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Old 03-07-2014, 11:35 AM   #1
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


I am a homeowner and not a professional plumber but I want to ask a question here if I could. Two days ago a plumbing service who I have used for years sent one of their guys out to unclog 2 drains; one in my kitchen area and the other one is my washing machine drain in my utility room.

The guy went up on my roof the other day and started running a cable; a snake I think is what he called it; down the first vent pipe in an attempt to unclog my kitchen sink drain. I've had this done many times in the past and there is some noise which I can hear from inside the house while this is being done.

Two days ago the noise got louder and louder; switched from the normal grinding noise which I'm use to hearing to an almost very loud banging noise like what you might hear if you were at an auto body shop watching a guy beating on a car to get a dent out; the noise I have never heard before and I've had this done many times in the past.

The noise got louder and louder and while I was in the kitchen I noticed the panel at the bottom of my dishwasher begin to move and suddenly out pops the plumber's snake cable; it came from under my dishwasher out onto my kitchen floor about a foot.

I immediately went outside; told the guy to stop; told him his cable was in my kitchen; came under my dishwasher and was now on my kitchen floor. So he climbed down from my roof; came down and saw what had happened and said that's not good; I said you've got that right. So he asked me where the power box was so he could kill the power to my dishwasher and once he did he came back inside the house and proceeded to disconnect the dishwasher so he could pull it out from the cabinet.

Once he got the dishwasher out he and I both could clearly see where his cable had come through the sheetrock wall behind the dishwasher. The home that I live in was once my parent's home; it was built new in the 60's and that vent pipe has to be original because it's never; none of the others included have ever had to be replaced.

What do you pro plumbers think happened? What could have been causing the very loud banging noise that sounded like someone was taking a sledge hammer to a car and beating the crap out of one of it's fenders? The plumber plans to come back out here later today to fix this mess; he told me 2 days ago it would take about 3 hours to complete.

Should the plumbing company be held financially responsible for the damage their guy cased or will they claim that the vent pipe in the house was old and deteriorated which is why the cable went where it wasn't supposed to go; through my wall; under my dishwasher and exiting under the dishwasher out onto my the kitchen floor? I hope I'll be able to use my dishwasher again.

What can I expect this guy to do to fix this once he returns to fix it? He mentioned something about running a new 1.5" PVC pipe down the vent from the roof. Will that fix the problem? I had 3 other vent pipes I was going to have him run his snake down but after this incident I told him not to do it.



Stevoreno29
Biloxi, Mississippi



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Old 03-07-2014, 12:16 PM   #2
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


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will they claim that the vent pipe in the house was old and deteriorated which is why the cable went where it wasn't supposed to go; through my wall; under my dishwasher and exiting under the dishwasher out onto my the kitchen floor?
Can you see if there was deterioration or are you guessing? Can you provide some photos?

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Old 03-07-2014, 01:05 PM   #3
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


My opinion, which is worth twice what you are paying for it, is that if a drain/vent pipe can be busted/punctured with a drain snake, then that pipe is in poor enough condition that it needs to be replaced.
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Old 03-07-2014, 01:15 PM   #4
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


the plumber is not responsible for damage the cable does- or shouldn't be.

Sounds like he'll open the wall, replace piping from floor to roof.

Should also replace the underfloor line to the stack- I assume it's galvanized pipe
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:59 PM   #5
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


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the plumber is not responsible for damage the cable does- or shouldn't be.

Sounds like he'll open the wall, replace piping from floor to roof.

Should also replace the underfloor line to the stack- I assume it's galvanized pipe
I don't know what kind of pipe it is but he showed me the pipe in the wall and it was probably whatever was installed when this house was built back in 1962. The guy just called and told me he'd couldn't come out today to fix the problem; it would be next Monday which is ok because my cousin who's a licensed electrician plans to come out tomorrow and change out the electrical receptacle in the wall where the dishwasher was plugged in. The one in the wall right now looks gross and probably is the original one when this house was built in 1962.

The plumber did complain about the way the dishwasher had been installed; it took him about 30 minutes to disconnect the dishwasher from it's electric connections and water line and during that time he was griping about the poor job that was done installing it. I told him the dishwasher was purchased by my parents from Sears in 1996 and one of their installers installed it and since 1996 my parents never had any problems with it nor have I.

This same guy was out here in 2010 to install a new NG water heater and while he was here in 2010 he ran his snake down all the vent pipes in the house and had no problems. As far as what kind of material the vent pipe is made out of; I have no clue but he did tell me yesterday he would replace my old vent pipe with a new 1.5" pvc pipe which I would assume would run from the roof down to the pipe in my home's wall.

About that snake coming down my vent pipe is it possible it hit a bad part of the vent pipe as it was coming down which caused the snake to go right through it; exiting the vent pipe and then entering and exiting my wall? What would have caused that very loud banging noise like someone in a body shop was banging on a car fender to get a dent out? It was very loud; never had experienced anything like it here before in all of my years I've been living here in this house since 1962.

The house has 2 other vent pipes; one over each bathroom; could those vent pipes also be in bad shape? How often are the vent pipes replaced? Ever or never? I spoke to 2 relatives last night whose homes are about 20 years old and they both told me they have never had a plumber run anything down their home's vent pipes. They asked me if I was pouring Crisco down the kitchen drain; I told them no I was not.

Now I'm reluctant to have the other vent pipes serviced; don't want to cause anymore problems. This house was connected to our city's sewer back in 1981 and that sewer line which is a 4" schedule 40 pvc line has never been serviced. My parents were told never to have it serviced unless sewage started backing up in all the drains in the house. To date that has not happened. Could the plumber had run his snake cable through the 4" sewer line to unclog the kitchen drain instead of going down the vent pipe which he did yesterday which caused the other problem?

