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Old 01-08-2009, 12:56 PM   #1
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Main Line Replacement


Hey guys,

This past Friday (2nd of Jan) we had a plumbing issue. I had gone into the crawlspace to get our boxes from Christmas so we could put our stuff away and in one of the "rooms" down there there were about 3 inches of water (which is fine, as the flooring of our crawlspace is just dirt). One of the pipes had come disconnected from the connection to the main sewer line. (This is not our only problem...keep reading, LOL). I put it back together with duct tape thinking that would solve our problem, but it didn't. We had four inches of sewage back up into our bathtub about 2 hours later. I called RotoRooter and they sent a guy out 8 hours later (at this time we couldn't go to the bathroom or use any water as it would immediately drain into our basement).

Well after he unclogs it and gets whatever free, he tells me that our main line is collapsing, and how much time before it actually collapses is not known. We can't afford to fix it (even ourselves) at this exact moment, so I say okay...I wanted an estimate on how much it would cost to fix so I had them come back out the next day. The guy said he couldn't do anything unless he could send a camera down there and I couldn't afford that either, so I was like whatever. The first guy said it was within the first 20 feet of the house, right underneath our back deck. He said the deck would need to be removed. We also have a 6 foot wooden privacy fence around the property that would also need portions removed in order to get the backhoe/bulldozer in to dig the yard up. He told me just for permits and the equipment would be $2500 alone. OMG. The total project could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000.

I needed something more concrete in the amount of an estimate, so I called one of our local plumbing guys. He came out and looked at the stuff in the backyard, and what not, and said that the pipe doesn't run fully under our deck, just the stairs, but he would put those back after the project was completed, and if the pipe did turn and run under the deck that he would just reroute it. He said for like 60 feet of pipe to be installed, and everything (would even put up the fence when finished) it would cost me approx $1,500. Way better then the RotoRooter guys were saying.

So I'm just holding my breath at this point and not using too much water or the toilet or showers until we can get this fixed (when we get our tax refund in a few weeks).

DIY is not an option as I'm only 5'2 and 100 lbs and my husband has major problems with his back and is not supposed to lift anything. He is due to have surgery on it in the upcoming weeks as well.

Why would one company quote me so expensively, and yet another company decently? I mean, I am prepared to spend $3,000 on the replacement, but nothing more then that.

Thanks for reading.

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Old 01-08-2009, 01:07 PM   #2
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Main Line Replacement


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Originally Posted by dreamsgoneawry View Post
Hey guys,

Why would one company quote me so expensively, and yet another company decently? I mean, I am prepared to spend $3,000 on the replacement, but nothing more then that.

Thanks for reading.
Because some people are scumbags.

Good luck with your project.

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Old 01-08-2009, 01:28 PM   #3
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Main Line Replacement


Two estimates is not enough to get an idea of what a project will actually cost, especially one with so many hidden factors. Keep getting estimates. I know it's a PITA. Ask lots of questions, make them submit something to you in writing.

Any contractor should provide you with their CCB# or Plumbers license AND ask about their insurance (don't just ask if they have it - but what their coverage is/who covers them/etc - you should even ask for their cert of insurance). Lots of people use moonlighters, under-the-table, or a FOAF - but if you are dealing with hook-ups to a public utility you really want to make sure that you are sufficiently covered in case something goes wrong.

I'm sitting on the same exact problem - nothing sucks worse than cleaning up raw sewage . Take your time and make sure the job gets done right. Good luck
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:08 PM   #4
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Main Line Replacement


Roto rooter is last company I would want replacing my pipes. They are good for an emergency because they will come at any hour. For something that can be scheduled you should use anyone else.
You don't necessarily need a plumber. There are small backhoe operators who do this all the time as well, including permits and inspections.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:49 PM   #5
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Main Line Replacement


why can't they snake the entire line from the cleanout within the house,or were you ducted taped it at first.who is this R/R guy Nostradomius 'the line is collapsing" are you running PVC there and going out thru the foundation?if you had company for the holidays those extras on the sewer line might of caused the blockage down the line....step back and think about this and don't let anybody scare you into a big repair
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:00 AM   #6
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Main Line Replacement


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Roto rooter is last company I would want replacing my pipes. They are good for an emergency because they will come at any hour. For something that can be scheduled you should use anyone else.
I second that! RR is quite expensive.

I just had the 90-foot main line for my house replaced. It was still the original 1950's era clay pipe. Cost me right at $2,000.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:02 AM   #7
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Roto rooter is last company I would want replacing my pipes. They are good for an emergency because they will come at any hour. For something that can be scheduled you should use anyone else.
I second that! RR is quite expensive.

I just had the 90-foot main line for my house replaced. It was still the original 1950's era clay pipe. Cost me right at $2,000. Where the house is (Maryland's Eastern Shore) a licensed plumber was required.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:53 AM   #8
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Main Line Replacement


yeah im pondering how they would know your sewer is colapsing with out 1. digging an area up and checking. or 2. using a camera to scope the line. I have a plumbing company myself and own a camera and usually never charge more than $150 to come out and inspect all drains, rr are bandits, try finding a smaller company with a camera and with the economy the way it is you might get a deal.
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by zosoplumber View Post
yeah im pondering how they would know your sewer is colapsing with out 1. digging an area up and checking. or 2. using a camera to scope the line. I have a plumbing company myself and own a camera and usually never charge more than $150 to come out and inspect all drains, rr are bandits, try finding a smaller company with a camera and with the economy the way it is you might get a deal.
It's not that hard. If you pull the snake out and it has mud on it, it is a pretty good assumption that the line is collapsing.

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