Foam bubbles up from sink

mratnerSeptember 15, 2011

In our newly installed kitchen, whenever we handwash the dishes with dishwasher liquid, after about a minute foam starts bubbling up from the sink. It's a 60/40 double sink with the smaller partition shallower, and that is where the foam starts coming up from first.

The installer guy ran the snake up the pipe but that didn't help. Any ideas?

Thanks!

-- Mike R.

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randy427

Use a different, low-foaming, detergent when handwashing dishes.
When the soap foams up, the bubbles have to go somewhere and would not tend to go down the drain unless accompanied by a higher flow rate of water than you are apparently using. The dishwasher contains the bubbles until the rinse cycle.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 4:54PM
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mratner

Thank you for your response; obviously I did not express myself very clearly.
We are washing dishes in the larger part of the sink, the soap foam goes down the drain just fine. However then it starts rising from the small compartment, as if pushed up by air pressure from inside the pipes.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 9:34AM
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randy427

The air pushing the bubbles up is caused by the venturi effect of water going down the other drain.
Have you tried using less soap?

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 10:46AM
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mratner

You make it sound like a generic problem; we know a number of people with double sinks, and none of them have this issue.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 2:10PM
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ionized_gw

Maybe the other people are washing dishes differently. Take your detergent to their house and wash dishes the way you do, or ask them to wash dishes at your house with their detergent. I, too, think you are using too much soap. It is possible that you have a vent problem, but I do not think so.

I can tell by your writing that you are not hand washing dishes efficiently, using way too much detergent and water. There should be little detergent running down the drain until you are finished washing dishes. The most efficient way to hand wash dishes is to stopper the sink, and put in a little water with the minimum amount of detergent to make a small amount of suds. Start out with small stuff rinsing into the same sink. Move on to larger things as the sink fills adding more detergent if necessary. When the sink is full enough with water, switch to rinsing into the other sink.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 3:34PM
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mratner

You know, I've been building software systems for over 20 years, and in my experience telling the client to modify their behaviour to fix an issue is not only a non-starter, but a sure way to alienate the client. Now of course I am not a client here but simply someone asking for help, but could we just for a minute try to deal with the issue as stated? Just assume I have REALLY dirty dishes and have to use more detergent than normal.
What vent problem do you think could be responsible for this?

Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 5:17PM
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homebound

It doesn't sound like a vent problem. Perhaps your drain set-up under the sink is configured a bit differently than that of your neighbors. Could be that the two drains meet "equally" instead of one feeding into the other obliquely (with a wye) as it heads toward the trap, if that makes any sense.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 8:59PM
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homebound

If your two drains merge as in this link, you're more likely to see bubbles in the opposite sink.

Here is a link that might be useful: bubbles

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 9:08PM
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brickeyee

It is not a vent problem since the drains for the sinks are connected together before the trap.

You can prevent the problem by using separate traps and trap arms, but it can be a real PITA to install and not violate the plumbing code.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 12:01PM
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ionized_gw

Bad analogy even excluding the fact that you are not a customer. The dishes are standard and so it is soil. The water, plumbing and detergent are as well and all should be considered hardware. The procedure is more like the software and must be adapted to work with the existing hardware.

What would you expect if you complained about your car's clutch wearing out every 10,000 miles? Should I tell you to stop slipping it, or get a different kind of clutch?

Efficiency of hand dishwashing has been studied as far back as the 1950s. Now it might be called systems engineering. Then it was home economics. I should have included that if a lot of dishes are being washed, you should fill the second sink with hot water for rinsing rather than running fresh water over each item,

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 3:10PM
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mratner

@homebound
Here is the picture of my connection under the sinks:

and it does appear to be set up in a way that is similar to the one in the link that you provided. Unfortunately, as I am not really familiar with plumbing and its terminology, the comments in that thread are incomprehensible. But could you (or others) perhaps recommend a change that might take care of the problem?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 10:42PM
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homebound

Hmmm, it looks like the work was done during happy hour. Get a real plumber and they will cut it out and replace with a better configuration. You have a "center waste" set-up (where they meet in the middle, then drop into the P-trap).

Either replace it with an "end waste" set-up (with the trap under the main sink) OR install a separate trap for each sink.

One last thing: use a plumber, not the guy who did that unattractive mess!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 6:12AM
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lazypup

Having a center waste configuration would be fine providing they put it together using the proper fittings.

In that unholy mess in the photo they used a "PVC Pressure Tee" which is prohibited on all DWV lines.

A "DWV Sanitary Tee" would have been better, but even then it would not pass code.

For a center waste configuration code requires the use of a "Center Waste Tee" (Horizontal Baffled Tee).

If they were making an "End Waste" it would require an "End Outlet Tee" (Vertical baffled tee).

If your under the IRC and they were to install two separate traps and trap arms that would add another 3dfu's to the calculation, then the line inside the wall would have to be 2" instead of 1-1/2.

There is absolutely no excuse for anyone, whether they call themselves a plumber or not for making all that mess with the primer.

The line on the left hand side of the tee is too short, which resulted in putting a stress angle on the sink tailpiece. That will result in a premature failure of the tailpiece gasket and causing a leak.

