The drain pipe for the water coming from the washing machine overflows. I tried drano, but that did not fix the problem. I climbed onto the roof and slid the metal snake down the pipe. I met some resistance then pushed through and moved the snake back and forth. When I pulled the snake out, some clumps of stuff came out. I repeated the process.

Should I spend more time on the roof or use more drano?

  • I went back on top of the roof and tried the snake again. The washer drain still fills up. – thejdah Jun 30 '18 at 23:58
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    Run a trickle of water, run the metal snake either from the roof and/or down the standpipe itself. You’re on the right track the pipes plugged (not the vent, the drain itself). There are two actions needed, breaking up the plug AND washing away the debris that you break up. – Tyson Jul 1 '18 at 0:56
  • check your traps, is there a cleanout accessible? If the pipe is PVC or not super old, you can just disassemble it to clean the trap. I would run a snake then too. – noybman Jul 1 '18 at 0:59
  • It's a newer home, about 6 years old or so. I have not seen a trap. – thejdah Jul 1 '18 at 13:19
  • I done a couple of rounds of drano, that did not help. I tried putting the snake in the drain pipe, but could not get past the second trap. The type of snake that I am using is just the snake by itself. It's not the type where you turn a lever and it is fed. – thejdah Jul 1 '18 at 18:29

You're going to need to get an electric (or battery) powered handheld drum-type cable to do the job. Something similar to this; https://www.cleaner.com/online_exclusives/2016/04/milwaukee_tool_introduces_cordless_drain_snake

Not saying you need to go out and buy one, but most rental centers have them. With that you should be able to run through the trap with no problems. And if needed, you can access the clean-out (like in the picture) in your main drain and run the cable through it.

I've been doing building maintenance for 35 years now at a local hospital, and for what it's worth, I'd stay away from Draino and similar products.

Hope this helps.


After some brainstorming, I realized that when I inserted the snake into the vent pipe from the roof, I did go past the trap. I put all 50 ft of the snake into the vent. I then measured the path of the vent to the drain, and the direction that the drain should go under the house. The assumed path went to a room that had a court yard/flower bed just outside the window. A tree is in that court yard. My snake ended just before this area.

My concern being that a root from this tree could have broken the pipe, I called the landlord to have a plumber come out. The plumber had an electric drill/snake device. He used that to trace the path of the pipe, which went in the opposite direction that I thought.

The washer drain pipe was built as a separate drain system from the grey water system. This pipe went over to the property line and ran down a set of trees. At the end of the pipe, holes had been drilled into the pipe to let the water drain into the ground. Keeping in mind that this pipe is underground, dirt and mud had gotten into the pipe and roots from the nearby trees had grown into the pipe.

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