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Drain blocked again

Discussion in 'Building' started by peteuk, 13 Dec 2020.

  1. peteuk

    peteuk

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    Hello,
    I hope someone can advise on the best course of action - Unfortunately it won't be DIY but I could do with some advice.

    We moved into our house earlier this year and twice within a couple of months the drain to our wet room backed up. Previously a cloak room so all we've done is extend and add a shower.
    I called a Drain company (has good local reviews) and they repaired the benching and added the orange pipe you can see in the photos to ensure waste would 'accelerate' and get into the channel better.
    On Friday it was blocked again. I called the same company who freed the blockage by jetting.
    Today it appears to be unblocked - see photos but we have been using the "large flush" and sometimes twice. (The blockage was from the exit pipe into the main drain)
    Regardless I need a reliable permanent solution. As my wife said, what if I'm not here to clear it / get someone in. Plus getting someone to clear it each time could get expensive.
    The house was built in about 1980 and owned by only 1 couple before us (now sadly died). From various comments asking around I believe they may not have used the toilet for a 'No 2' and that the problem has been there since new. But I cannot be sure.

    I heard the owner on the phone say to the man doing the job that the fall from the wet room is low and we may need to flush twice. IE. Suggesting we may have to live with it.

    When 1st investigated a camera was put up and I could see that the exit pipe from the wet room went about half way into the pipe leading from the toilet / sink. Could this be in the way impeding the flow from the toilet? If so is there a remote way the end of the pipe could be sawn off?

    Sorry if it's a bit vague. Please ask if more info could help - I'd really appreciate any ideas on how to approach this? I am contacting the drainage company tomorrow to see what they can offer.
    Thank you,
    Pete
    20201213_135910.jpg 20201213_135926.jpg
     
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  3. A Trowel

    A Trowel

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    Why are you not getting the builder who created the wet room in to rectify this ?
     
  4. peteuk

    peteuk

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    That hadn't occurred to me.
    From the information I gathered, I believe the problem has been there since the house was built.
    All we've done is add a shower outlet to the existing pipe from the toilet to the drain. The blockage was at the outlet of the orange pipe you can see in the photos.
    Am I missing something?
    Cheers.
     
  5. KenGMac

    KenGMac

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    peteuk, good evening.

    You mention " I could see that the exit pipe from the wet room went about half way into the pipe leading from the toilet / sink. Could this be in the way impeding the flow from the toilet?"

    it could be that this junction is the issue??

    Suggest you ask your drain specialist if he can use a [so called] root cutter, a device used to clear tree roots that have found their way into a drain line? drawback is that if the cutter fractures the waste joining the main run, any fractures in this pipe may cause a leak in the wet room drain??

    Bottom line ids that any such encroachment will cause a blockage. Do you have under floor access, that is a crawl space under the wet room where someone could get at the offending junction?

    Ken.
     
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  6. peteuk

    peteuk

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    Thanks Ken,
    So you think the shower waste pipe could be slowing the "toilet waste" which is coming from higher up the pipe. I had hoped that wouldn't be the case. Also it may not be the main reason if this has been a problem since the house was 1st built.

    I'll certainly ask about cutting it back but unfortunately I am not sure the run is straight - certainly less straight since the orange pipe was added at the exit.
    No under floor access.
    The floor is very hard concrete (much harder than usual for house construction I am told) and the drain from the room goes under the floor of an adjacent room so not ideal.

    Anyone think that the external chamber can be improved?
    For example, could the "top" of the orange pipe be impeding the flow itself? Does it exit too close to the benching? If so what could be a remedy?
    Cheers,
    Peter
     
  7. CBW

    CBW

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    This issue could be a few things, yes sort out the pipe protruding into the toilet from wash basin - although that should just be a blocked toilet, not a drain.

    Also it could just be the photo, but the original drain looks a bit squashed. Could be a slipped joint, poor fall, use of wipes when flushing to name a few. Have you seen them clear the blockage - is it bad, order just minor?
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2020
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  8. peteuk

    peteuk

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    Thanks Chris,
    Just to clarify: The exit pipe that is protruding is from the shower outlet 'downstream of the toilet and washbasin'. Unfortunately the join is either under the floor of the adjacent room, or the wall itself.
    The flow that the exit pipes join in the chamber is from the top to the bottom of the pictures (from the orange pipe direction if you can follow - sorry if unclear).
    It's difficult to remember from April but there was discussion that there may be a slight rise or something in that main pipe but I may be making that up (I obviously thought it had been fixed then and there didn't / doesn't seem to be a problem with the upstream flow in the main pipe.)
    Definitely no wet wipes or similar from our house though obviously I can't tell from our upstream neighbours.

