Asked on Jul 02, 2016

Multiple slow or clogged drains

by Heather
A few weeks ago, I noticed the water was draining slowly from the kids bathroom. Today, our double kitchen sink is clogged. The water will go down for about a minute before the side with the garbage disposal fills up and then the other side fills up. We took 75 feet of wire snake through the kitchen pipe and then did 75 ft through the main drain line in the basement that leads up to the septic tank. The water takes a few minutes before it finally stops and clogs again. So its better but ...there was no obvious obstruction and nothing really came out on the snake. Septic tank was cleaned out 2 years ago exactly. The bathroom is on the 2nd floor and the kitchen on the first. Next steps? Plumber? I'm worried this is a whole house kind of problem.
  17 answers
  • Julies1949 Julies1949 on Jul 02, 2016
    Septic tanks are not in the basement. They are located outside in your backyard. Are you sure you have a septic tank? Or are you connected to city sewer? Either way you could have an obstruction in the main drainage line (commonly caused by tree roots). If you have a septic tank, when was the last time it was cleaned out?
  • Heather Heather on Jul 02, 2016
    my apologies my description isn't quite right. Yes we have a septic tank, I know right where it is outside. The pipes leading outside to the septic tank is what we snaked in the basement. The large pipe leads right up and out of the house. We had it cleaned 2 years ago exactly. Only a few bushes near the septic tank, no large trees at all in our yard.
  • Desertcat lady Desertcat lady on Jul 03, 2016
    Vinegar and baking soda put baking soda in first then pour vinegar it will keep bubbling then after it goes down wait a little as it's still working down in the drain then let hot water runs. Works great
  • Barb Barb on Jul 03, 2016
    Have the septic tank pumped out. It should be done every two years. If the tank itself has filled with sludge it will back up into the house and will likely ruin the drain field. If this happens the whole drain field will have to be replaced and can cost $$$$. Pump the tank asap to rule out any problem outside.
  • Barbara C Barbara C on Jul 03, 2016
    Get a Plumber before it all backs up all over your house. Yes it is expensive, but less than replacing all your floors.
  • Sue Kiene Sue Kiene on Jul 03, 2016
    Have the septic tank pumped out. Depending on how many people you have living in the house and how many females to males and the size of the tank are all factors in how often your tank needs to be pumped. When you call them you can ask if they can inspect the main line. I had a new gas line installed and the gas company's machine sawed right thru my line. It would work ok and then all of a sudden not. Also talk to the septic guy about how often he feels that you should have the tank pumped based on the number of people living in the home. As Barb said you do not want the drain field messed up. I agree with the vinegar and baking soda that Judykephart recommended as well but I would pump the tank first and foremost.
    • See 3 previous
    • Sue Kiene Sue Kiene on Jul 04, 2016
      With that information I tend to agree that it sounds more like an air vent.
  • Ray Phillips Ray Phillips on Jul 03, 2016
    As a retired (always tired) builder depending on where you are most areas want you to have the tank pumped every 2 years. if you have more than 6 people living there you might need to pump it every 18 months. but 2 years since it was pumped out and look in the tank when they pump it out and make sure they get all the solids out. a lot of times workers just don't care about doing a good job and leave some solids in the tank.
  • Ndungey Ndungey on Jul 03, 2016
    This happened to our house, years ago. We tried everything and nothing worked until it was discovered that the birds had built a house in an air vent, up on the roof. The vent was cleared and the water started draining immediately. Cheaper than a plumber or getting your septic tank pumped. It's worth a try!
    • Heather Heather on Jul 03, 2016
      Thank You Ndungey-my dad just told me about the same issue he had many years ago! We will look into that for sure.
  • Susan Susan on Jul 03, 2016
    I agree to looking at the air vent - also have your septic pumped!
  • Lorie Lorie on Jul 03, 2016
    Also, check the line between the house and the tank. If roots have grown into the line that might be the problem. You can rent an electric machine like a pipe snake to clean it. Cost us about $60 for 2 hours. .
    • Heather Heather on Jul 04, 2016
      We rented the snake/roto rooter thing from home depot. Did 75 feet into the main line and all 75 down the sink drain. It was only slightly better. No tree roots to worry about, only a few small bushes are anywhere near the septic tank. Even though we didn't fix whatever it is, I fee like we have some knowledge to share with the plumber at least. We can tell him what we've done so he won't waste time doing it again.
  • Bernadette Staal Bernadette Staal on Jul 03, 2016
    Call a plumber urgently - one that specialises in blocked drains - if not you are likely to have sewer water (and contents) backing up .... that is not a nice experience.
  • Wanda louque Wanda louque on Jul 03, 2016
    We used Instant Power from Home Depot. Our double sink was so slow to drain, had the man out to snake it, and he said he couldn't do it bc of some reason and was told to go buy this. In an hour, it was perfect and still is 6 months ago.
  • Melody Melody on Jul 03, 2016
    I had the same problem, BEST solution is a box of baking soda and a large pan of BOILING hot water... I put the soda in the toilet have water ready and at hand to pour in on the soda. It will purge itself wait ten min's & flush.
    • Chrissy Chrissy on Jul 05, 2016
      Box of baking soda followed by a 2 cups of white vinegar. Close stopper immediately so resulting foaming action will go DOWN the pipes, not up into the sink. After a few minutes, follow with hot water flush. Works for me every time. Safe for septic. This works if there is a clog that needs pushing. If it's another problem, you will know right away.
  • Tami jones Tami jones on Jul 05, 2016
    I'm just went through that as well, had the tanks pumped and the problem was actually with one of the old toilets in the house.Best advice call plumber and check the actual toilet also put as little tissue in the toilets as possible that will help on your tank as well...Learned it all the hard way. Good luck, God Bless
  • Heather Heather on Jul 06, 2016
    Update! plumbers came and used a monster roto rooter on the sink plumbing. We have well water and he said there's extra calcification from it. He did his thing, filled the sink up and it wouldn't go down until all of a sudden there was a "pop" under the water and then the water went down really fast. Sounded like a straw sucking the water in. He said whatever it was got pushed through. The upstairs drain was clogged with a Shopkin! That's toddlers for you. Thanks for all the thoughts and feedback. We have it on the to do list to get the septic tank cleaned in the fall.
  • Sue Kiene Sue Kiene on Jul 06, 2016
    YEAH ALL BETTER at least for now LOL
    • Heather Heather on Jul 06, 2016
      Thank You Sue Kiene - Yes! We've learned a ton and now have lots of know how and tricks to try before having to call someone again. We're also putting some maintenance procedures in place so this stuff doesn't happen too often.
  • Ray Phillips Ray Phillips on Jul 07, 2016
    glad you have it fixed. have a great day.