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 Water backing up into sink
Author: Rldgooots (GA)

Thanks in advance. We have a septic system. The house is over 50 years old. When washing clothes water was backing up in floor drain under washer. Not sure if that is still happening but if it is it isn't as much because it isn't coming out from under washer. Now the sink in the adjoining bathroom is backing up when using washer and when the upstairs shower is used. The sink is the closest drain in proximity to the septic tank. The water is cloudy and seems to have reddish specks, possibly rust. We have tried normal clogged drain remedies. There is a smell but not a sewer smell. More of a musty smell. I am worried this is a septic tank problem. My husband doesn't think so. He says he has checked the tank. Is this possible septic tank backup. If so is it possible to be backing up into washer. The thought of that makes me sick.

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 Re: Water backing up into sink
Author: North Carolina Plumber (NC)

No , the water shouldn't back up into the washer, it should back up out of the floor drain and sink first. If he has checked the tank then the only thing left is the pipe between the washing machine and septic tank. It sounds as if you may have cast iron drain pipes under the floor, but either way they need to be mechanically cleaned with a professional drain cleaning machine.

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 Re: Water backing up into sink
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

Nearly all homeowners eventually have to deal with a clogged drain. The drain pipe probably has a partial blockage somewhere. When you run smaller amounts of water down the sink like washing hands or rinsing dishes the water runs down the drain, gets to the partial blockage and then slowly gets past the partial blockage. But when the washing machine empties it puts a lot of water in a short amount of time down the drain, it gets to the blockage and backs up faster than it can get past the blockage so you have an overflow somewhere. If other water is also going down other drains while doing laundry, like flushing toilet or showering, that adds even more water to the backup. Luckily, most of the water we put down the drain isn't nasty (toilet is exception) so the backup water isn't too smelly. Like already said, your problem may just be a normal clogged drain line under the house that a drain cleaning person can take care of.

If your septic tank has an inspection door (some do) then you can see how well the water from the house is getting to the tank. As you probably know septic systems can have other problems where the lateral lines no longer accept water from the septic tank, the water will then back up into the house. All septic tanks eventually fill with water and solids, this is normal. The water then runs from the septic tank and goes out into the lateral lines where it eventually gets absorbed into the underground. But if a lateral line collapses and gets blocked, or if an overfilled septic tank starts putting solids out into the lateral lines they no longer accept the water from the tank like they should. So the water can backup into the house. The solids are supposed to stay in the septic tank and you need to have the tank pumped out every so often to empty it of solids, how often depends on how many people in the home, size of the tank, etc. Hopefully that is not what is going on, but you need to know how a septic system works so you can manage it correctly.

No one likes unexpected bills for dealing with this but generally this type of problem doesn't fix itself.



Edited 7 times.

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 Re: Water backing up into sink
Author: hj (AZ)

septic tank problems affect EVERYTHING, especially the toilets, so you have clogged drain near the sink or washing machine.

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 Re: Water backing up into sink
Author: PlumberLoren (CA)

I will share with you guys that nothing should be flushed down the toilet that is not organic. Years ago (1961) I was called out to Yorba Linda, CA (Richard Nixon's birth place) to remedy a stoppage in an old concrete joint clay sewer pipe. There were no outside cleanouts so I ballpinned a 1" hole in the top of the pipe next to the house. I inserted a snake with a retriever head on it and proceeded to snake the line. When I felt I had the problem resolved I retrieved the snake only to discover that no matter how hard I tried, it could not exit the 1" hole in the pipe. I tried one last time with all of my strength and it finally popped out with a volley ball size cluster of condoms wrapped around the snake head. The renter who was pregnant was standing there watching me as I worked and I said to her, "Here is your problem". We were both embarrassed and I will never forget the look on her face. I was 21 years old. Reminds me of, "When I was 21, it was a very good year"... actually thinking about it, my house payment was $70.00 per month including property taxes in Norwalk, CA. Those were the good old days.

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 Re: Water backing up into sink
Author: abbie (CA)

you could repair this by using setting a bowl below the waster trap on the sink and then undo the union nuts, they usually undo anti-clockwise. take a look at the pipe for blockages, then update the nuts.

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