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  • Standing water in bathroom sinks

    Before I begin this, let me say that the issue has already been resolved; I'm just trying to understand what caused it so it doesn't happen again.
    I also apologize for the length of this post; I don't know how else to explain it all.

    Setup: Two story house built 1979; two upstairs bathrooms arranged mirror image. Master has small room with toilet and shower; outer room has dual lavatories. Smaller bathroom down hallway has shower, toilet, and one lavatory.

    After the wife had finished her shower the other day she calls and says that all three lavatory basins have filled with water. I advised her not to flush either upstairs toilet in case the main drain is clogged. I go take a look several hours later and the water level hasn't dropped in any basin.

    To rule out a main drain clog I open the outside cleanout and watch for flow as I ran water in the downstairs kitchen sink. Water appears to be flowing normally. Downstairs toilet flushes normally. The clog obviously is isolated to whatever drain line is common to all three bathroom lavatories.

    On a plumber's advise I call a drain cleaning service. The technician looks and immediately wants to see the air conditioning units in the attic, and where the condensate drains are located. He surmises that the a/c drain is connected to the drain that is common to all three lavatories, and that the water in the lavatories has come from the a/c condensate (no water had been run in any lavatory up to this point). Thinking that the clog is algae, he puts 25 feet of snake down the a/c drain line. No joy. He then puts the same 25 feet down the drain in the smaller bathroom. No joy. We reassemble the p-trap in the smaller bathroom and refill the sinks with water. Nothing draining. He goes back upstairs and puts approximately 50 feet of snake down through the a/c drain and finally hits the clog. All three lavatories immediately drain.

    Now that I've said all of that, why would all of those drain lines have been connected? How can I prevent this from happening again? Some kind of chemical drain cleaner poured down the a/c drain line?

    Thanks for any responses.

  • #2
    Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

    Contact a local havac company and they can put in some chemicals that's made to stop buildup. As a homeowner, I doubt you buy them. You have a bigger problem because your condensate line is plumbed into your sewer. Big no no. You can potentially suck sewer gas in during the heating season and have it go through the house. Talk to your local hvac company about that to and see what they can do to fix it.
    Buy cheap, buy twice.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

      This condensate drain should NOT be connected to the DWV plumbing either directly or indirectly. I don't care if it has worked. Reroute it independently and it's over.

      Don't know why they all were effected without knowing how it was originally ran. It makes no sense for them all to be effected based on the distance that normally separates bathrooms and lavatories.

      But it also makes no sense to me to run the condensate the way it's been ran.

      Good Luck.

      J.C.
      Last edited by BobsPlumbing; 09-07-2008, 11:10 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

        Have the HVAC company that put the condensate drain into the DWV system prosecuted and put out of business. Putting condenstate drains into plumbing drains is not only illegal, it's downright dangerous.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

          To clear up a few points: did the water also back up in the shower while you were using it? The shower is of course lower than the lavs, so if a clog is downstream from ALL, then the shower should also be affected. Your plumber on site may be able to figure out the configuration.

          As for the condensate drain, it is common for that to be connected to a wye ABOVE a lav trap. But in your case, it sounds like it is connected below the trap, hence it affects all three sink?? First thing, I think you need to have the A/C guy find out how it is connected , and have your plumber, NOT the A/C guy, make a proper connection. You need to get this fixed for two reasons (a) with the condensate clogged, you will either have the A/C shut down just when it is getting really hot inside, or you will get an overflow from your secondary drain, which is usually in an unfriendly location, like the living room ceiling! (b) as already mentioned, it is quite possible that your present set-up may result in sewer gas into the A/C duct....not good!.

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          • #6
            Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

            How is it connected into a "wye above a lav trap?"

            J.C.

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            • #7
              Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

              i think he means the same way you hook the dishwasher hose into the tee above trap under sink

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              • #8
                Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

                Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                Have the HVAC company that put the condensate drain into the DWV system prosecuted and put out of business. Putting condenstate drains into plumbing drains is not only illegal, it's downright dangerous.
                AHHH-HAA-HAAA!!!!










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                • #9
                  Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

                  Originally posted by plumberjr View Post
                  i think he means the same way you hook the dishwasher hose into the tee above trap under sink
                  And yet again,
                  This we are NOT allowed under our code.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

                    My apologies - I'm new to this posting thing, and am not versed in how to respond correctly. To answer lovethe USA's question, no - there was no water backed up in either shower, and my wife didn't indicate that she noticed any standing water while she was showering. As I didn't know at the time that the showers and toilets weren't affected, I didn't run either shower very long. Water seemed to drain normally from each. The drain guy that cleared the blockage seemed to think that all the water (in all three sinks) was a/c condensate, as it was cold water.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

                      Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                      And yet again,
                      This we are NOT allowed under our code.
                      It is done all the time here. Frankly, I am going to have to dig into my book ( 2007 California Plumbing Code , based on 2006 UPC) to see if this is prohibited or not. But it is done on a regular basis!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

                        Originally posted by lovetheUSA View Post
                        It is done all the time here. Frankly, I am going to have to dig into my book ( 2007 California Plumbing Code , based on 2006 UPC) to see if this is prohibited or not. But it is done on a regular basis!
                        Don't bother,I was not being clear.
                        What I was picturing was...A dishwasher hose draining directly into a wyebranch tailpiece without an air gap.Sometimes I don't take the time to slowly analyze and reply to what someone says.

                        There are just so many PRO'S out there it makes me dizzy.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

                          spakman, the answer is pretty simple when i follow along with your story

                          waste systems are typically 99% of the time a gravity system. therefore anytime a fixture or line plugs up, it will fill the lowest fixtures affected by the stoppage.

                          since we all know that a tub or shower or floor drain is typically the lowest fixture in a house. your problem only affected the three sinks on the upper floor. these sinks are 34-36'' above the floor. they all filled at the same time and no one was using them.

                          so how do we explain this. simple, you have. the a/c condensate will drain into the wye branch tail piece and slowly fill the plugged up common lav piping. an a/c condensate can easily put out 15 gallons of water a day when it's running, especially if it's humid outside.

                          the lavs all share the same 1.5'' or 2'' common line before they tie into anything else downstream. therefore your stoppage was prior to any other common piping.

                          no real mystery, just plumbing 101 and simple physics. water will seek its own level. therefore if any sink was lower than the other, it would be the one that backed up first or higher than the other on this part of the plugged system.

                          drain cleaning sometimes is more than just putting a cable into the line. it's actually recreating the scenario so that you can properly address the problem. a plugged drain is easy to clean. a drain that is not plugged when the plumber gets there is more challenging as we have to know what was affected so we can chose the proper line to clean.

                          good descriptions make for simple diagnosis

                          rick.
                          phoebe it is

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

                            Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                            Have the HVAC company that put the condensate drain into the DWV system prosecuted and put out of business. Putting condenstate drains into plumbing drains is not only illegal, it's downright dangerous.
                            Let'a get a rope Hoppy! I seen the AC GUY BEHIND THE BUNK HOUSE! Looked like a SEE BEE
                            I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Standing water in bathroom sinks

                              Can your really put the AC condensate into the DWV system in California? I only ask because everywhere else it is strictloy prohibited for obvious reasons of bacteria ending up on the AC coil and ductwork.
                              sigpic

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