06:37PM | 08/12/07
Member Since: 08/11/07
4 lifetime posts

First, I'm sorry for the long post, but it's necessary so that you know what is going on.

I'm in desperate need of some help and I hope someone here can provide it. First, a little background info.

I had a house built and moved in Jan of 2005. Three weeks after that, while I was taking a shower, I heard a gurgling noise coming from the toilet. When I got out of the shower, I went into the laundry room and it was flooded with about 1-2 inches of water. The drain that the water heater pipe goes into is in the laundry room and that is where the water comes out of. That is the lowest point in the house. Also, the shower and toilet are in the master bath and the laundry room back up to each other.

Since then, it's happened about 9 times, and the gurgling always precedes it. And it's always while I'm either using the shower or using the washing machine.

I've been told many things.....that it's a city sewer problem, that it's the vents, that I'm putting something down the toilet, and the best one yet....that I'm using wrong toilet paper. This all coming from the plumbers that my builder uses to a plumber that I hired.

As for what has been checked....the vent, from inside the attic to up on the roof, and the main line has had the camera several times.

This past March, another plumber that I hired used the camera and thought that he saw way too many turns which led him to think that was where the problem was.

So the builders plumbers came in, ripped up the floor in the front bathroom and found several spots where there was backfall. The pipes were replaced and we all thought the problem was fixed.

Well, about 3 weeks ago, the gurgling happened again. Not wanting to clean up another mess, I immediately turned the shower off and luckily a backup didn't happen.

The builders plumbers came out again and said they have no idea what is wrong. They said again that it was probably a city sewer problem. Oh and they suggested that they remove the backflow preventer valve, so they could tell for sure, but I said absolutely not.

Anyway, I had the city come out to check their line. I talked to him and he said the city line is fine. He also said that he checked my cleanout and saw that the ears on the white cap are broken. He also said that if there is the slightest problem with the backflow preventer, that it could cause these intermittent backups.

I've talked to the builder and we are at a standstill. He said everything looked fine to him. They said they don't know what more to do. Well, I'm not letting it go. I will call a lawyer and the local news if I have to.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Please, I'm desperate!

Thank you so much your time and help!


11:21AM | 08/13/07
Member Since: 01/24/06
1548 lifetime posts
I am willing to bet you donuts and coffee that the builder used the lowest bidder and the low ball plumber used PVC for drainage and venting.

Your on the right track calling a lawyer and the news and possibly a licensed Master plumber as an expert witness works wonders.

I just did today did a video inspection of a church sewer that as installed in the 1800's BUT then again in those days the installers did own a level and used cast iron piping and other then water jetting to scour the lines clean I would venture to say the sewer system should give another 100 years of trouble free service.

I know your frustration as I posted an article in 1999 about state of the art new materials in construction failures.

Good luck as not being on site there is little hope or advice one can offer on a list


05:48AM | 08/15/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
Find a master plumber who knows how to properly do a peppermint test.

You may well end up having top open up every plumbing wall for your main vent/drain stack to be inspected.

Suspect some non-sanitary fittings having been used, and/or catching things, first off from what you have described. Also get this master plumber to do (on paper and in a written report form) your DFU calculations and inspect your DWV system see if you are sized and pitched properly (this includes the trade size increases required before roof penetrations for main and auxiliary venting esp. if in a snow fall zone.

your DWV system needs certain pitches, etc. but also not over done - more is not necessarily better.

Your mention of your one and only outside sourced/independant plumber having expressed concern about the number and type of bends - is also a major clue here. Sounds like your builder has successfully stalled you beyond the one or two year new home warranty period -- possibly your regress (court, read: law suit) may not yet have been extinguished - don't know. Time is of the essence either way - be prepared to burden some or all of these expenses, however, since as you mentioned 2005 versus 2007 is usually beyond one's ability to recover (even if you do, these guys tend to go bankrupt or close, and start up all overagain with a new LP or corp anyway).

Good luck.


01:18PM | 08/16/07
Member Since: 08/11/07
4 lifetime posts

Thank you for your reply. I have since talked to my builder and they are going to do what I'm asking. Which is to replace everything in the cleanout and do more investigation.

It's a shame that I had to write a couple of very stern emails and call to ask for the warranty manager's boss, before I got a response from them.

Thanks again!


01:26PM | 08/16/07
Member Since: 08/11/07
4 lifetime posts
Thank you for your reply. Wow, you've mentioned things that I've never heard of. ;)

I was beginning to think that I was learning something about plumbing, but I was so

Anyway, like I mentioned in my reply to Sylvan (Tieger Plumbing), my builder is going to do what I'm asking, so that's good.

I mentioned your suggestions and the builder is requesting that I send them what you suggested, so that's a good sign, I think. I hope you don't mind. I'm not going to link to this board, I'm just copying and pasting your test recommendations.

A couple questions for sounds like venting could be an issue, and since the backups don't happen all the time, am I understanding you correctly that that is totally possible? For issues with the venting to cause intermittent problems?

Also, what the heck is a peppermint test?

What did you mean by the number of bends being a major clue?

As for my builder stalling me, luckily they aren't able to do that. Last year, I asked for and received in writing a 2 yr extension of my warranty.

Thanks again for your response and if you have any other ideas that I can pass onto my builder, let me know.


01:36PM | 08/16/07
Member Since: 08/11/07
4 lifetime posts
One more question that I forgot to ask. You mentioned non-sanitary fittings having been used and/or catching things. What kind of things can be catching?

Thank you!


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