OT: If the washing machine trap which is pvc pipe starts to back up again should I be pouring bleach down that trap once a month or leave that alone and call a plumber when it starts backing up again? I'm the only one here in the house so I don't overwork the home's plumbing that much. I was concerned back in January 2014 when the outside temperature dropped to 14F one night and it didn't get above 32F for 3 days which is very cold for this area; my washer; dryer and NG water heater are all in my utility room which is connected to the house but has to entered from outside and there is no heat or AC out there. I guess the developer of my home's subdivision didn't consider it to be important to have heat and AC installed out in the utility room back in 1962 otherwise he'd have done it I would think.



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Biloxi, Mississippi



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Old 03-07-2014, 03:03 PM   #6
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


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Can you see if there was deterioration or are you guessing? Can you provide some photos?
Sorry but I cannot provide photos but when the old pipe is removed I'll be curious to see just how bad that vent pipe was. As far as the pipe deteriorating I don't know nor am I guessing; the plumber told me yesterday that's probably the reason since this house is over 50 years old.



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Old 03-07-2014, 03:09 PM   #7
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


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My opinion, which is worth twice what you are paying for it, is that if a drain/vent pipe can be busted/punctured with a drain snake, then that pipe is in poor enough condition that it needs to be replaced.
Well considering the age of this house would you recommend replacing all the other vent pipes in the house with pvc like the plumber plans to do next Monday when he comes back out to replace the old vent pipe going to the kitchen drain with a new 1.5" pvc pipe?
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:48 PM   #8
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


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the plumber is not responsible for damage the cable does- or shouldn't be.

Sounds like he'll open the wall, replace piping from floor to roof.

Should also replace the underfloor line to the stack- I assume it's galvanized pipe
The plumber did say he would have to cut a bigger hole in the wall behind the dishwasher which is sheetrock; I asked him if he would be installing new sheetrock; he said no; he was a plumber but he would install a "plate" that would cover the hole.

Should I be concerned at this point about possible damage to the old drain pipe in the wall; pipes installed back in 1962? In layman's terms how do these vent pipes work? Are they connected to the pipes in the wall in a way where a snake cable coming down from the roof would travel down the vent pipe and when it reaches the pipe in the wall the snake should be able to enter the pipe in the wall?

Like I said earlier this is the first time I've ever had to deal with this kind of a problem. My aunt who lives in a nice gated community in Houston just called to see how things were going and she told me no plumbers who service homes in her neighborhood ever run cables down those pipes on the roof; they run their cables or snakes from the inside of the house.

I then asked her if she's ever had a problem with her washing machine trap line and what do plumbers do there; she's never had any problems and she didn't know what plumbers out there do. What did you mean when you said the plumber should also "replace the underfloor line to the stack"?



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Old 03-07-2014, 04:08 PM   #9
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


plumber is not responsible..... but in 40 yrs here in pa ...rarely if ever do you run a electric snake down a vent....when a drain clogs... kit, bath, main, always able to open them up from clean outs some where in the system..ben sr
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:10 PM   #10
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


A kitchen vent is usually a continuation of the drain line. The sink drain ties into the line via a tee. Bottom of the t is drain, top of t is vent. Side of the t is the sink.
He went to the roof probably because it is a straight shot down to the drain line.
Your problem is not the vents but the drain lines below them- vents such as your kitchen are dry, no sewage. I suspect either the tee is broken or or the drain below it.
Google kitchen vent images too get an idea of what you have. I'd show you but I'm replying from my phone and not smart enough to do more then text
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:13 PM   #11
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BTW- that slapping noise was his cable rotating and smacking wall and DW until it came out on the floor
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:43 PM   #12
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BTW- that slapping noise was his cable rotating and smacking wall and DW until it came out on the floor
So it's possible that when all is put back together I might not be able to use my DW anymore? I'd hate that because it's been a good one. About these vent pipes; should they be replaced on a 50+ year old home or clean drains using other means? This incident has made me re-think about allowing a plumber to snake a vent pipe.



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Old 03-07-2014, 04:52 PM   #13
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plumber is not responsible..... but in 40 yrs here in pa ...rarely if ever do you run a electric snake down a vent....when a drain clogs... kit, bath, main, always able to open them up from clean outs some where in the system..ben sr
What do you do up there in PA to unstop a washing machine trap line? Run a cable down the washing machine trap? Just curious because when that happens down here the plumber has always carried his electric machine to the roof and ran his snake down the vent pipe but I'm open to suggestions and btw what can I do for preventitive maintenance on my end? Pour bleach down every drain each month? Use something stronger than bleach? I messed up some good metal pipes back in the 70's using red crystal Drano; it ate a hole right through those metal pipes under my kitchen sink which have all been replaced since then with PVC.



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Old 03-07-2014, 05:01 PM   #14
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Plumber came to the house to snake out a drain


Stevoreno, I was a self employed service plumber for 3 years. One of the last things I would ever want to hear is "This guy on the internet says you are doing it wrong!" If you trust this plumber, trust him. If not, get a few other estimates.
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:27 PM   #15
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Stevoreno, I was a self employed service plumber for 3 years. One of the last things I would ever want to hear is "This guy on the internet says you are doing it wrong!" If you trust this plumber, trust him. If not, get a few other estimates.
Get a few other estimates? My problem is happening now; I only wish I knew yesterday what I know today about running a snake down a vent pipe; something we have had done here for years. This guy who came out yesterday has caused this damage and he'll be the one to fix it. So you were a plumber for 3 years?



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