Why is my toilet water drained when I wash clothes?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ April 28, 2010 ~ Comments

Every time I wash clothes, it seems as though the water is being sucked away from the toilet when the washer spins. I am not sure why that is happening. Please help!!

Lisa W. ~ Kingwood, West Virginia

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Lisa, It sounds to me like your washing machine drain and the drain for the toilet in question are connected. When the washer is in spin cycle it is removing all of the water from the drum, and releasing it into your home's drainage system. For each drain in a house to work properly there must be a vent for the drain, and in some cases there are several drains connected in a drain line, and the vent for that line should be sized accordingly.

If you have been living in your home for a while, and this has just started to happen with your washer and toilet, it may be that something has blocked or partially blocked one of your vent lines. I don't know what type of wildlife you have around Kingwood, West Virginia, but it could possible be a squirrel or some type of bird. It could even be some leaves from nearby trees that have collected in there over time and there is finally enough to cause a problem with your drainage system.

If you are new to the home, or this has been going on since you have lived there, it is possible that the vent line is not sized correctly. Many times a plumbing device is added to a drainage system and the vent is not changed to accomodate the change. It might be that the bathroom where the toilet is located was added during a remodel, or the washer drain line was added after the home had been plumbed.

If there is a blockage, it is possible to use a plumbing snake from a drain line cleanout in the house to break up the blockage, but if the vent needs to be re-sized, you are probably going to need to bring in a plumbing contractor.

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