Plumbing Questions? Ask a Plumber for Answers ASAP
Good morning, and welcome to the Technical section in JustAnswer. My name is ***** ***** I will help you today. There's no time pressure on this topic - it will stay open for many days, and you can reply at any time. I will be away from my desk sometimes, but will respond as soon as I can.
You have a cast iron soil & vent pipe, and it seems that the vent/dry section of the pipe has fractured. This isn't a problem per se, but it shouldn't be left like that because the foul air should be vented above the gutter height. If any piece of the pipe has dropped down inside and reached ground level, or lower, then I would expect it to cause a problem in terms of the soil pipe blocking.I'm not suggesting that you've been neglectful, but judging from your photo and your description the waste system hasn't had much maintenance for a long time.Regarding the smell and gurgling, until all blockage are removed you will continue to get problems of one kind of another, so I would start at the nearest inspection chamber and checking that water runs freely to it and through it. You might even find a blockage in there. I would survey the section to the inspection chamber to see if there are any fragments of cast iron pipe in there.I would consider cutting out and removing the cast iron soil pipe just above ground level, and replacing it with a PVC stack. When this is out I would survey between the any soil branch for toilets can be investigate and cleared. Once that it all reinstated and known to be good, I would then cleaning any upstream blockage, like the kitchen sink waste, shower waste, etc.
I should also point out that the fragment of cast iron, that seems to be wedged just below gutter height, is dangerous as it could easily kill someone if it fell on them.
No. Drain clearance companies are specialist in clearing and surveying underground drains. Underground lining, replacing, and repairing is undertaken by different contractors. Above ground works are undertaken by regular plumbers.I see a single-storey extension enclosing the lower part of the S&V (soil & vent) stack. Is the stack visible within the extension, or is it concealed?If you ignore the fractured pipe for now, a plumber is still your best bet for sorting out the various problems. Do you have an inspection chamber near this S&V stack, or has it been covered by the building?
If you can look outside the neighbouring houses, see if you can spot an inspection chamber cover (aka "manhole cover") elsewhere - they tend to be placed in a straight line that runs in front or behind the line of houses. If you see that each neighbour to the left and right has one, and you don't, and the line runs under your extension, then there's a chamber under there. You might be able to get your problem solved without accessing that, but you might not. It needs a site visit to examine this further.Whereabouts in the UK are you?
Is the driveway on the same side of the house as the cast iron S&V stack?
OK. If in visualise a straight line running from the bottom of the cast iron stack to the inspection chamber cover, does that line pass under the house at all?
That looks like a rainwater gully, not a foul drain inspection chamber.
See this image on this web page.
I don't know what they flushed out, but those are not foul drain chamber covers.
How close to the S&V stack is the kitchen? And how close is the shower?Do you know the route of the shower waste to the underground drain?
I deduce that the kitchen is in the single-story extension - is that right?How far is it from the shower waste to the boxed-in soil stack?
It's likely that the boiler is a condensing boiler - please tell me if not. If it is then there should be a 21.5mm plastic pipe taking condensite from it and leading to the household waste system. Sometimes, installers put the pipe into the open end of a 32mm standpipe, with no water seal, which would allow sewer smells to emerge from the 32mm pipe. If you attach a photo of the pipework under the boiler I can see what the situation is there.
Can you take a photo of the pipework from further away? As long as the area is well-lit I can always zoom in to see more detail, but I need to see much more of the pipework.
I was hoping to see how the condensate pipe connects to the waste system. Are you able to trace that pipe and find the connection?
There is some logic in the smell being worse when it rains. For example, if the rainwater goes into the foul sewer, which is common but not always the case, then water going in will usually result in foul air coming out. It ought to come out of the vent - the one above your gutter level. However if there’s an easier route for it to take, then you get smells elsewhere.
If the condensate pipe is wrongly installed then the solution is to install it correctly. I know that's glib, but the solution depends on what the problem is.