11:24 AM 12/21/2012
Some of our plumbing fixtures are gurgling when they drain. One is backing up into a fixture on the floor below. Snaking the lines provides only a temporary fix. The last major renovation to this building was at least 20 years ago, long before our purchase. The building's DOB file is entirely empty. How do we figure out which rooftop vents lead to which fixtures? Who can trace and clear these vents? A plumber? Someone else? Any recommendations?
It seems unlikely that vents are the problem. If you get temporary relief using a hand cranked snake, you could call one of the 49.95 operation. For that low price they'll power snake one drain. For a more difficult problem that's beyond the cheap guys try Python (718)605-0930
I got the recommendatoin from MasterPlvmber in an old forum post and I recommend them as well.
12:35 PM 12/21/2012 | 0 Votes
Thanks bklnite. I have a lot of respect for MasterPlvmber's knowledge and recommendation, so we called Python several months ago. I'll chalk up my experience with them to a bad crew on a bad day. Regardless, the problem persists and best I can determine is that pipes gurgle for two reasons: obstructions and insufficient venting. At this point, we're pretty sure it's the venting.
9:09 PM 12/21/2012 | 0 Votes
This is one of those things that's easy to explain in person but hard to describe on paper. Google a diagram of a typical household plumbing system. You know the sewer pipe in your basement that carries waste out of the house and connects to the city sewer? Locate the biggest pipe that branches vertically off it. That should be your main stack. It should run from the basement all the way up through the roof. Every fixture on that line connects to it. The part of the main stack that carries waste is a waste or sewer pipe. Everything above it is a vent pipe through which sewer gas travels to the outside. In addition, each fixture should, theoretically, be connected to the main stack with a line for waste and a separate line for sewer gas that is a vent line. These are pipes are smaller in diameter than the main stack. Below the sewage line, the small vent pipes for each fixture will connect to another smaller vent line that runs parallel to the main stack and then connects to the main stack above the level of the waste. Perhaps the fixture that is giving you trouble was installed later, is not on the main stack or any stack going up to the roof, and has only a waste pipe and no vent pipe at all?
2:12 PM 12/22/2012 | 1 Votes
There is nothing wrong with the vents, you do not need to clean them as no waste ever travels trough vents, only air and sewer gas. Your problem is a restriction on sewer stack just below fixture being flooded. Or improper plumbing. Gurgling fixtures just not properly vented or not vented at all.
8:15 PM 12/22/2012 | 0 Votes
Thanks Cate and Gennady. I doubt this can be diagnosed via internet, but the fixture being flooded (a kitchen sink), is one full floor below plus about 6' and two right angles away from the fixture causing the flood (a washing machine). There is no flood or backup into a slightly closer dishwasher adjacent to the kitchen sink. The fixture that gurgles is a bathtub, which was swapped with a toilet after a flood from above. Gennady, is it never the case that a vent becomes clogged with windborne debris, or obstructed by an animal nest?
10:45 PM 12/22/2012 | 0 Votes
I do not think anybody can make a nest inside of vertical cast iron pipe. unless they made of crasy glue and not breathing. If handyman swapped water closet to bathtub without redoing plumbing piping (opening walls in the bathroom and opening ceiling at floor below) then you will have what you have. Regarding flooded kitchen sink , restriction is between connection of this KS and Connection of dishwasher to the stack. Just my 2 cents
11:38 PM 12/22/2012 | 0 Votes
But i had case when plumbers pulled pumpers and tee shirts from clogged pipes. I found the cause, but these were 2 legged animals, and they did not try to make nest
11:41 PM 12/22/2012 | 0 Votes
FWIW gennady, my vent was clogged with debris from above; it was snaked out over 30 years ago and the problem hasn't recurred, so it seems quite unlikely that the cause was improper installation.
9:11 AM 12/24/2012 | 1 Votes
I agree with Gennady, the flooded sink problem is most likely to be caused by a clog in the sewer pipe just below it on the stack. Do the various fixtures drain pretty quickly, despite the gurgling?
12:55 PM 12/24/2012 | 0 Votes