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Master Brian 03-08-2012 05:15 PM

Main Line Clog
 
I live in an old house and 90% of my main sewer line has been replaced with PVC, but about a 15' length from the sewer main towards my house, is still clay tile from around 1915.

My line ended up backing up today, and I have one of those drain bladders so I sent it down the cleanout, where the line goes from PVC to tile. I did this several hours ago and sent all the hose I had down the line....figure it was close to the termination point where my line enters the cities line and all seemed well. My wife has been doing laundry, so I went back to check after a few hours and saw water building up again.

I then hooked up another garden hose and repeated, I ened up actually pulling out a large root ball. Not sure it should have been enough to clog a 4" line, but figure it was a start. There were several points along the way, where the line stopped pushing in or got tough, so that's where I turned on the bladder.

My question is, since adding the 2nd hose, I got to the point where the hose wouldn't go any further, is that normal or should the bladder actually be able to enter the city line? I wonder if I've hit a large blockage or the end of the line and the bladder just won't go any further.

Any ideas??? The house was built 1915, if that helps.

TheEplumber 03-08-2012 05:34 PM

i've never put a bladder down a main as you described. But I suspect you have roots at the clay joints- every 3'. and/or joint separations. I can see how a bag would hang up. We always use a main line cable machine when clearing lines such as yours

jaydevries 03-08-2012 05:38 PM

key word root ball
this means the roots are growing in the clay pipes as they grow not only do they fill more of the pipe but they start cracking the pipe allowing more roots in and possibly other things "dirt and rocks" you can start by getting a large snake machine with a root cutter and run it through till it goes into main line in street this will get you going temporarily until more roots grow or it could crack clay pipe more and fill up with other debris best thing replace all pipe to street with new

Master Brian 03-08-2012 06:07 PM

I'm sure I'll end up getting a machine, but I had this thing, so figured I'd give it a shot. It has gotten the water moving for now....

I will replace the rest of the pipe in the future, but at the time I replaced the rest, there is/was a small deck and childrens playground over that area, so it is on hold until the kids are done playing in the back yard or it becomes a "must do".

Are the chemical root killers worth the $$?

TheEplumber 03-08-2012 06:16 PM

I'm not a big fan of chemicals- mainly because, if they work, they take money out of my pocket :laughing:
Consider having a plumber water jet those roots out and then camera the line. It will cost a little but it will probably buy you some time.
roots are like a spider web- they catch paper and what not. so your bag is probably just removing the soft plug and not getting to "root" of the problem.

Master Brian 03-09-2012 11:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheEplumber (Post 873637)
I'm not a big fan of chemicals- mainly because, if they work, they take money out of my pocket :laughing:
Consider having a plumber water jet those roots out and then camera the line. It will cost a little but it will probably buy you some time.
roots are like a spider web- they catch paper and what not. so your bag is probably just removing the soft plug and not getting to "root" of the problem.

I'm sure you are 100% correct about the bladder just giving me a temporary fix. Problem is it's about $700 to have a camera put down and cleaned. At least those are the prices I've received in the past. For that, I'd rather tear up this playground stuff and just finish the PVC to the alley/city main and be completely done with it.

The above is actually why I have the PVC in place at this stage....spent $400 shortly after moving in, then about 90 days later it plugged again and the original, big name, plumber said I was just out of warranty and needed to pay full price, but they'd give me a bit of discount. That's how I came upon the bladder and it got me by that time, until I got it dug up and replaced.

The crappy, pun intended, part is just 2 weeks ago my neighbor had his nephew in town to snake his entire line. Wish I would have had forsight to have him snake this section of line at the same time. He's a plumber from about 2hrs away....and would have only cost me a couple of beers!

Javiles 03-09-2012 08:08 PM

If I drive for two hours to do my uncle a favor, and his neighbor ask me to snake his line for a couple beers guess what’s not happening. That’s why I don’t work for friend’s family or neighbors, because when they tell you I rather give you the business. What that really means is you’re not going to charge your good friend are you? I just refer them to Roto Rooter you get a free jar of Vaseline with every job they do.:eek:

Master Brian 03-10-2012 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Javiles (Post 874377)
If I drive for two hours to do my uncle a favor, and his neighbor ask me to snake his line for a couple beers guess whatís not happening. Thatís why I donít work for friendís family or neighbors, because when they tell you I rather give you the business. What that really means is youíre not going to charge your good friend are you? I just refer them to Roto Rooter you get a free jar of Vaseline with every job they do.:eek:

Understand your point but he would have been more than happy to do it and probably would have walked with some cash in pocket as well. In fact that very same day, we discussed swapping some labor on another plumbing issue....

drain surgeon 03-11-2012 08:50 AM

A word of advice. If you choose to rent a drain machine and do this yourself you may end up breaking through the pipe and getting the cable hung up or if you manage to get through the the city main and keep feeding cable you may get your cable all twisted up in the city main. Do yourself a big favor and just hire a plumber to replace the entire line from house to street.

readar 03-11-2012 10:54 AM

Hold on, there are tons and tons of houses out there with clay tile drains and most of them I'm sure have roots in them and I think that generally most of them just need to be snaked out with a cable every so often. I rented a one of these and a camera at my local rental store for a $150 last summer for the day. Unless you've got a particularly bad drain, I'm sure it just needs to be snaked out to get the roots out of there.

