I finally had to admit defeat and call a plumber. After thinking I had fixed the garbage disposal clog on Christmas Eve eve, the drain for the washing machine clogged up last night. Apparently they both run together, because when I ran water in the kitchen sink, it backed up into the basement sink that drains into the same drain as the washing machine.
We were just sitting there wondering what to do Monday night... I had just put a load of whites in the washer, and I thought I heard water splattering on the floor in the laundry room. I'm surprised I heard it, because I can't hear much of anything right now. Fortunately I had my left ear in that direction. Anyway, I walked in and the drain that the washing machine drain hose goes into had water spewing out of it. So I shut the washer off, and then looked in the sink that sits next to the washing machine (which we never use)... and it was full of water from the washing machine. So first I tried putting some baking powder and vinegar down the drain that the washer drains into. It didn't do much. Then I poured some liquid plumber-type stuff down it... again trying to plunge water out of the sink. I had minimal luck, but was out of liquid plumber. So we went to Walmart and got more drain cleaner stuff, and a 25' "snake" (I couldn't find the one I used to have). I ran the snake down a ways and pulled out some stuff that I couldn't tell if it was potato peels or mushy tree roots. So I kept working at it. I was finally able to run all 25' down. But still, when you ran water in the kitchen sink, it would eventually start to back up into the sink in the basement (as well as the drain for the washing machine). So we did some more drain cleaner, and plunging, and snaking. Finally we had to go back and get another bottle of drain opener, and I just poured it in and we decided to leave it overnight. Well, this morning when I ran water in the kitchen sink, it still came back up into the basement sink, but it looked pretty much like chopped up potato peel and onion and "food stuff." I messed with it for awhile, but finally admitted I was beaten and called a plumber.
I looked through the yellow pages (because I don't know any plumbers), and tried to find someone local, but also big enough to be able to do whatever needed doing. I ended up calling Korte. I recognized the name, and seem to see their trucks all over. However, when I looked them up online, none of their phone numbers matched the one I called from the yellow pages. At any rate, they said they could be there between noon and 3 pm, and that was good enough for me (I called at 7:55 am).
So... they called at 11:45 and I met them at our house at noon. They knew right away that it was potato peels and onions and such. At first they looked at the cleanout on the drain line that comes down from the kitchen sink. They thought they better leave that alone unless it was absolutely necessary (it is copper pipe into cast into the floor). Instead they brought in their heavy duty giant snake... and ran it down from the trap under the kitchen sink. It was actually getting stuck going straight down to the basement floor - before it even got to the washing machine drain. So the other guy inserted a pressure hose into the washing machine drain, and while he ran water through there, the guy upstairs continued working. Pretty soon, vwalla... we had water running through the drains again.
They cleaned up and by the time they came back in with the bill it was only 12:45. I thought $164 was a little steep, but didn't say anything. They said that was their standard rate for unclogging a kitchen drain. It was way better than having to dig up the yard, I know that!
The one guy thought that our drains ran down from the sink, straight over to the washing machine, with a trap after the washing machine, then over to the main drain pipe that the toilets and showers run into which sits in the middle of the basement floor. But he wasn't sure.
So, that's that.