1st Floor Residents Be Aware
Do you live on the first floor of your condo or apartment building? Have you ever come home to a dirty sink that you know was clean when you left in the morning? Have you ever had standing water in your sink or dishwasher knowing that you didn’t use the kitchen and wonder what the heck is going on? Well, these are sure signs your kitchen drain is clogged.
Anyone who lives or has lived on the first floor of an apartment or condo building with multiple units above them may have had this experience. Water backing up in the kitchen sink without ever using the sink. We see this all the time in multi-unit buildings. What happens is the kitchens share a common pipe. The kitchen drain over time becomes clogged below the first floor, usually as the piping changes from vertical to horizontal. This becomes a real serious issue for occupants on the first floor. Any water used at the kitchen sinks in the apartments above will fill up the first floor sink and if enough water is used, fill the sink, spill over the rim or out of the dishwasher and onto the floor.
The water will continue to back up at the first floor causing major damage to floors, cabinets, and countertops especially if no one is home to notice. People upstairs don’t realize there is any problem because their unit is draining properly. The first floor kitchen sink is the lowest opening and that’s where the water comes backs up. I speak not only from my plumbing experience, but personal experience as well. This very scenario actually happened to my mother. She would spend winters in Florida. Her condo was vacant for the winter months. She was, of course on the first floor and I would check on her place twice a week … get the mail, make sure the heat was on, and things of that nature. Then one Sunday afternoon, I walked in and saw remnants of food and debris in the kitchen sink. Being in the plumbing business, I knew exactly what was happening and luckily caught it in time and was able to prevent a more serious problem.
If you ever experience any of the symptoms I described, you’ll need the cooperation from your upstairs neighbors. Tell everyone above you to stop using the kitchen sink or dishwasher. Your neighbors should be able to use everything else in the house i.e., bathrooms, showers, toilets should not be affected. Ask them to stay away from the kitchen and possibly the laundry depending on how the building is piped. If no water is used, the water level will remain the same. As long as the water level remains lower than the sink, you will be okay other than a sink full of dirty, smelly water. As long as your neighbors cooperate, you can avoid more serious damage until help arrives. Again, this is all predicated on the fact that you are at home to discover there is a problem. Imagine going to work, out of town for a weekend, or on a two week vacation and any time anyone of your neighbors used their kitchen sink or dishwasher they dumped that water on your kitchen floor, cabinets and counter top. It is a horrible thing to come home to.
If you are experiencing a slow kitchen drain, or completely clogged kitchen drain, or notice any of the warning signs I described, or any other types of drainage issues or questions, please do not hesitate to call and schedule an appointment today. Call 847-259-0200 for drainage problems or any of your plumbing needs.