About plumbing problems...

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If in an apartment, on a high floor, does one need to think about "extra bleach and rubber gloves" if the waste backs up...won't it back up and "down" (with gravity) as opposed to backing "up"??

-- NSmith (nitnat3@aol.com), June 26, 1999


are you an idiot or do you have no common sense.

-- robroy (robroy@excite.com), June 26, 1999.

Answers are you an idiot or do you have no common sense.

-- robroy (robroy@excite.com), June 26, 1999.

Thanks for sharing that rob, you OTOH come across as very intelligent.


As far as I know when the plumbing of a particular house "backs up" what is happening is that somewhere along the septic line it gets clogged and every time you flush the water hits the clog and pools, eventually sending the flushes backwards our of the bowl. I imagine that on a larger scale the sewage treatment lines, if unable to continue to move the sewage along, would then send the excess backwards along the line as it gets built up and come back into your house. It's actually fighting the laws of gravity but if your sink has ever clogged you know how quickly that extra water accumulates. I'm taking an educated guess here but maybe someone else can explain it better.

-- (tedjennings@business.net), June 26, 1999.


You have it right for the most part. In a high rise, the sewage 'back pressure' would need to be extremely high (in PSI) to overcome the 'head pressure' in a pipe that might be 50' in the air, or more. With that kind of developed pressure, you would see the ground covered from surface bursts.....pleasant thought.

-- Barry (bchbear@earthlink.net), June 26, 1999.

Listen folks...in a 'house' sewege will come up from the lowest point first (basement floor drain?) It's gonna come out of toilets, but can back up into shower or tub drains too! If there isn't any water...you won't have to worry. If you shut yourself off from the source, no problems. The only question is...when DO you decide to do this? After the fact? At what point will you begin your 'ultimate' camping trip? Now, you may want to begin asking yourselves some of these questions because, we're only 4 days away from *JULY 1999*. Ray provided some good advice on the previous thread concerning sewege problems, back- flow device AND cost. It's only high dollar if you contract the work to be done!

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), June 26, 1999.

Sewage lines are not normally pressurized in the US and are basically gravity fed to the nearest treatment plant or pump-up station. This means that unless you live near a plant or station, the sewage will never reach your house. Instead it will flow out the nearest man-hole cover to the plant or station. This happenned just a few days ago in California to a plant that may have failed a Y2K test(missplaced the link, but it was widely reported). Certainly if your toilet is located above the level of the street, you have no fear whatsoever.

I just do not think we need worry about this. Purchase of additional equipment is a waste of money for 99.999% of the population. If you really need it, then you know who you are.


-- Uhm... (jfcp81a@prodigy.com), June 26, 1999.

We keep hearing about how it's not a worry, and then we keep hearing from people who have incurred sizeable losses because it happened to them.

Gas line explosions damaging underground conduits, earthquakes, and equipment digging and oops crunching the line are some everyday causes. Also, if your location has the sewer & storm runoff in the same system, back-up will HTF faster.

Our apartment manager has been listening quietly to us thinking we're nuts as we run around with maps locating the sewer line on the property, but lo and behold the company just had a catastrophic sewer backup in a brand-new complex, whole thing had to be refloored, recarpeted, professional cleaners come in, major $$$$$$. So now they're more willing to listen.

This is *not* a topic you want to go FOF or "learn the hard way." Especially when everybody else is learning the same thing and there's no electricity or phones or plumber to help you get the diploma.

If the water is off, sewer & garbage will be enough of a problem as is. Lack of sanitation in city with infrastructure down is hazardous.

The risk is NOT WORTH IT. It's not worth losing all one's belongings and preps and shelter because must evacuate due to health hazard, disease, fumes, critter magnet. The structure will be condemned and you can't go back home!

xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxx xx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), June 26, 1999.

Another plumbing problem: What to do if pipes freeze and break and you can't call a plumber?

Of course turn off water -- but after that? In an apartment?

xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), June 26, 1999.

roflol... You folks make this forum worth the OT reading some days.


-- Uhm... (jfcp81a@prodigy.com), June 26, 1999.

Hey Ashton and Leska--

The contractor will no doubt be found to be at fault in the above mentioned new apartment, *SASU*, but not normal. It can happen, and it does, but this is of little consulation to those affected. They do not feel any better, that it should't have happened. Especially on any recent building projects. I'm sorry to hear about those tenants, but poor workmanship and S..T does happen.

I feel that if the line wasn't properly inspected by the city, that they should also assume responsibility!! All sewer plans undergo expensive and extensive scrutinity before being approved for construction.

Regarding the freezing question. All potable (drinking water) lines are required to have a *low point valve* between the city meter and the fixtures in the structure. This does, as the name implies give the structure some protection against burst pipes. The drain is opened manually after loss of water pressure by the owner or maintenance person, to allow water standing in the line to drain down and out of the service line.

If you cannot find or don't know if your house has a low point drain try the following: shut of the valve at the meter or pump. This will require a pair of substantial pliers, and of course finding the location of the meter box. Then open the faucet or spigot closest to the meter or pump, preferably an outside spigot. Go the the farthest faucet from the meter or pump, upstairs if multiple story and open the faucet here (all others are closed). Simply blow into the spigot and the water from the line will escape the spigot at the other end. Plumbers normally install water lines in the house with a slight grade or slope to them to aid in draining.

The hot water heater can be a source of trouble. Nearly every one I have ever seen has a drain on the bottom of it, and can be emptied from there. If possible connect a garden hose to it and run the hose to a point lower than the tank to drain. Open a hot water faucet to aid in draining and avoid vaccuum. If you can't use a garden hose, then use bowls or whatever. Extended cold weather without electricity can burst the tank and it is messy and expensive to repair.

Also a while back someone, Scat I think, made reference to freezing pipes. I naturally assumed ?she meant water, but perhaps ?she meant drain pipes. There should never be reason to use antifreeze as someone had suggested. It is not designed for this purpose. You have probably seen "antifreeze ice" after a spill in the drive way, if you live in a COLD area. It is meant to be in an enclosed automobile system, not a drain line. The only place there should be any freezable liquid in a drain line is at the traps beneath the sinks and toilets. If this worries you, you may either unscrew and empty the traps beneath sinks, or make a cup of water and salt solution to pour into the sink or toilet drain to inject homemade antifreeze into them.

Personally, I have lived in Alaska several times in my life, and I have never seen a sink trap freeze, but then this will be a whole new ball game, won't it? (*"(`

Well my fingers and brain are in need of a rest, so if you have further FAQ's, post and I will try my best to shed some common sense light on it, or some uncommon (still sensible) light on it (:<>` -(

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), June 26, 1999.

Thank you, Michael, you are a Godsend!

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), June 27, 1999.

Michael, just want to tell you that the traps certainly can freeze. Mine did one time. Didn't break, though. My friend had one freeze, even though he had left the water running into the sink. Water ran all over his floor; it actually resulted in a thick layer of ice on his floor. The secret to having a trap freeze is to have the temperature below freezing inside your house. If it's cold enough, long enough, the traps WILL freeze, unless protected by some sort of antifreeze. They are not magic.

-- jumpoffjoe (jumpoff@echoweb.net), June 28, 1999.

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