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Old 09-25-2013, 01:03 AM   #1
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Plugged Shower and sink!

Hi Everyone!

I am the newbie owner of a 1966 Tradewinds. This trailer has had a significant amount of restoration work done to it prior to my buying it. It had an all new plumbing system with pex pipes installed about 5 years ago. The trailer does NOT have a separate grey water tank, although it does have a grey water bypass on the sewage drain. I have checked to see that the bypass is NOT open, so the sink and shower SHOULD be draining into the black water tank.

My sad tale started when we were out on our first camping trip last week. I guess we filled the holding tank and I noticed hideous dark water with little black chunks (looked like undissolved TP to me) in the shower! Acchhh. We headed for the nearest pump-out station and cleaned out the mess. I did spray the shower with a fresh water hose and all appeared well.

However, this week back at home, I have discovered that the bathroom sink is clogged. I checked the shower and it appeared fine. I got a plunger and went to work and it appeared to be a success. Until I turned around and saw that the water was now all in the shower... So I basically just MOVED the clog! sigh.

I tried snaking without much success, as i couldnt get down the line very far.I have of course tried extensive plunging and have gotten NOWHERE fast.The good news is that this water IS definitely grey water and not black!

If this was a house, my next move would be a bottle of Drano or Liquid Plumber.Before I do that, I thought I best check on here and find out if it is SAFE to put that in my holding tank?

I am afraid that the move after that will be removing the belly pan and I am praying there is another solution!

And I have learned to NEVER put TP in our holding tank!!!!!

Thanks for any advice!

Maggie
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:23 AM   #2
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Hey Maggie

You said, "And I have learned to NEVER put TP in our holding tank!!!!!"

I use Scott tissue ( and Enzyme holding tank treatment method ) I NEVER see any evidence of toilet paper when I am dumping the tank. I certainly don't use the toilet as a waste basket but you certainly can put some TP in the toilet

Maybe " stuff " dried during ( actually after ) your sewer back up. I would put an Enzyme black water treatment, in your grey water system.

Another option would be to get a hose and try to use water pressure to dislodge
what ever the blockage is. I try to seal up the hose to the drain with a wet wash cloth.

I too am waiting for a reply about Liquid Plumber as I am curious about that
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave View Post
You said, "And I have learned to NEVER put TP in our holding tank!!!!!"

I use Scott tissue ( and Enzyme holding tank treatment method ) I NEVER see any evidence of toilet paper when I am dumping the tank. I certainly don't use the toilet as a waste basket but you certainly can put some TP in the toilet

Maybe " stuff " dried during ( actually after ) your sewer back up. I would put an Enzyme black water treatment, in your grey water system.

Another option would be to get a hose and try to use water pressure to dislodge
what ever the blockage is. I try to seal up the hose to the drain with a wet wash cloth.

I too am waiting for a reply about Liquid Plumber as I am curious about that

If you are going to try a water hose, remember to plug the drain opening that you are not putting the hose into. I would have my wife hold a rag down on top of the stopper, the stopper may not stay in place by itself. I would put the hose with a rag wrapped around it (to hold the water in) into the shower drain.
Picture a Y the sink drain into one side, and the shower drains into the other, so your blockage is somewhere in the straight end of the Y.
I would never use DrainO or Liquid Plumber products that might be hard on the seals in your holding tank valves.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:47 AM   #4
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The shower is the lowest part of your setup - whenever your tanks fill, that's where it shows first, as you've found out. If the shower doesn't drain, the plug is now sitting between the shower and the tank, which should be a short bit of pipe.

Have you tried a very thin, flexible snake fom the shower pan rather than from the sink?
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:07 AM   #5
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I use a heavy duty wet vac on my drains each year when I winterize the trailer prior to dumping "pink juice" in the drains. You would not believe what comes out of there. Just remove the drain stopper and cover the entire drain with the end of the vacuum hose. Plug up the other drains so the return air has to come from the tank below the clog. Do this with each drain separately and see if that solves your problem.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:24 AM   #6
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Your Gray should NOT be going into the Black tank. The set up is that the GRAY only exits thru the dump "bypass as you call it. Your system is working as it should. Get a Blue Boy portable tank or a hose/cap for the dump . Then either use the Blue Boy or the hose to take the gray water away. Clean and sanitize the shower then spend some time learning your system.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:09 AM   #7
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Did the PO modify the waste water system as well?
If not, you should have GW running out of the sewer hose connection when you have the cap off and run water in the shower.
If there is only one dump valve, it should be for the BW tank. This dump valve should be kept closed all of the time. Except when you go to the dump station. Even if you are connected to a sewer, the BW dump valve should be kept closed until you have a BW tank that is at least half full.
If you have the BW valve closed and the cap on the sewer line. When you run water in either of the sinks. It will back up into the shower. There is no other place for it to go. You must have the cap off to use the sinks. Since you don't have a GW tank. If you are not hooked up to a sewer. You will have to use a "portable tote" like a Blue Boy to handle the GW.
Can you post pics of how the sewer piping is routed under your trailer?
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:31 AM   #8
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Sometimes boiling water works to clear a clog, although I've only used that one in the house. Dumping some enzyme type tank stuff in on top of the clog area along with a little water might work to clear it too but would probably not be an immediate fix (as in might take a few days). I know some people do retro fit their systems to dump grey water into the black tank, but we would never do that unless there were very special circumstances (such as needing to fill the black tank before dumping if there were not much liquid in the tank). Black tanks aren't very big, and you can go through a lot of grey water in a short period of time.
It's ok to put TP in the tank, and I don't buy special RV TP. I use 2 ply TP. You can test it for dissolving by putting a couple sheets in a jar of water, shake the jar up for a minute, and see if it breaks apart. Some of those 3 ply extra strong TPs are not good for your system. Also make sure you are not putting large quantities of TP in your system, and have enough water in there with flushes.
We found out this summer that those "drop in" RV deodorizers are not effective in our black tank, unless we're traveling every day to "shake things up", don't you know! We switched back to granular or liquid as we feel it mixes better in our tank, especially when we're sitting for several days. We've also not had good luck with the enzyme ones for odor control, but others have.
I agree with getting a Blue Boy for your grey water.

Kay
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:50 AM   #9
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Another scenario is that as you dump your sink water the water isn't coming out is as fast as the water is draining from the sink. The natural back up is using your tub as the path of least resistance. You need a good tight fitting tub 'plug'
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by goshawks00 View Post
Another scenario is that as you dump your sink water the water isn't coming out is as fast as the water is draining from the sink. The natural back up is using your tub as the path of least resistance. You need a good tight fitting tub 'plug'
.

Thanks for that info Barry. of course it makes sense. And may be part of the issue I have been having.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:55 PM   #11
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Don't ask how I know this
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:57 PM   #12
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Maggie
VTS sells an expandable bathtub stopper. It prevents those unwanted messes innthe shower. We have one and it works great.
Tim
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:08 AM   #13
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Yes that will work... They are also known as a thermos plug from yester year, or still available also as a boat drain plug...
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