If you have that mess cut out and a proper center waste line installed it will correct your problem.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 1:10PM
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asolo

I'm late on this but completely agree with latest posters' suggestions.

Also agree that whoever did that for you shouldn't be hired again for anything having to do with drainage.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 1:26PM
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lazypup

Here is an illustration I just made to help you select the proper tee.
. The one you need is the center outlet Tee
. .

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 3:53PM
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PRO
Sophie Wheeler

What lazypup said. I don't see DW stub in that nightmare, but if you have the chance, add one. A DW actually uses about 1/4 of the water and energy that it takes to handwash dishes. Your method of handwashing uses even more than average water and energy. You're wasting money. If you can't use a DW, change the way you hand wash.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 8:53PM
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lazypup

The more I look at that photo the madder I get. Not only is the "installer guy" who first assembled that nightmare not a plumber, I have serious doubts if he/she even personally knows a real plumber. In fact, judging by the results it would appear that the individual who did that was trained in the 3-stooges school of plumbing.

First off, any trained plumber would know full and well that primer is to be used sparingly,which is certainly not the case here.

Note that the trap adapter on the right hand side is about 5" higher than the one on the left. WHY?

Perhaps its because they installed the long sink tailpiece on the deep sink and the short one on the shallow sink. If they had reversed the tailpieces, putting the long one on the shallow sink and the short one on the deep sink then both tailpiece outlets would be at the same level.

Next, note the 1/8 bend offset on the line from the right hand side of the tee. That no doubt is because the cut the fixture arm too short, then glued the trap in place and it was short of being directly under the cross piece where it should be.

Now it is legal to use PVC and glue it all in place, but code requires a cleanout on the upstream end of all drain lines. If you have a removable trap that suffices as a cleanout, but since in this case the trap is glued in place, code would require a separate cleanout. Does anybody see a cleanout? I certainly don't.

Out of curiosity I went online and priced the correct fittings for this job.

A plastic slip joint type "Continuos Waste Center Outlet kit" costs a mere $11.99 and a slip joint type 1-1/2" P-trap is a paultry $5.49, add to that about $3 for a trap adapter and the job could have been done correctly for about $20 in parts and 30min labor, and thats allowing the plumber enough time to drink a coffee.

In a worst case scenario, it appear that the fixture arm coming out of the wall is offcenter and you may need to cut the fixture arm close to the wall, install and 1/8bend and bring the arm out to the trap adapter at a slight angle to properly align with the P-trap which should be centered. But then, that would only add another $2 or so.

Having spent four years in an apprenticeship I get livid when I see hackers calling themselves plumbers and making a mess like that, which ultimately makes real plumbers look bad.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 10:06PM
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mratner

Thank you for your comments. I shared them with the company that had provided the installer; they will be redoing the job; we'll see how well it turns out.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 10:24AM
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jakethewonderdog

And that company's name is?....

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 11:41AM
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brickeyee

If you use enough soap you can still have bubbles back up even with a baffled tee.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 12:02PM
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mratner

@jakethewonderdog
Disclosing the company name is tantamount to declaring war; I am not quite there yet.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 3:00PM
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lazypup

Mike.

Allow me to give you a little tidbit of knowledge that will strengthen your position when dealing with the contractor.

Maintenance is the act of replacing or repairing an existing system providing you maintain the exact same configuration, and anyone can perform maintenance.

"PLUMBING" is the act of designing and installing new piping systems or reconfiguring existing systems, and by law it must be performed by certified plumbers.

If one charges a fee including barter, either directly or indirectly through the GC on the job for performing an act of Plumbing they are required to have a license or have the job overseen by a licensed plumber.

As the homeowner you have the right to insist on seeing the plumbers credentials before any work is commenced.

If they try to slip in another wannabe plumber they are guilty of "contracting without a license".

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 3:30PM
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asolo

Assuming your GC has seen that installation or your photograph of it I would anticipate no difficulty with your re-do. I would anticipate difficulty of further employment for whoever did it. Can't believe other than that GC will be as appalled as all here were.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 3:46PM
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brickeyee

"Maintenance is the act of replacing or repairing an existing system providing you maintain the exact same configuration, and anyone can perform maintenance. "

Subject to any local rules that are in effect.

At least one jurisdiction I am familiar with requires a permit for ANYTHING expect replacing a faucet washer.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 4:17PM
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mratner

@lazypup
Thanks - does changing from a single sink to a double sink qualify as "reconfiguring an existing system"? And the law that you are referring to, is that State or Federal? I am in NJ, by the way.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 4:29PM
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weedmeister

1.yes.
2. I'll let them explain.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 5:06PM
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brickeyee

Ask you AHJ if a permit is required, especially in NJ.

NJ has a nasty habit of revoking COs at sale, and then re-inspecting to issue a new one (at least in some parts of the state).

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 10:19AM
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mratner

@brickeyee
What are AHJ and COs ?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 11:53AM
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live_wire_oak

Authority Having Jurisdiction. Your local codes and permits office. The ones you file the permits with to change out your plumbing.

Certificate of Occupancy. The certification that the dwelling complies with the codes and is fit for habitation. You cannot legally live in a home without a CO.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 1:31PM
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