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 Kitchen sink backs up, snaked, no luck
Author: BFINE107 (MN)

Looking for some help trouble shooting this. Our kitchen sink keeps backing up, though other faucets, toilets, showers are all doing fine (including in the basement). We tried drain-o, plunging and even a 50' snake and did not have any luck. It seems like the actual water level or something is just too high, or the clog is way past the 50' the snake can reach but not where the rest of the faucets, etc go (which seems unlikely).
We live in Minnesota, so winter, cold pipes, maybe freezing or something might all be factors? I'm not sure about that part.

Lastly, our basement floor drain, which is what I think the kitchen sink runs down and past, also is filled to floor level with water. It's got one of those float stoppers so water doesn't back up onto the floor, but I pushed it down and it didn't rise any, but it didn't go down either, so it's basically water right at basement floor level (though again, not backing up into a basement shower drain).

Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas of possible solutions? I could snake it from that floor drain and see what happens.

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 Re: Kitchen sink backs up, snaked, no luck
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

If that basement floor drain is backed up and your kitchen drain connects nearby that's what you need to look into. Do you have a cleanout in the basement, or one outside? I'd run a snake or power plumbing snake down all those cleanouts and use a large tip or bulb on the tip of the snake. If your snake tip is small it isn't going to clean the line thoroughly, especially in a 3 or 4 inch pipe, it just pokes a hole thru the blockage like a pencil thru a slice of bread. If you aren't getting out to the end of the sewer drain pipe then the blockage could easily be further down the line, water eventually backs up from where ever the blockage is. Are you on city sewer or septic system? If septic system your septic tank could be full if the lateral lines are loaded. The drain lines are buried or in the basement, not likely they are getting frozen unless part of it is uncovered somewhere outside due to digging or construction.

Puzzling why the basement shower drain is not also backed up, and that you can take a shower down there with no problem. Blockage may be between basement shower and basement floor drain, especially if basement shower is on the end of the house opposite from the kitchen? Any problem with washing machine when it empties? Where is it located?

Edited 7 times.

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 Re: Kitchen sink backs up, snaked, no luck
Author: packy (MA)

whether snaking from the floor drain will help the kitchen, it doesn't matter. if it won't drain it needs to be snaked anyway.
if you leave a sink full of water overnight, when you come to the kitchen in the morning has it drained away? if yes, then when you use the kitchen how long until it backs up? if it takes only 4-5 seconds then the clog is relatively close. it it takes 20 or more seconds then it could be 50 feet away.

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 Re: Kitchen sink backs up, snaked, no luck
Author: BFINE107 (MN)

It does drain over night, so very very slowly.
It takes maybe 30 secs to fill up after morning. I'll try from the floor drain and see if I can get it.

The sitter is opposite side of the house so that might be why it, utility sink, washer are all okay thus far.

Might need a longer snake as mentioned,

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 Re: Kitchen sink backs up, snaked, no luck :clap:
Author: BFINE107 (MN)

Thanks so much for the help.

I'll look into getting a better snake but will try this one today.
If I try from the floor drain I can get maybe 20ft farther.

The floor drain is really really stinky water is that something I should be concerned about?

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 Re: Kitchen sink backs up, snaked, no luck
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

I'm afraid that stinky water goes with the job, wear gloves and clothes appropriately. I don't think there is anything in there that you guys didn't put there earlier. <grin> And don't wipe your lips while working! You might be lucky if no bathroom waste goes down that part of the drain line, be thankful for that.

My comment about a snake with large tip was for cleaning the main drain line (3-4 inch), for that floor drain the pipe is probably smaller. The idea is to use a larger tip when possible, but you sometimes have to go smaller if you have to make it thru a trap or other bend in the pipe. I'm not sure, but cleaning drains might be an art, and for those that have installed a lot of them that helps.

Do you use a sink strainer in the kitchen? If you are putting peelings and other large pieces of food down the drain that is taking a chance on a clog, even if you have a disposal. [opinion]



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 Re: Kitchen sink backs up, snaked, no luck
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

When you are snaking thru the floor drain if the water in it drops and it looks like you are making headway have someone run water in the kitchen sink to help wash the debris and blockage away as you work it. If the water backs up again tell them to shut it off, keep at it and try again. The snake often needs the help of water running thru there to clear the line.

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 Re: Kitchen sink backs up, snaked, no luck
Author: BFINE107 (MN)

Thanks again for your help. So, I snaked the basement floor drain, lots of junk came up right when I removed the stopper. But it still doesn't drain all the way. And the sink also, was able to run water for a while, but then backed up.
So, I'm guessing I need a longer or bigger snake and just need to do the same thing in the same drain?
Not sure if there is anything else I should be thinking about.
I was about 5 feet from the end of the snake and couldn't seem to get it to go any farther. I wasn't sure if I should keep forcing it or if there's something I should be aware of that might stop it.
If I have a longer snake is there anything I should be aware of in how I use it? I'm assuming I just get it all the way in and there shouldn't be anything stopping it.


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 Re: Kitchen sink backs up, snaked, no luck
Author: North Carolina Plumber (NC)

A change of direction fitting will frequently stop the snake. A little twisting while keeping pressure on the snake will usually get it thru the fitting. If you could get your snake to go just a bit further it's quite possible you'll clear the blockage.

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