Laundry Room Flooding Problem

Answered by Jeffrey ~ April 16, 2010 ~ No Comments

When I wash clothes in my laundry room it floods my living room, and my kitchen sinks won't drain. I have had 2 plumbers come out and they dont tell me anything, but your sink is holding water which apparently I already knew! Obviously, it would be hard without being here to look, but what is your take (or guess) on this? What could be the problem?

Rachel G. ~ Houston, Texas

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Rachel, I can see where this problem could get old quickly. My first guess would be that you have a partial blockage of your main drainage line out of the house. Since your address is Houston, Texas, I'm assuming you aren't on a septic field, and are hooked into a city or county water and sewer system. A partial blockage can cause everything to drain more slowly, but you don't really notice it with most of your plumbing fixtures. However, a washing machine dumps a lot of water into the drain system very quickly. If the drain can't handle that amount of water, it will back up and come up into open drains, such as kitchen and bathroom sinks.

I'm not sure why your living room would be flooding unless it is near your laundry room, and it is overflow from the washing machine drain. There could also be a plumbing cleanout behind the sheetrock on the wall, and the cap might not be tight. When the water backs up, some could be escaping from the cap.

This problem could be caused from something clogging the drain from the inside of the home, like an object being flushed that should not have. Or it could be caused from something on the outside of your home blocking the drain, like tree roots. I have had my house drain blocked several times in the past. I pull one of my toilets up, choosing the toilet that is the furthest from where the drain exits the house. Use a plumbing snake to try and clear the line. If the snake exists the house without meeting resistance, then the problem may be in your yard. If you have large trees in your yard, then you might have to rent a power auger to clear the lines. It works the same way, put it through where your toilet is pulled, but it has teeth that can cut through roots. If you have an outside drain cleanout near your home, you can put the auger head through there, but make sure it heads towards the street rather than into the house.

It is also possible that you could have a blocked vent line on your roof. If the air is not allowed to escape a drain line, then drainage can be much slower, and could cause an overflow at a drain. I would check for a blocked drainline first though.

You don't mention how severe the water damage is in your laundry room and living room, but if it is substantial, you might want to have someone come in and check for mold after the leakage problem is solved. The climate in Houston, Texas can be conducive for mold growth, especially in the summer.

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