About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that the toilet would bubble and, eventually, the water would back up into the shower in the basement of my duplex down condo. What started out as about 12-15 minutes of time to back up (like the length of the shower), turned into a back up within 3-5 minutes.

Last night I used a bottle of Liquid Plumber in the shower, to no affect.

I'm certain that the sink, shower, and toilet are on the same line out, but after showering in a different bathroom this morning, it looks like this is not adding to the backup. My thought here is that this is a clog between the shower and the toilet, or down line from the toilet, and not a venting problem, since it's not affecting the other sinks in the house. Since I'm in Chicago, this isn't a septic issue.

I also believe this line is below the water line and feeds the sump pump. I'm investigating the sump tonight.

Any guidance or other thoughts? Anything someone might consider or had epxerience with?

  • 1
    I'm confused about what's running when you get the backup, the shower or the toilet?
    – BMitch
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


I'd start by snaking the shower drain. Liquid drain cleaners help with grease and oil buildup in the trap, but less so on hair or other solids, especially if they are further down the line (e.g. near the vent). The shower drain will be a lot easier to snake since you don't have to worry about damaging the toilet's porcelain finish.

  • 1
    Unfortunately I'm too new to be able to upvote BMitch's recommendation, but thank you for this. As an update, last night I confirmed this had nothing to do with the sump pump. Also, after some vigorous plunging, the blockage subsided. My new theory is that there was a build up where the toilet joined the line that the shower and sink were already on. My goal is to execute more "preventative care" moving forward. Many DIY online recommend baking soda and vinegar as a green long term care solution. Any other recommendations? Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 16:58
  • 1
    Honestly, since a plumbing snake is only $15 or so, I'd pick one up and use that the next time you notice it running slow. I've spent months trying to solve a slow drain other ways, only to have it completely solved in 10 minutes with a snake.
    – BMitch
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 17:51
  • 1
    @zombiecigars more fiber ;-)
    – HerrBag
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 21:43

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