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Plumbing question


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#1 HollyOllyOxenfree

Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:58 AM

We think this house has some old and mediocre plumbing, because we often get slow running sinks and the drains make gurgling sounds after flushing the toilet or draining the bath if we've had a lot of rain. A bit of draino down the sinks fixes those up, and we pour a bucket of hot water and domestos down the drains regularly which also seems to help.

In the last couple of days it all seems to have gotten worse. The toilets aren't flushing properly - the fill up then drain away very slowly, and sometimes need a plunger to help them along. The bathroom sinks are running very slowly, and the floor drains seem to have water backed up in them and are a bit smelly - not sewerage smelly, just stale water smelly. This morning DH flushed the toilet in the ensuite and it took ages to drain, and then some water seeped up through the floor drain. Both bathrooms are doing it, although the ensuite seems worse, but the kitchen and laundry sinks seem fine.

So, is there any point in doing our usual draino and hot water attack, or possibly something else? Or is this the point where we just call a plumber and dread the bill? We've never had to call a plumber in our own home before, only ever a rental, so I really have no idea if this is plumber stage or DIY stage  unsure.gif  

Thanks original.gif

#2 katpaws

Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:10 AM

Do you have any invasive tree roots around the property?



#3 HollyOllyOxenfree

Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:28 AM

I don't think so - the only trees we have are on the other side of the house to the bathrooms, and there is a lot of distance, so I'm assuming we'd see roots going through pavers well before pipes? But I could be entirely wrong. Tree roots are what is worrying me, mainly because every other time we've had problems it's been after a lot of rain, and there's been no really heavy rain in quite a while.

Calling a plumber and hoping we don't get gouged due to the public holiday weekend. Gotta love murphy's law

#4 aggyw72

Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

Murphy's Law indeed! We got completely flooded out on Christmas Day 2011. Just starting to dry out and I noticed a wet are near the front of the house - major water leak and a plumber call out on New Years Eve!! Thankfully only a tree root and not under the slab. But very expensive nonetheless.
Good luck OP, I hope you uncover the source of the problem and that it is not too huge a job to fix. original.gif

#5 andthethreebears

Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:51 AM


Hmmm, I posted this morning but it didn't appear  sad.gif

Anyway, I too asked if it could be tree roots. If so and they're not hideously blocked requiring an electric eel to clear the pipes, you can try Rootox tablets. They were recommended to me by my dad who was a plumber. You buy them at hardware stores and flush them down the loo. They're fairly fast acting.

If the plumber comes out and it turns out to be tree roots (those things can travel a long way undetected and given we've had extended dry spells, they may have been hunting out the water sourse for some time), maybe have some Rootox on hand and thrown some down the next time the symptons start.

#6 qak

Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

you can hire an electric eel yourself ...

#7 josh2003

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

Yeah, it sounds like you have a blockage in the main sewer line from the house, hence the reason you are having so many problems in different places.

We used to have problems every couple of years with roots from trees in neighbouring properties blocking our drains (they were the old clay pipes).

If that's the case, then you may need to get a specific drain un-blocker person as not all plumbers have the "eel". They usually have a set fee as well, so you can ask them before they come out.

One time I actually called the water company, and they sent someone out free of charge to unblock it, but I'm not sure why... it may have been because it was close to the main sewer.

#8 Schmig

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:07 AM

Are the trees on your property or your neighbours as if it is your neighbours trees then they are liable for the damage. We have a huge tree in the house behind us and we know this will eventually happen to us too. especially in this weather.

#9 HollyOllyOxenfree

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:24 AM

Thanks all. DH has called a plumber, and he has the camera thing to check what the blockage is and the gear to clear it. Fingers crossed it's not too time consuming and expensive original.gif

Never heard of Rootox, but will pick some up if that's the issue

#10 HollyOllyOxenfree

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

QUOTE (Schmig @ 25/01/2013, 12:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Are the trees on your property or your neighbours as if it is your neighbours trees then they are liable for the damage. We have a huge tree in the house behind us and we know this will eventually happen to us too. especially in this weather.


The main trees around our place are gum trees out on the boundary of the main road - we back onto a main road so it's our backyard, then one of those huge sound reducing walls, then gum trees lining it. No idea if gum trees have those sort of root systems though. I guess if it's really bad we'd contact our home insurer and see if we have any coverage?

Lol, four years and we're still such novices at this home ownership game original.gif

#11 CallMeProtart

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

Yes, call a plumber with an 'eel'. In our case tree roots did this to us.
Some plumbers charge you the call out fee just to come and look and then say they'll need to come out with the eel - for ANOTHER call out fee - so enquire about them bringing the eel first up!

#12 ~*Twilight~Zone*~

Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:37 PM

I was having similar problems with my sink not draining properly.

Tried everything I could think of before calling out a plumber. In the end I had too.  Turned out to be a big rock had been put in the outside drain junction and was blocking it.

No idea how the rock got in there as the kids never go out the back (nothing out there but weeds) and it couldn't have just fallen in as the grill had to be removed to get to it.

Thankfully he only charged me $50 to come out and look.




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