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Thread: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Totally not related to pools .... and really likely a question for Mark ....

    Our washing machine has recently started to overflow the drain. If I run a hose in the drain, it will not quite overflow, but the washing machine must pump out at a higher flow rate and thus, overflow some. I am guessing the drain has developed a partial block and I have as yet been unable to clean it out and the clothes are piling up.

    So, question is ... are washing machine pumps similar to pool pumps where I can restrict the output hose to reduce the flow rate without damaging the pump?

    This would be a relatively temporary "fix" until I can figure out how to clean out the pipes.

    Thanks.
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    I'd run a snake down the drain before I risked burning up a washer.

    Another thing you can do is put water hose dow n(turn it on) the vent line (from roof) sometimes simple slow drains are caused by poor venting (blockages in vent line often caused by flying critters.) WIth this you want to make sure you have someone inside to ensure you don't flood the room.

    In addition once you get yours fixed, I'm more than willing to let you get on top of my 2nd story to rinse out a vent line If you live I'll buy the beer!
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    I tried the snake and could not get it past the trap or something ... it is an older house (70s), so no idea how the plumbing was done. I just moved the drain hose to the drain for the AC which is nearby and thought that was working, but now wife says it backed up there too ... so the clog must be downstream of the the AC drain also so may have to try the snake from there.

    I do need to run water down the vents and see if that does anything, but the fact that it is happening on 2 drain lines with 2 different vents does not leave me with much hope that will help.

    I did try plugging the vent line and using a Drain King, but did not help and I did not know at the time that the issue is downstream of the AC drain too.
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    you always could try a pressure washer and force water but that might leave a little mess....
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    My Whirlpool washing machine has a strainer ahead of the drain pump on the suction side that tends to get clogged (I have to clean it out every year or two), when this happens the washing maching throws a low flow error message and shuts down. I suspect partly blocking the output woud likely do something similar on most modern washing machines (mine is 8-9 years old).
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Each washing machine has a spec as to the maximum height the hose can travel which I assume would be below the maximum head of the pump. Mine is 96" and normal drain height is about 39" so technically, you could add another 5' of "head" to the line without any impact but you need to check your owners manual. If yours has an alarm, then that would be one way to tell.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Just looked at the manual and it says the drain should be between 3 and 5 feet. Over 5 feet a "high volume pump" may improve draining. So, I may be able to add a little resistance. I doubt mine has an alarm.

    If I were to loop the hose up to 5' before coming down to the 3' drain pipe would that slow the flow? Or would a siphon develop and help after the flow started?

    In searching about this issue ... it does not seem like I could ever upgrade. The newer washers drain even faster and code may now be 3" drain pipe My little 1.5" pipe may not handle the higher flows even if I found and cleared a clog. And upgrading the pipe is not possible.
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    If I were to loop the hose up to 5' before coming down to the 3' drain pipe would that slow the flow? Or would a siphon develop and help after the flow started?
    Unfortunately not. You need to break the siphon at 5' by either drilling a hole, or using a second pipe that is larger than the hose.
    Mark
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Sounds like it's time to call in the pros. Their big power snakes with the cutter blades and (hopefully) years of practice should get the line cleared.
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Try a drain bladder. They run about $15 and work wonders. If that doesn't help, then there are larger issues.

    Is your washing machine in a basement by any chance??

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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Is that the same as a drain king?

    No basements to be found around here.
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Yes it is. I forgot you were out west where there are no basements.

    Are any of your toilets or drains acting funny??

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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Nope, everything else is fine and if the septic was backing up I would expect to have seen it in the tub which is closest to the exit to the septic.

    Now that I know the restriction is after the AC drain ... I would have to plug the washer and the AC Vent and the AC Drain to try to run the drain king. The water comes out of the drain king so slowly, how long do your need to run them to build up pressure in the pipes?
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Living in the country on septic, we drain our washing machine water outside. Is that an option? There was a dry-well dug and filled with rocks at least 15....maybe 20 feet from the house. The pvc pipe was buried and drained into that "dry-well". Gardenias were planted (they love the water) and it worked well. Washing machine water is good "grey" water for watering outside (unless you're washing cloth diapers that is).......you could get creative with a large drum (rainwater barrel) and irrigation/soaker system for flowers maybe?......depending on how creative you want to be. And of course all of that may not be code, so just be able to re-rig the drain when or if the house is on the market.
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    They're not so much designed to "flood" a clog out. They work by "punching" a clog out of the pipe. You'll need to feed the hose until you hit the clog, then turn on the water. I've had good luck with minor clogs with these and they're safer on plumbing than are augers.

    That's what I was wondering about the septic. Our main drains need snaked about every 5 years, and I doubt all the stuff my girls toss down them help much. You lucked out on that one.........

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Yeah, I can not even get a snake around the corner at the bottom of the washer stand pipe, so no way I will get the drain king around it. Plus it is not a total clog, 5+GPM drains just fine indefinitely, but the 20+GPM? the washer throws out is just too much. So not sure the drain king is going to help in this case.

    Likely going to have to get someone out with cameras and snakes.

    And it is in the middle of the house, so not practical to drain outside.
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    Middle of the house and can't drain outside is a bummer. I love to experiment with outdoor drainage concepts, but then again this is where we live.
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    You should have a cleanout near the side of the house where the plumbing goes to the septic field. I would try running a snake through the clean out first. We have had our 1970's built home clog like that before, and it is hard to snake out. Lint and gunk tends to collect in the trap. I've been able to free the clog by running liquid plumber down there, except when the main waste line for the house collapsed. Not enough snakes or liquid plumber in the world when that happens! After the waste line was replaced the plumber told me to buy an enzyme thing to keep the pipe clear called Bio-clean. You run a maintenance dose down the drain every couple of months to get rid of built up gunk in the pipes.

    Not to alarm you or anything, but the first sign we had of a waste pipe collapse was the washer backing up.
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    I have never found a clean out between the house and the septic tank ... I would hope there is one somewhere ... guess I will look a little harder. I did find what looks like a cleanout pipe, but it is 30 feet on the other side of the tank from the house and oddly not in the direction of where I thought the leach field is.

    Ah the adventures of older homes with crazy DIYers before you.

    This house will be a nightmare if any of the main pipes collapse
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    Re: Washing machine pump same as pool pump?

    We were extremely lucky that the collapse was about 2 feet outside the slab. We couldn't find a cleanout on that side either, but it was unearthed after they dug up the broken pipe to replace it. 30+ years of growth had covered it up. We have a new cleanout and I keep the grass from growing over it so it doesn't get buried again. The only other cleanout we have is for the kitchen sink only. I don't know why it rates its own line. It is on the same side of the house as the washer, maybe 20 feet away.

    Anyway if you haven't tried it yet, the liquid plumber is worth a shot.
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