a clogged sewer line or frozen sewer line and how do I fix

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Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:02 pm

Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:34 pm

Hi, I'm a newbie in this forum, but I do have a serious problem.

In my guest bathroom, the toilet started needing severe plunging (every time you flushed) beginning a few days ago, even if all that was in it was water, just to get it to flush.
Yesterday (Friday, January 8th) was no exception, so I tried (once I got it flushed) to add hot water down the toilet to see if that would help any clog, but to my horror it made matters much worse, the water emptied into the tub. This means that both the toilet and tub began filling with water (my wife had a load of laundry in the washer that was spinning out the water into the drain), so I didn't want a flood that I couldn't control, so I shut off our main water line, thus preventing a flood we couldn't stop. Yes, both the tub and toilet were overfull and moments away from flooding (in fact the toilet did overflow for a few moments). We have tried plunging and hot water to no avail. I asked my wife to go to the store and get lye (a remedy my Grandma used to use, when I was little) and she borrowed a couple of augers, from a neighbor. This morning (Saturday, January 9th) most of the water had drained (but not completely) from both the tub and toilet, so I turned the main waterline back on. My wife turned the washer back on to finish the load she was doing when we turned the water off last night, the result was the tub filled up with sewer water yet again. However, I have not turned the water off, at least not yet. [Note: the sink, in that bathroom, does not have anything backing into it]

I know, from Internet research, that because the water is backing up into the toilet, the tub, and (at least) from the washing machine (on the other side of the house) that it has probably something to do with the main sewer line (not specifically the tub or toilet).

I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis) which prevents me from going out in cold weather (or hot weather for that matter) unless it is absolutely necessary, plus I get tired very easily, etc. however, I will fix this if I can.

My neighbor told us that he had a very similar problem himself (a week or so ago) and he tried everything (plunging, etc.), but that he finally had to crawl under his mobile home and cut out a large section of sewer line (while laying in raw sewage) and replaced it. He said it was 2 days worth of work.

My Q? for you all, is this a clogged main sewer line or is it a frozen sewer line?

Can it be fixed by using lye down the tub drain?

If I have to use an auger, where do I use the auger, down the toilet or down the tub drain or down the main sewer line?

My MS has cost me dearly, not only my health, but also my job (therefore my income)
therefore I don't have the money to pay for a plumber or sewer unclogging company.

That is why I'm writing you all, in this forum.

Please, give me an idea of what I'm looking at (clogged drain or frozen drain), and is
there a way to fix it, without having to crawl under the mobile home or calling a
plumber or sewer unclogging company?

Thank you for your time, consideration, and cooperation, I truly appreciate it.

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Posts: 5288
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:01 pm
Location: Weedsport, NY

Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:11 pm

Hi & welcome. If it is frozen, the first thing you need to do is to get some heat to it. Many use a salamander type heater under you home to thaw things out. A word of caution, DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED there have been fires caused by unattended heaters under mobile homes.
If warming it up and making sure it is not frozen does not solve the problem then you may have a clog. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."

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Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:42 pm
Location: Central Virginia

Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:26 pm

I would try with the auger too. I would not use lye in the pipes in this situation either. The lye could come back up in the tub and mess up the finish of the fixture. Also it can burn you severely. I know of someone who is blind thanks to getting a face full of it.

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Posts: 3369
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:16 pm
Location: Eastern N. Carolina

Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:26 pm


Do you have a septic tank or city sewage? During the cold weather have you been leaving any faucets running during the night? Has anyone checked the vent to make sure that it is not plugged, if you are in a snowy area your vent could be cover by snow therefore not allowing air in...

The difference between success and failure is who gives up first!

Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:38 am

Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:13 am

You have severely choked your drainage, you need to get it cleaned asap. You need to check your main drain, i think that that is choked which is making water back kicking. Well you should get it cleaned carefully and check for some options so that it does not happen again. There are water drainage systems that are available at home improvement store so that you can solve your problem for long time.

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Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:25 am

Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:38 am

Wow.. I have same question here.
But I think it's resolved already by the answers above.
Glad to find this post.. :D :D

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