Need advice plumbing
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Need advice plumbing (by Cat [WI]) Aug 5, 2022 12:34 AM
       Need advice plumbing (by Marcia [WI]) Aug 5, 2022 1:50 AM
       Need advice plumbing (by Robert J [CA]) Aug 5, 2022 2:02 AM
       Need advice plumbing (by Richard [MI]) Aug 5, 2022 6:59 AM
       Need advice plumbing (by MikeA [TX]) Aug 5, 2022 8:25 AM
       Need advice plumbing (by Gene [OH]) Aug 5, 2022 10:07 AM
       Need advice plumbing (by Allym [NJ]) Aug 5, 2022 11:01 AM
       Need advice plumbing (by Pmh [TX]) Aug 5, 2022 5:04 PM
       Need advice plumbing (by 6x6 [TN]) Aug 5, 2022 10:01 PM
       Need advice plumbing (by MikeA [TX]) Aug 6, 2022 12:07 AM
       Need advice plumbing (by Dodge [PA]) Aug 6, 2022 7:45 AM
       Need advice plumbing (by Busy [WI]) Aug 7, 2022 1:13 PM

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Need advice plumbing (by Cat [WI]) Posted on: Aug 5, 2022 12:34 AM

Ok. I have an issue that I can't figure out and has totally baffled all of us including my plumber.

My sister called me all stressed out. She said she was washing and rinsing dishes and all of the sudden she could hear rushing water. Water appeared on the top of a divider she has that maybe stands a foot or two above the kitchen counter. I am thinking it was like a room divider but is maybe 4-5 inches wide and maybe 3 ft long. She said water was running across that and dripping off the sides. She shut the water off and then it stopped.

We have no idea where the water came from. Nothing on the second floor above it, like a bathroom or kitchen, or other water source. No leaks under the kitchen sink or refrigerator. The water got the carpet a little wet in the living room, next to this divider.

None of the ceiling panels are damp or wet. Wall is not wet. Nothing wet under the refrigerator or the kitchen sink area. I went down into the basement and saw no leaks or wet spots or anything.

After I got there, she noticed that the toilet bowl was bubbling pretty good. She never saw or heard that before. I am then thinking, it must be an issue with the sewer but then how did the water come out just on top of that ledge. If I pipe had broken, there would be wet spots on the wall there and probably down to the floor.

The plumber got there and check the area where we saw the water. He was baffled too. He ran the water in the kitchen sink, bathroom sink and flushed the toilet over and over to see what happened. Nothing. He filled up all sinks and then let it all out at once and flushed the toilet a few more times and still nothing.

He went into the basement and could not see anything that would explain it. I thought with my eyesight, I probably missed something down there but nope.

For all you landlords out there that have done plumbing work, what could it be, that causes rushing water, with no source to be found, to just appear on top of a divider above the kitchen sink to one side with the refrigerator between the sink and the divider? And yet the toilet is starting to bubble in the bowl. To me that alone sounds like a clog or blockage in the sewer line but the two issues have no apparent connection. Yet both happened very close together in time.

What am I missing? With all the water running down the drain in the kitchen and bathroom and flushing the toilet, but not having any backups. The plumber thought that maybe the clog was small and the pressure just pushed it through but that doesn't explain the water running out on top of that divider.

Need advice plumbing (by Marcia [WI]) Posted on: Aug 5, 2022 1:50 AM

Can you explain this "divider" more? I'm not any plumbing expert, but am trying to picture this "divider."

Need advice plumbing (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Aug 5, 2022 2:02 AM

I am a Master California Licensed Plumbing Contractor and your explanation is not sufficient to assist you. Take a deep breath and explain in detail. And if you are relying on a description from your sister and didn't see things for yourself -- it's hopeless to get advice this way.

Did water come up from the kitchen sink drains in the sink?

Did the water come from under the sink. Is there a unit near by with a bathtub that gets used. Maybe someone opened the tub drain and the drain line was clogged somewhere so the water came up in the sink?