    In April the blockage was cleared by me twice with a hose pipe. This was before the orange pipe was fitted and obviously it was easier to get at the upstream.
    This time the blockage was in the main flow, below the orange pipe (water only seemed backed up behind that so that may have been clearing itself), and then backed up the through the orange pipe towards the wet room. I left it for the contractor to see. Pity I didn't think to take a photo. He said it would have been too solid for me to clear with a hose pipe this time.

    Additional info: The other exit pipe you can see is from our en-suite and includes waste from a washing machine in our utility room. The main flow is upstream from our neighbours and includes the flow from our kitchen which joins at a separate manhole.
     
  9. Ian H

    Ian H

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    The manhole is a bit of a bodge, plastic channel like that isn’t the best because when you cut it along it’s length it closes up a bit. You would be better off with a pre formed chamber base in there.

    Although having said that I’d CCTV all 4 ways to be sure.
     
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  11. Ian H

    Ian H

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    The top of your channel looks to be cut very rough, could that be catching paper?
    81B4D7A1-0C06-4DF5-963B-924B63E074D0.png
     
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  12. peteuk

    peteuk

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    Hello,
    Clarification and Contractor's advice:

    Clarification: Sorry, I think I've caused some confusion: The pipe that blocks is the one with the plastic pipe at the top of the photograph that is above the main pipe. The pipe you looked at Ian has been 100% clear to now.

    The contractor has suggested that we use the "large" flush on the toilet and to 'hold the button in' to ensure the cistern is fully empty each time it is used. Then monitor the situation. If it blocks again he will come, clear the blockage F.O.C. and reassess what can be done. (He doesn't think the pipe from the shower is having an adverse effect as the problem is at the chamber outlet, not higher up).
    Alternatively he has said he will reassess if we feel stressed and want a fix now.

    My thought is that we may not have emptied the cistern each time previously because the toilet pan empties while still flushing so there is a point there.
    I don't like using the 'large' flush for non-solids as this seems wasteful (will cost me pennies) and isn't what we should be doing so may still try with the little flush for non solids.
    However it seems a reasonable approach and we will see if there is a problem if I inspect on a weekly basis say for the next couple of months or so.

    Thank you for helping me to clarify my thoughts. If anyone has any further thoughts on the problem please still let me know so I can discuss with the contractor should it be necessary.
    I will update with how it progresses for your info
    Thank you all again
    Cheers
     
  13. Ian H

    Ian H

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    Is all the pipework plastic upstream of the manhole?

    I wonder if there is a bad joint or flat section that’s slowing down the solids?
     
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  14. peteuk

    peteuk

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    There could be Ian
    A camera was put up in April and nothing unduly alarmed the Contractor who put the orange pipe in which I guess was expected to work.

    Again the problem appears to be at the outfall into the main pipe line but I guess that could happen if outlet speed is low
    I wish I'd took a photo of the blockage last week but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
    Cheers

    Just occurred to me you might have meant the main pipe from my kitchen / neighbour. Yes I guess it could be but there didn't seem to be a blockage there apart from liquid, which now thinking of it seems strange...... Why wasn't that backed up too?

    I'll have to observe some more
     
  15. Ian H

    Ian H

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    Take a picture next time (y)
     
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  16. Hugh Jaleak

    Hugh Jaleak

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    Sounds quite possible there a 'Backfall' i.e. the drain is sloping the wrong way, allowing solids to build up, before the weight of the water behind slowly pushes the plug of waste towards the chamber. Very little that can be done about that without digging the drain up and relaying it on the correct fall. Modern 6 litres flushes are not helping matters though, sometimes simply not enough water with enough force to wash the contents of the pan away properly, so you have to flush it twice, which completely defeats the object of a smaller flush in the first place.... :rolleyes:

    Intruding shower waste really needs dealing with though, whilst it may not be the root cause of this issue, I doubt it's helping anything. Very easy to remove the protruding section from downstream using a remote control cutting tool.
     
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  17. peteuk

    peteuk

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    Our cistern is a 6l flush and 3l flush, so if you think 6l is small we should never use the 3l in our circumstances - I assumed that the 6l was the previous standard.

    As you'll have read I have a 'watching brief' ATM.
    A 'backfall' would be a serious disappointment as the drain goes under the house.
    Will definitely follow up on the shower waste if/ when we take next steps.
    Cheers
     
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