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adowling 06-28-2011 01:38 AM

Clogged Sewer Line
 
Ok, I need some major advice! We bought a foreclosed home in March of this year. A week after moving in, my husband and father in law spent 6 hours snaking the sewer line and finally got it going again. 2 weeks ago we had the same issue arise, however it took 6 days and 150ft of snake to get through and get our toilet flushing, washer draining and sinks draining again. (The clean out pipe had actually overflowed into the yard and the neighbor ran over to tell us about it). Now, we having the issue again. We ran 2 loads of laundry today (not back to back) and the toilet started gurgling. My husband ran out and took the cap off of the clean out pipe and sure enough, there is standing water...AGAIN!!! We aren't sure now what to do. Does anyone know what this could be?! The house was built in 1920 and the clean out pipe is the old clay style so I am assuming the entire line is as well. We are starting to lean towards it being a busted pipe because if it was a tree root would it really clog back up like that? Any help or thoughts would be much appreciated and if you need more information I will provide you with any info I can! Thanks in advance!

Stephen S. 06-28-2011 01:46 AM

My advise is to hire a professional plumber to snake in a video camera to see what's going on inside.

adowling 06-28-2011 01:50 AM

That would be ideal, but considering there is standing water, we have been told by said professionals that they wont be able to see anything with the camera.:(

Stephen S. 06-28-2011 01:58 AM

Pump out water first or snake again till the standing water's gone ?

adowling 06-28-2011 04:19 AM

Another 6 days of snaking just to get a camera down there is going to be irritating! lol... Might be what we have to do but was hoping to get some ideas as to what else it could be. Tree roots (which I really doubt), broken pipe, extremely stubborn clog (which again, I really doubt). I would hate to spend 6 days snaking it again, 300 bucks on a camera and then another 4 or 5 days digging out the yard and repairing a pipe. Have I mentioned how much I HATE this stupid sewer line! lol

COLDIRON 06-28-2011 06:43 AM

Sounds like the clay pipe is broken and needs to be replaced. Snaking an old clay pipe will also break it especially at the joints.

adowling 06-28-2011 10:30 AM

Luckily, we didn't have any joints to snake except the one at the bottom of the clean out that has a 90 degree turn to the line that runs to the street. The house say empty for over 2 years before we bought it and at first we thought maybe it was a clog that was caused from the previous owner (because they also had a back up close to the time they were foreclosed on according to the neighbor) and we were just getting the backlash of it. After having to snake it 2 times in a matter of 3 months and it clogging for a 3rd time, you cant help but think it is a busted pipe. Aside from a camera (that we currently wont be able to get through there) is there any other signs of a busted line we should be looking for? I know when we snaked it last time it seemed like we really had to work at one specific area for a long time to break through. I just can't believe that if it was a tree root it would have clogged back up so quickly. It has only been 2 weeks TOPS.

LateralConcepts 06-28-2011 12:39 PM

adowling -

Since the home was built in 1920, you're most likely correct in assuming the entire line is made of clay pipe. The condition of the pipe and/or cause of the obstruction is merely speculation until you can get a camera down the line. It needs to be snaked until the water drops, then a camera can be sent down to determine the actual problem and location of the breaks, offset joints, root-intrusions, etc.

Clay pipe came in 3' sections with bell and spigot joints; so if you have a 150' run, you may have as many as 50 joints between the house and the street that may be offset, cracked, broken, and have root intrusions. Additionally, you may be getting inflow from groundwater based on the water table.

The cost of a camera will help you determine the most appropriate solution. And again, will enable you to locate the bad spot(s). It may be as simple as a spot repair. Likewise, it could be that an entire line replacement is necessary.

Depending on the location of the problem areas, and any obstructions that may be in the way, there are a number of ways to remedy the problem. i.e. conventional excavation, bursting, or lining. Depending on the depth and location, you may also be able to make a repair yourself to save some money.

adowling 06-28-2011 12:48 PM

Thanks for all that insight. We got up this morning and the line was clear... so we are assuming there is a least a small spot where water can leak through. Now we are going to money around to see if it clogs back up again and if it does, we will get it clear and run the camera. Here is to hoping!