On all of my apartment properties, I install a clean-out on the exterior of the building attached to sink, tub, laundry and toilet lines. MY cleanout caps are spring loaded so instead of water getting into units, it exits in a driveway, walk way, back yard or lawn. --47.156.xx.xx

Need advice plumbing (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Aug 5, 2022 6:59 AM

If the divider does not go all the way to the ceiling, MAYBE there is a vent pipe in it that has a studor valve/vent on it rather then going all the way through the roof. Location would seem to point to that. Then if the valve failed or there was a backup it might cause this??? There has to be a source for the water.

If the house is older there may have been some modifications to the plumbing or venting in the past that now are causing this.

More questions - is it doing it over and over or has it stopped now? Also, has it been raining a lot in your area lately and especially the day or so before this happened? --24.180.xx.xx

Need advice plumbing (by MikeA [TX]) Posted on: Aug 5, 2022 8:25 AM

My bet is that the sink does not have a vent that goes through the roof. Either they left the vent pipe open in the divider or they have an air admittance valve in the divider that has failed. The bubbling in the toilet is a dead giveaway that you have a slow clog in the sewer. When water is running it fills the sewer line and has nowhere to go, the end of the vent pipe (with or without the valve) is the lowest unobstructed point in the sewer line that is clogged so that is where the sewer water is leaving the pipe.

Need advice plumbing (by Gene [OH]) Posted on: Aug 5, 2022 10:07 AM

In our area they have done some pressure testing of the sewer lines to make sure that rain water is not being directed into the sewer lines. When they do that, our toilets will bubble. They usually warn us that it is happening but the last time we weren't warned.

Need advice plumbing (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Aug 5, 2022 11:01 AM

I heard "vent pipe in the wall". Nobody here. Must have been my dad.

Need advice plumbing (by Pmh [TX]) Posted on: Aug 5, 2022 5:04 PM

I think Mike is correct

Need advice plumbing (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Aug 5, 2022 10:01 PM

I was thinking as Richard and MikeA, however, Gene also has a good point.

There is a dark spot in the kitchen floor of my rental. When I first bought the house and was rehabbing it, I discovered a pipe that used to be the drain for the washing machine. They had just cut the pipe off above the floor and then put a new floor on top, never capping or removing the drain.

As Gene mentioned, sometimes they do smoke test here to verify where the rain water drains are going. Sounds like they use pressure where he is. Do they do that where your sister lives?

You said that it stopped when she cut the water off, so I am thinking it is a drain pipe.

Need advice plumbing (by MikeA [TX]) Posted on: Aug 6, 2022 12:07 AM

The other thing that could have happened is the dish/pan she was washing inadvertently pressed the knob on the sprayer and was obscuring her view of the water spraying out. When she moved the pan it stopped. Then she heard water spilling off of the top of the divider.

Ask me how I know this could happen. We have an eat-in bar on one side and the kitchen sink on the other. One night I got home late and was eating super while my darling wife was doing the dishes. The very thing I described happened except the sprayer was pointed straight at me. She didn't have a clue what happened when she looked up and saw me dripping wet.

Need advice plumbing (by Dodge [PA]) Posted on: Aug 6, 2022 7:45 AM

Interesting. Please let us know what was causing the problem.

Need advice plumbing (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Aug 7, 2022 1:13 PM

I'll third or fourth, or fifth vent pipe. One house I bought had actually developed a rust hole in galvanized vent pipe behind the kitchen wall. I cannot imagine how.

We have one of those 'ventless vents' in our kitchen sink/ dishwasher area. Our tub makes gurgly sounds if I let a full sink of water loose. But, no running water... Mike A, that is hilarious!

If still leaking, Maybe start with taking the p-trap off, checking for signs of obstruction. In a different house, bottom of my laundry tub drain vent pipe had a build up of hair blocking the vent stack. Now, because it was all open under laundry tubs, I was able to take off quite a length of pipe, and got to the bottom of the vent stack. Pulled enough hair out to knit a pair of wool socks! Apparently, tenants' drain cleaners kept the pipes flowing, but this was up in bottom of vent stack.

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