Master Brian 03-12-2012 12:47 PM

Well, knock on wood!, the line has been clear for two days now.

surgeon, I'll eventually replace that line, but trying to wait until the kids are old enough to not need their play area as a small wood deck and playhouse are directly over this spot. Otherwise, it would have been done two years ago when I replaced the rest! I also don't see breaking through the clay tile, the stuff that was pulled up when the rest was replaced, was in excellent condition and very thick, except for roots starting to penetrate the joints in a few areas.

pipeninja 03-19-2012 02:57 PM

Problem with renting a snake is that the ones you can rent or buy from a lowes or home depot are garbage. They will not cut through the roots. You need a nice Ridgid snake or something comparable. Our snake will cut through just about anything, but roots are by far the hardest thing to get through(except collapsed pipe). And, obviously snaking and cutting out the roots is only temporary. There's a video on our youtube channel of us pulling a 6 foot long solid root ball out of a 4 inch pipe, prolly weighed 25 pounds. Check it out on our site.-->Rochester Excavating<--
I would just dig up the rest of the pipe and replace it. Have some buddies over and have a dig party :thumbup:

plummen 03-19-2012 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Master Brian (Post 876041)
Well, knock on wood!, the line has been clear for two days now.

surgeon, I'll eventually replace that line, but trying to wait until the kids are old enough to not need their play area as a small wood deck and playhouse are directly over this spot. Otherwise, it would have been done two years ago when I replaced the rest! I also don't see breaking through the clay tile, the stuff that was pulled up when the rest was replaced, was in excellent condition and very thick, except for roots starting to penetrate the joints in a few areas.

If you go shoving a snake down that line and get it wrapped up in those roots you could definately end up snapping a cable off in there ,getting it stuck out in the cities main if youre not carefull :)

Master Brian 03-20-2012 01:23 PM

Well, it ended up backing up, so last Friday, I ended up going down and renting a machine and snaked that line. I actually question if some of the issue isn't with the city main. From what I can tell, judging from where the man hole covers are on both ends of alley, I had to be at least a good 5' into that main when I finally stopped pulling out roots.

I pulled out several balls of roots by the time I hit where my fence is located, main should be less than 5' from edge of my fence, but I hit a major blockage several feet into the alley. After about 5 times of pulling the cable and re-inserting it, the blockage finally broke free. I then went about another 5' and came out clean. Then re-ran the entire line twice and on the 1st time pulled out a bunch more roots after going an additional 5' or so. I figure that additional 5' had to be into the city main, as it would have put me clear on the other side of the alley. Maybe it was just what broke free earlier.

My guess is a very large tree on other side of alley, is where most of the roots are coming from. My question is, is it likely that the city main could have an issue? I have no idea what their line looks like, but they actually have been in the area lately.

I think my next plan is to treat the existing line with some root killer, to try to buy some time until I can get the last 15' of line replaced and might even dig down and insert one last cleanout near the fence. Maybe then I can look through the pipe easily and know what I'm actually up against.

What I did find as strange, was never pulled anything out except roots, no T.P. or anything and my wife even demanded an appology after I may have insinuated femanine products were probably to blame!! :whistling2: I figured with the roots I pulled out, there would be T.P. causing the blockage on the roots.....

Master Brian 03-20-2012 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pipeninja (Post 880824)
Problem with renting a snake is that the ones you can rent or buy from a lowes or home depot are garbage. They will not cut through the roots. You need a nice Ridgid snake or something comparable. Our snake will cut through just about anything, but roots are by far the hardest thing to get through(except collapsed pipe). And, obviously snaking and cutting out the roots is only temporary. There's a video on our youtube channel of us pulling a 6 foot long solid root ball out of a 4 inch pipe, prolly weighed 25 pounds. Check it out on our site.-->Rochester Excavating<--
I would just dig up the rest of the pipe and replace it. Have some buddies over and have a dig party :thumbup:

Not sure of the brand I ended up getting, but it was from a local rental shop. The cutter was smaller than what I would have liked, but it seems to have done the job for now. I rented one, from H.D. about 5yrs ago for my last house and it seemed like it had replaceable heads that went up to about 4", the one I rented had maybe a 3" head....and I contemplated sharping it a bit! The other thing that irked me was I had to hold the reverse switch while backing the line up. The rental guy told me upon return it was due to a law that passed recently!!

You are correct, a dig party will happen fairly soon, but I'm sure I'll be the only attending with a shovel. Luckily it isn't bad digging as the line isn't too far down, 4'-5' max. The problem will be the deck above it and the playhouse for the kids. The alley side is my other main concern and I wonder what the city will require if I have to dig up the alley to tap into the main.

Any idea what it generally costs to tie into a main and run about 15-20' of line if the trench is already dug? I'm sure I can call in some favors for a plumber, either from my neighbors nephew or a good friend who is a contractor, but I'd like to know what to expect to pay. Especially if the nephew is licensed to check off on it in my county.


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