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Old 04-24-2013, 08:17 PM   #1
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I have a segment of a snake that broke off in my cleanout in the basement. It only went down about 4-5 feet before it hit clay, gripped, twisted and snapped. I now have to remove a portion of concrete around the drain, excavate the dirt in a 3'x3' area and get to the trap/elbow which I suspect is broken. My question is, the top of the cleanout drain is 6 inches from the edge of the block wall. How close to the edge of the wall can I safely remove concrete? Do I have to worry about footings, foundation, etc... This is my first post here in this forum. I've attached a photo but not sure if that will appear.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:30 PM   #2
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Don't bust anything yet- there's some tricks to getting the cable out.
What have you tried?

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Old 04-24-2013, 08:33 PM   #3
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Brut force, I did rig something onto the cable and tried using a hydraulic floor jack (for a car) to pull it out but no avail.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:45 PM   #4
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Something like this- it's easier to say "stand back and watch and learn" than to explain-
Sometimes pushing/jamming and twisting in reverse works, and a jug of dish soap down the pipe helps.
I've even seen the cable removed using a second cable.
I resorted to a come-along once.
Worse case is to find a small- old timer shop- a guy that knows drain cleaning and pay him to pop it free. It'll save your floor. I've worked on them for hours and only walked away from one.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:53 PM   #5
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Thanks E, getting the snake out is a priority but I still have the issue of clay at the base of the cleanout. A plumbing chain came out and told me they thought the pipe was busted right near the bottom of the trap and they'd need to escavate. $4000. 2 guys 8 hours. I did the math thats $250 an hour per man. Seemed steep. The basement toilet has been burping when the upstairs is flushed and we r seeing some back up in the basement floor drain. Wouldnt I still have to dig to fix the problem? This all completely new to me. My thought was I could do the grunt work and then have the plumber do what hes good at like doing the repair. What do you think? I feel like Im flying without radar :-).
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:08 PM   #6
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I didn't realize there is a trap there- must be a house trap.
did they camera the line or is the pipe under water?
You're right though, the franchises are more expensive.
I still recommend a smaller shop. Have him look it over, work a labor trade with him. No reason you can't pull the concrete for him.
Around my town, most of the clay is outside the foundation line so think accordingly.
But you should be able to dig next to or under the wall with little or no concern.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:17 PM   #7
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No they didnt camera it and there is water in the pipe. The guy suspected that because the house was built in the fifties it likely had a trap. Thanks for the heads up on the clay, makes sense. I am going to have a smaller plumber company come look too, a friend of a friend. Thanks so much E for your help and insight.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by creez1 View Post
No they didnt camera it and there is water in the pipe. The guy suspected that because the house was built in the fifties it likely had a trap. Thanks for the heads up on the clay, makes sense. I am going to have a smaller plumber company come look too, a friend of a friend. Thanks so much E for your help and insight.
You're more than welcome.
There are a couple other plumbers that drop in regularly. They may add to my comments - good guys too
As long as you're in service, take it slow and easy on your decision
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:00 PM   #9
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What type of cutter did you have on the end of the snake ? depending on how far you went and what happened to the cable is weather you get it back, we get stuck cable calls all the time sometimes we get them back other we need to dig, 4 k sounds a little steep. must have been roto rooter, get back to me on that cutter, will try and help.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:12 PM   #10
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It was the round root cutter blade. I rented the snake from the tool rental place. The first entry with the snake didnt go far at all and when I pulled it up there was some clay on the end of the blade. Went in a second time and tried to go further. It snapped. I dont think we fed more than 5-6 feet (maybe less) and the bottom of the drain appears to be 3.5 ft down.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:26 PM   #11
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Ok if the cable exited the pipe and kinked and twisted back on its self its not coming back especially after pulling on it just makes the kink tighter, get a set of vice grips clamp it as close to the clean out as possible try truning it back and forth be care full not to put to many turns on the cable it can snap back and hurt you,do this with a light back pressure, will water run thru that pipe if you stick a hose in it, if it flow try and get running water through it while you are doing this. you'll need to be patient its taken me a couple of hours to work cables free. worst case rent a chipping hammer and start chipping not the end of the world here just a pain. good luck
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:35 PM   #12
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4k is steep. Open up your phone book. Look for a guy who does septic installation. Ask him how much. Where i live there cheaper for re-piping a yard then a plumber. Good luck on the cable.
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:14 PM   #13
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Thanks Javiles good tip and I will try. I don't think I can run water in the drain without it backing up. When you say say chipping hammer you mean start busting concrete?

Thanks 747, would have have never thought of that.

I really appreciate the advice and insight, I'm a computer guy by day and do a little DIY. You guys are lifesavers here.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:24 PM   #14
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Hey Javiles, you're a rock star. I took the vice grips and did what you said. It took about 5 minutes but the snake dislodged and came out. Thank you, thank you! Now I still have the drain issue but problem one solved. You are awesome!
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:56 PM   #15
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Glad to be able to help.

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