Sand and water bathtub overflow when washer runs in basement

9 Replies

Hi Guys, 

I'm having an issue with the basement unit tenant stackable washer/dryer overflowing into the bathtub drain.  

I had a contractor put in a washer dryer down there about two months ago, and it connects to the shower, but everytime the washer runs, it discharges this sand/buildup material.   When the shower runs, it drains perfect fine.

Initially, I thought it was just something leftover from the construction and it would clean itself out.  Not sure if I should call a plumber or try to do something myself with a snake or something else.  

I've included a picture.    Thoughts?

@Jeff White looks like the plumbing is bad somewhere. Don’t think this sand is lingering from construction. It’s probably the earth under the place. Sucks but you may need to do a major repair. Check your insurance for plumbing claims

Are you sure that drain is connected to the sewer?  I've seen hack jobs where basement drains are really just french drains.  You may want to run a snake down it and see where the thing connects to the main line.

@Robert Herrera   Thanks Robert, yep, I'm thinking that's a possibility as well since it has been happening for over two months. I can check with my insurance, but I might go back to the contractor to see if he can fix it since it wasn't doing it before.

@Blair Poelman Not sure.   I know the contractor had to dig through the contract to connect it, so I think it is connected to the sewer. 

Thanks for the quick responses guys!

You have a break in your sewer line.  Get it scoped and look at the video.  The washer is pushing water out faster than it can drain and that's causing the backup into your tub.  The sand is getting circulated back from the break into the tub.  If you're lucky, the break will be a simple one that's outside the house.  Or, could be the whole drain line is bad.  Really, really common around here for houses that have clay pipe.  The clay is now old enough that its shifting and collapsing and it has to be replaced.  Could also be a break under the house.  Not so bad if you're on a crawl space, tougher if you have a slab.

@Jon Holdman   Also something I'm thinking about.  The place was built back in 1963, so I know a lot of the plumbing is older.  

I did have a sewer scope done on the property back when I bought in last August 2017, and it came up clean, so I'm hoping it isn't that, but I think it is best to let a professional figure it out since it is more complicated than some hairs clogging it!

Thanks for your response! 

All that sand and dirt is a pretty clear indication that somewhere in the line there is an opening.  Could just be an "offset" where two pipes at a joint have shifted.  Or a crack.  In either case, this will tend to catch hair and grease and make for a clog.  Then the washer pumps a lot of water quickly, it hits the clog and starts swirling around and picks up dirt and sand.  If you had it scoped and it looked OK, it may be in the lines above where you scoped.  That's actually not that bad.  Even if you have to jackhammer a hole in the concrete to fix it that's cheaper than replacing a main line.

@Jon Holdman   Good stuff.  I'm having a drain/plumber guy look at it today.  Thanks again for the help!  

@Jon Holdman Just got it fixed and cleaned from the plumber, actually the plumbing wasn't done right from the GC who installed the washer dryer hookups in the basement unit , he didn't put in a vent or a cleanout pipe and did a P-trap configuration wrong.  

Basically, the clog was many years old of never properly cleaning out the drain that connects to the main line.  

The sewer scope only showed the main line from the yard to the street, not from the house, so the plumber fixed the clog in that unit.  All is good.  Tenant is happy.  Thanks for the advice again.   

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