this time the plumbing in my house stops up for a couple of weeks. There is one bathroom in the house and everything seems to all be linked together (kitchen and bathroom). I have a septic system. I thought it was because the roof vent tube is under a tree and leaves would get in the pipe and clog it up. Every time before when this happened things would drain slow and the toilet wouldn't flush well. This would go on for a couple of weeks and then I would hear a loud WHOOSH and suddenly it would all work great. I thought the leaves had finally decomposed enough to flush down the roof tube thingie and air was flowing again. When I had the new roof put on this summer I had them wrap the top of that tube with screen so no leaves could get in. Problem solved, right?

    No. A couple of days ago the problem started up again. The tub isn't draining well and the toilet isn't flushing out. When the tub drains I hear a glub glub in the pipes and in the toilet. Same deal when you flush the toilet. There is a glub glub noise from the tub pipes. No water is backing up into the other area. It is just the noise. The kitchen sink is draining really slow as well. Arg!

    So it can't be that the roof pipe is clogged. What else could be the problem? The system works fine until October/November and then it all backs up for a couple of weeks. It is the weirdest thing.

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    If it is truly calendar related it has to be falling leaves.
    Get a snake and go into all cleanouts till the problem subsides.
  3. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    There is only the one tube thingie and it has screen over it now. No leaves can get in.

  4. Chick Norris

    Chick Norris Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Chester County, PA
    Just because the leaves can't get into the main vent pipe doesn't mean they haven't completely covered the screen you installed. Check the screen to see if it is blocked by the leaves that have fallen.
  5. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Okay. I checked. There are no leaves on the screen that covers the pipe. As far as I can tell there is only one vent pipe for the whole system.

    Any other thoughts? The first time this happened I had a plumber out. Of course the system started working about an hour before the guy showed up. He charged me $80 to tell me it all seemed to work. [​IMG] I would rather not bring out another plumber.
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    You could add one of these and it may solve the problem:

    A Studor vent is simply a valve that allows air into drainpipes when suction is present. The vent closes when the suction disappears to prevent foul odors from coming back into the building. Often, when a bathtub, shower or washing machine is bubbling or gurgling, either a Studor vent needs to be installed​
  7. StupidBird

    StupidBird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    What a fascinating product! I will have to keep this in mind if I ever get around to fixing the gurgling clothes washer drain. . .
  8. WingingIt

    WingingIt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2009
    Check your clean out valve and see if there are any roots or rotten leaves visible, especially if your tank is close to your house. My Mom's septic was doing the same thing and since it had been literally forever (as in, never) since the thing had been serviced, we talked her into getting it pumped. When they opened it there was a big mat of really thin roots on top and they had gotten into the inflow pipe. Our best guess was that they'd grow and clog it up and then eventually there would be enough pressure to push them back some, then it would start again. Her's didn't happen only once a year, though, it was a couple of times a year.

    Good luck!
  9. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Well... there isn't a clean out valve. That is part of the problem. When the plumber did come out he offered to put one in for about $1800. Which I don't have right now. So we have to wing it and hope there is something else that will work.

    The septic tank was cleaned out about 4 years ago. I am the only one in the house so I wouldn't think it is full. I guess I could have that done again. [​IMG]

    It really feels like an airflow issue. It sounds like a bottle when you turn it upside down and don't let more air in. I guess I need to put in the valve thingie.
  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Do you have wet weather this time of year in TN? Your septic is probably full, full of water as it's not perking out fast enough. In the long run you'd need a new leach field though with those symptoms I'd never do it as you likely don't meet perking code so that's expensive. Something you'd deal with for a month or get it pumped once a year in October.

    All your drains have air access as each drain daylights (water is going down without vacuum, no need for valve thingy). If the septic vent is clogged it would allow gas in your house, it's there to vent gasses so they don't come up your drains. If clogged your toilet would bubble, your house would smell of methane.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by