COLDIRON 06-28-2011 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by adowling (Post 675777)
Luckily, we didn't have any joints to snake except the one at the bottom of the clean out that has a 90 degree turn to the line that runs to the street. The house say empty for over 2 years before we bought it and at first we thought maybe it was a clog that was caused from the previous owner (because they also had a back up close to the time they were foreclosed on according to the neighbor) and we were just getting the backlash of it. After having to snake it 2 times in a matter of 3 months and it clogging for a 3rd time, you cant help but think it is a busted pipe. Aside from a camera (that we currently wont be able to get through there) is there any other signs of a busted line we should be looking for? I know when we snaked it last time it seemed like we really had to work at one specific area for a long time to break through. I just can't believe that if it was a tree root it would have clogged back up so quickly. It has only been 2 weeks TOPS.


"Lots of Joints in a150 FT run"

LateralConcepts 06-28-2011 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by adowling (Post 675855)
Thanks for all that insight. We got up this morning and the line was clear... so we are assuming there is a least a small spot where water can leak through. Now we are going to money around to see if it clogs back up again and if it does, we will get it clear and run the camera. Here is to hoping!

If it took all night to drain, you're basically out of service right now. With any usage it will quickly back up again.

adowling 06-28-2011 01:11 PM

Well it wasnt clear full when we noticed it about 3 this morning. It just had standing water. When I checked it at about 10 this morning it was clear and had the kitchen sink running and I could see the water flowing through. Granted, the kitchen sink doesnt run at a high rate like say our washer does (which is also what starts the clog in the first place) so in a couple of hours we will run the sink until the hot water is no longer hot, let the water heater fill back up and then run a load of water through the washer to see if we can get it to clog.

coderguy 06-28-2011 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by adowling (Post 675865)
Well it wasnt clear full when we noticed it about 3 this morning. It just had standing water. When I checked it at about 10 this morning it was clear and had the kitchen sink running and I could see the water flowing through. Granted, the kitchen sink doesnt run at a high rate like say our washer does (which is also what starts the clog in the first place) so in a couple of hours we will run the sink until the hot water is no longer hot, let the water heater fill back up and then run a load of water through the washer to see if we can get it to clog.

This sounds like you are avoiding a known problem. Water has backed up on more than one occasion. You didn't want to camera it because it had standing water... the water went down... so camera it!

If you are worried about money; the cost of dealing with it only grows.

adowling 06-28-2011 01:31 PM

We aren't avoiding a known problem. We don't know what they problem is. We are trying to get to the problem starting with the cheapest route first. I am pretty sure that is how most people handle problems to begin with. No one goes out and buys a new car when all the old one needs is a new wiper blade, right? Geez. This house sat empty for 2 years. Our initial thought was maybe, just maybe, there is a crap ton of sediment sitting in the pipes and once we started flushing water through it started breaking off old crap that was caked onto the pipes. When we redid some plumbing inside the house there was a lot of mineral build up and that's what we were thinking was inside of the sewer line. We WANT to fix the problem but we are NOT going to go jumping head first into something expensive before we have exhausted all other options. Will we run a camera down there? Probably. Will we replace the sewer line? If we have to, then yes. Am I going to just fork over thousands of dollars to do so before we have tried everything else? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I came here looking for advice on things we could try or hoping maybe someone had a similar issue and could give some insight. I didn't come here to be told "Hey, stupid, get a camera down there".

coderguy 06-28-2011 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by adowling (Post 675881)
We aren't avoiding a known problem. We don't know what they problem is. We are trying to get to the problem starting with the cheapest route first. I am pretty sure that is how most people handle problems to begin with. No one goes out and buys a new car when all the old one needs is a new wiper blade, right? Geez. This house sat empty for 2 years. Our initial thought was maybe, just maybe, there is a crap ton of sediment sitting in the pipes and once we started flushing water through it started breaking off old crap that was caked onto the pipes. When we redid some plumbing inside the house there was a lot of mineral build up and that's what we were thinking was inside of the sewer line. We WANT to fix the problem but we are NOT going to go jumping head first into something expensive before we have exhausted all other options. Will we run a camera down there? Probably. Will we replace the sewer line? If we have to, then yes. Am I going to just fork over thousands of dollars to do so before we have tried everything else? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I came here looking for advice on things we could try or hoping maybe someone had a similar issue and could give some insight. I didn't come here to be told "Hey, stupid, get a camera down there".

Apologies; I wasn't trying to be rude. The house I purchased Jan/18 of this year had been empty for two years as well. All drains work fine.

We aren't talking thousands of dollars. I have an appointment to have mine checked with a camera for $150.00.


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