I live in a multi story apartment building on the first floor. My washer/dryer are stacked atop each other in a small closet. I've noticed puddles of water on the ground before but did not know the source of where it was coming from.

Recently, I was at home when I heard a noise coming from the closet. I slid out the washer/dryer and saw a large amount of water on the ground with lots of soap suds. I looked inside the stand pipe and saw soap suds inside the pipe. Based upon the soap on the floor and the soap inside the standpipe, I believe the pipe was overflowing.

I haven't ran my washer in at least two weeks prior to the incident. I'm not sure why the pipe is overflowing. There are two apartments above mine with the same floor plan and I assume we all share some type of piping for our washing machines.

Any suggestions on what to do? Could this be a clogged pipe somewhere that needs to be snaked? I contacted management who sent out a plumbing company. They didn't do much except peek around a little and say they didn't observe any leaks. I've only noticed the puddles of water about 3 times in the last year or so.

Thank you!

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  • 7
    That "plumbing company" is useless. You have at least a partial blockage downstream and you're seeing your upstairs neighbors' dirty washing water overflowing up through your stand-pipe. It's probably only a matter of time before you start seeing less pleasant overflowings ....
    – brhans
    Mar 18, 2019 at 15:35
  • 1
    You need to take the comment by @brhans seriously.
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 18, 2019 at 15:37
  • 2
    Could be a partial blockage that only acts up when two washing machines drain at the same time which would explain the frequency. They will just have to take your word for it and inspect or clean the pipes. It might not be easy to reproduce in a multi-unit apartment.
    – JPhi1618
    Mar 18, 2019 at 15:38
  • It is possible to get a rotating valve to fit in that pipe - close when not in use BUT don’t forget to open it when you switch yours on...
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 18, 2019 at 16:09
  • 1
    Don't be like that Mike.
    – user98441
    Mar 18, 2019 at 17:34

1 Answer 1


There could be a blockage downstream somewhere. However, there would probably be a lot more water on the floor and on a regular basis. Check the height of the stand pipe. If it is not tall enough, the water will run out of it when you have more water in the tub than you normally use. I/E: If you normally wash a small load but sometimes you run a super sized load.

Also, it looks like that piping is fairly old. Washing machines have much stronger pumps than they did years ago and the stand pipe height requirements for your particular washer might be different than what you have. Lengthening the height of the stand pipe might help.

You could also install a flood-guard, which is a type of back water valve. This one can be added inline by inserting it into the pipe, tightening three screws and you're done. Any water attempting to back up in the line will be prevented from entering your home.

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