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Old 10-26-2011, 11:28 AM   #1
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sewer backup


hello,

we live in a 2-story house and our front lot has several trees. Recently, we had a problem in which sewer got backed up or blocked and the 1st floor toilet was flooding each time anyone used any water supply/shower/kitchen, etc.

The plumbing co came out and used a snake to clean out the sewer pipe. They said roots from the nearby tree were blocking the pipe and suggested to have the front lawn dug up to cut the roots down.

Well, we called several tree companies and everyone is saying something different. Some are saying that tree roots couldn't possibly invade the pipes and that the drains inside the house need to be cleaned out. Others say the pipe may be at fault as roots should not get there. Also, everyone said that having roots cut down without bringing down the tree also was a bad idea. some suggested to remove the tree but they cannot guarantee the roots would be removed.

I've googled the issue and it's possible for roots to get into the sewer pipes.

Can someone recommend the best course of action? we are a bit confused by the different comments from every body.

THANKS
Thank you!

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Old 10-26-2011, 12:27 PM   #2
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Yes, it is possible. And common where I'm from. My folks house has the pipe cleaned every other year...the hedgerow/trees are gone, but the roots live on. Her house is over 100 years old and the section of pipe that the roots grow into is clay pipe. The sewer guy uses a special cutter on the snake to clean it out. He told them to be very careful of flushing anything besides waste and septic safe TP. It's been 3 years since the last clean-out.

Best of luck to you

Andy

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Old 10-26-2011, 01:03 PM   #3
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Well - there are a few ways to find out for sure: one is to use a cam on a snake - send it down the pipe and see what's on the screen. If it's roots: you'll see roots.

Could be other issues like a collapsed pipe that simply needs to be replaced - very common, happen all the time.

Other than a snake-cam the only other way they'll know or sure is to dig up your yard which is bucco bucks . . . but - you can dig it up yourself and see what the problem is. . . and maybe even fix it on your own. In my experience if I did all the digging the cost to have a pro do the pipework was TINY in comparison. . . saving me at least 1K - 2K in different situations.
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:44 PM   #4
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The video cam is a good idea. If it is a collapsed pipe, the yard will have to be dug up and the pipe replaced. If it is just roots, have them cut out by a rororooter type guy. Once the roots are cleared, they sell a product at Home Depot that you put down the toilet once a year and it kills the roots that have grown back. I believe it's copper sulfate.
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:16 PM   #5
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Thanks all.

Who do you mean by roto rooter type guy? Would that be a plumber?

So, when the plumbing co came out initially they used a snake and cut some roots off but no cam was used. If they were to come again with a cam this time and slide the snake down with it, would we be able to see the roots?

Also, someone said that the tree was cut off, but still roots kept growing so they have a company clean out the pipe every year. Which type of co do you hire for this purpose and how much do they charge?

If roots keep growing, then cutting down the tree is no good.

Isn't there some kind of thing they can attach to the pipe so trees can't block the pipe?

Please keep advising me! Thanks
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:38 PM   #6
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There are companies that do trenchless sewer lateral repairs. There are a few ways they can do the repair, but usually it includes augering through the roots in the old pipe and then relining the pipe with a resin or fiberglass type material. The new lining of the pipe will keep water from leaving the pipe, thus keeping roots from growing into the pipe.

I have no idea what this costs though. Just call a plumber that does trenchless repairs in your area and ask.
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:41 PM   #7
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The rotorooter type guy is a plumber that has spring loaded rotating blades on the end of the snake that rotate in the pipe and cut off all the roots. If you camera the pipe you will see exactly what is going on, an offset or collapsed pipe or roots or whatever. Roots will always find their way in to old clay pipe. On new PVC pipe the joints are tight and roots don't usually get in. For followup calls, get the rororooter guy. I thought the roots usually die if the tree is cut down.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corsica View Post
Can someone recommend the best course of action? we are a bit confused by the different comments from every body.
THANKS
Thank you!
We had the same problem. We cleaned out the pipes every 4 years as a maintenance issue.
These problems usually build up and if you pay attention to the warning signs, you can usually avoid any overflows. We had a laundry tub right next to the wall where the pipe exited the building. When the wash was on spin cycle any slow drians would slowly fill the tub. After 2, 4 year cycles, we just called in a drain cleaning guy to clear the waste pipe at 4 years.
They also have a substance you can put into the pipe to kill the tree roots, but I never used it.
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loftezy
There are companies that do trenchless sewer lateral repairs. There are a few ways they can do the repair, but usually it includes augering through the roots in the old pipe and then relining the pipe with a resin or fiberglass type material. The new lining of the pipe will keep water from leaving the pipe, thus keeping roots from growing into the pipe.

I have no idea what this costs though. Just call a plumber that does trenchless repairs in your area and ask.
Yep, I've seen this done 'in the neighborhood' a few times. Pretty cool method. As far as I know my folks never got an estimate for replacement/repair. But yeah, barring a collapsed/damaged pipe I'd cut the roots and try some of the root killing stuff. Might pick some up for my house too....dang hedges.
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:24 PM   #10
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This is one of those areas where knowlege and education is so important....otherwise, some contractors can really take you for a lot of money.

Some good advice above....in my neighborhood, we are starting to see some having to replace their main sewer line...clay pipe....it is either caved in from age or roots.

Don't guess....pay the $200 or so that most charge to send down a camera. If you find a good plumber...he/her will snake it and then send down a camera. A good plumber does not guess....he wants the facts....he is also the same guy that has repeat customers. If you lived in the LA area, I know at least 2 I could recommend.

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