Drain Problem

As with most things in the house, the drain plumbing is atrociously wrong. There’s a cast iron soil stack that’s mostly ok, except it ends in the attic a bit shy of the roof. There’s new PVC that ties into another cast iron soil stack that does make it out the roof, though it has some holes in it. The base of the PVC is cracked off about a foot from the basement floor and has a smaller diameter PVC pipe going into it. It also has some side drains, one of which is broken off.

In the above picture you can see the problem. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, we didn’t have any problems with this until recently. I think it was so caked with dirt that the back pressure never managed to escape. Maybe it was just time, maybe we bumped it during demo or something, but a few days ago we started getting water out of the side drain when we did laundry, hence the soap. However, as you can imagine it didn’t smell like laundry soap. It smelled like festering sewer water, which is exactly what it was.

Because the pipe is snapped off and literally cemented into the ground, there isn’t a clean way to fix it. I tried prying off the outer ring to get something I could screw onto, but didn’t have any luck. I didn’t want to crank too hard on it and wind up with a much bigger problem, so I went to the hardware store and played with the PVC fittings for half an hour, at one point having eight different inter-connected pieces in my hand. I finally settled on four pieces that I could combine into several possible solutions. My past experience with plumbing has taught me to over prepare so I don’t find myself back at the hardware store return counter multiple times in one evening.

Drain repair

There’s a good chance that we’ll need this pipe when we move the laundry back to the basement, so a more permanent seal wasn’t in the cards. I decided on a 2″ to 1-1/2″ rubber gasket adapter, followed by a cleanout and cap. The gap at the top of the pipe that the smaller pipe fits into I filled with spray foam in a bid to prevent gas and possible water from escaping. It’s far from pretty, but like much of what we’ve done to date it’s temporary. It only needs to last a year or so until we come back and re-do it all. I’ll let it all dry out and then run some water through the washer to make sure it doesn’t leak. Then I can sweep up the mess. In the mean time I sprayed the hole thing with a generous helping of disinfectant to hopefully cut the smell. Blecgh.


2 Responses to Plumbing Patch

  1. Patches?!? We don’t NEED no… you know where I am going with this.

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