Thank you to all the plumbing professionals who offer their advice and expertise
Welcome to

Over 560,000 Posts in over 165k Threads

Welcome to (aka: we are the most popular plumbing information sharing, advice, DIY and educational forum on the Web. Ask any toilet, sink, faucet, pump, water quality, and plumbing related questions. Please refrain from asking where to purchase a product, business, pricing, or legal questions, for contractor referrals, or any questions not related to plumbing. Keep all positive and no advertising. This site is free and made possible by:  

Post New
Log In
How to Show Images
Newest Subjects
 Washing Machine Outlet, Basement Floor Drain Backed Up
Author: dcummings1998 (WA)

Hey all,

I've got a situation on my hands that I can't figure out. For the record, my house was built in the 1960s, and while the plumbing inside has been updated, I'm not sure about the line from the house to the sewer.

When I run a load of laundry, when the machine is expelling water it eventually backs up out of the machine out tube, as well as the floor drain. Note that the machine is in an unfinished basement, where the machine drains into newer black plastic pipes, but the floor drain seems to be old metal of some sort. I can look into the drain, but I can only see down about 6-10 inches. There don't seem to be any bends in the drain pipe, as odd as that seems; I put a wire hanger into the drain to find the way it bends, and there doesn't seem to be any bend. Weird, I know.

I rented a 50-foot power rooter and tried to run it through the drain, but I couldn't get it to bend around a corner, so I had no idea what to do. I kept trying, but could only get it to go in about a foot before it bottomed out, and there really did not seem to be a bend anywhere in there! I noticed that there was some water in the bottom.

I then ran it through the cleanout plug as far away from the washing machine as possible. I felt a few small snags, but it mostly got through without a problem, and got almost the entire 50' through.

I went back to the drain and noticed there was still water in there, and could not get the snake in there. I poked around some more, and still nothing. So I dumped a bit of Liquid Plumber in there, waited, poured hot water down, and noticed that the drain was barely letting water out faster than I was pouring it in. I mean to the point that if I poured any faster it would overflow.

At this point I'm stumped, so I run an empty load of laundry to see if it back up again. It makes it through the first few cycles of water in and water out, and then near the end I hear the sound of water and look to see water coming from both sources again. So, here I am, back where I started.

I would imagine that the pipe and drain meet up somewhere and the clog is after that point, which sends water back through both pipes. But I am still baffled as to why there is standing water in the drain, and why there seems to be no bend in that pipe.

Any ideas here? I am so baffled!


Post Reply

 Re: Washing Machine Outlet, Basement Floor Drain Backed Up
Author: LemonPlumber (FL)

Locate the next clean out down stream.remove it and then see if the water is backing up there too.sounds like your clog could be past the point that your snake reached.If the machine can dump a drum full or two it will not be in the first fifty feet.House to sewer?you may need to wet vacuum the floor trap and use a flash light to see the discharge point.and use a smaller snake to clear this.sounds like the floor drain being slow is a separate issue.

Post Reply

 Re: Washing Machine Outlet, Basement Floor Drain Backed Up
Author: SMSPlumbing (PA)

If they did tie the floor drain into the main sewer, then the water you are seeing in the bottom of the floor drain is probably sitting in the trap.

Like Lemon said, the clog is probably further down the line. Your snake was probably not long enough. It also sounds like a partial clog, since the water does go down after a bit. Rent a longer snake or call a profesional.

Post Reply

 Re: Washing Machine Outlet, Basement Floor Drain Backed Up
Author: hj (AZ)

Your drain has a "P" trap at the bottom and NO snake that would cure the problem will go through the trap. A 50' snake is usually too small, and often too short, to be effective in a larger drain line. We can't tell you what to do, since we do not know where the stoppage is, how to access the drain line to eliminate it, or what size the clogged pipe is.

Post Reply

 Re: Washing Machine Outlet, Basement Floor Drain Backed Up
Author: dcummings1998 (WA)


This morning I dumped some lukewarm water down the floor drain just to see if it would go down. Before I poured I noticed that there was still a bit of standing water in the bottom of the drain. I dumped the water in and it drained as fast as I poured it. A good thing, I suppose. It didn't come back up at all.

I looked in there with a flashlight and noticed what looked to be a keyring in the bottom of the drain. I fashioned a hook with a coat hanger and fished it out. It is a rubber stopper, akin to what you would use in a bathtub. Pulling it out had no effect; the water stayed in the bottom, and pouring another kettle of cool water down flowed out at the rate it was poured in.

What is this plug, and why is it there? I don't think it would be part of a trap system if it is so far down that you couldn't possibly get it in/out without the use of a hook.

Post Reply

 Re: Washing Machine Outlet, Basement Floor Drain Backed Up
Author: hj (AZ)

It was probably for the laundry sink and got lost down the drain.

Post Reply

 Re: Washing Machine Outlet, Basement Floor Drain Backed Up
Author: dcummings1998 (WA)

Just ran a small load of laundry with the lowest water setting possible. The floor drain flooded more than it ever has, with dirt in the water.

I called a plumber. $350 to come on Monday and scope it and blast, if necessary. So many swear words I want to say right now.

I have a feeling this is going to cost a lot of money. My best guess is that the pipes outside the house have been destroyed by the trees in the yard. Thanks for the advice everyone, I am going to go throw up now.

Post Reply

 Re: Washing Machine Outlet, Basement Floor Drain Backed Up
Author: Wheelchair (IL)

You have a p-trap in your basement floor, similar to the trap under your sinks. I believe that is what you saw as you poured water and hopefully... will always see as this is proving that the trap is providing a gas/order lock.
The discharge pipe and the line that it goes into must be cleared and clean. Over the years, lint, soak grease, dirt and debris that has been dischaged by the washing machine has passed this way.

To do the job correctly, a licensed plumber may be needed. Licensed plumbers have the knowledge and equipment to do the job in the shortest amount of time and warranty their work.

Best Wishes

Post Reply

Please note:
  • Inappropriate messages or blatant advertising will be deleted. We cannot be held responsible for bad or inadequate advice.
  • has no control over external content that may be linked to from messages posted here. Please follow external links with caution.
  • is strictly for the exchange of plumbing related advice and NOT to ask about pricing/costs, nor where to find a product (try Google), nor how to operate or promote a business, nor for ethics (law) and the like questions.
  • is also not a place to ask radiant heating (try, electrical or even general construction type questions. We are exclusively for plumbing questions.

Search for plumbing parts on our sponsor's site:

Special thanks to our sponsor:

Copyright© 2015 All Rights Reserved.