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Old 08-22-2005, 01:04 PM   #1
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Replacing old clay tile sewer line


Hi! I'm new here today. So be kind, ok?

We're rebuilding my parents' old home. Built about 1880 originally. No basement, no crawlspace, only concrete block foundation. Clay tile sewer line from house to main in the street, connected in 1923. According to city inspector, line is about 8 feet down. ALL lines, water and gas have been replaced with brand new copper, flex line and new black pipe for the natural gas. ALL drains are brand new pvc pipe including tub, toilet and washer. Only old 'stuff' is the cast iron line leading out and under the house to the clay tile sewer line.

Although this IS a DIY project, due to lack of money and the desire to do it ourselves, we did have a certified master plumber help with all the drain lines (slope, size etc.) and vents. So we're confident that they're appropriate.

During past 6 weeks or so, we're fighting serious backup into tub and toilet. Can't flush, shower or do laundry or dishes, without serious backup that takes DAYS to drain. Basically can't put anything down any of the drains! Roto Rooter was here for 2+ hours and couldn't 'break through' somewhere down the line, they said about 40 feet out. They got the snake caught so badly, that we thought they were going to pull our cleanout pipe right out of the wall. They didn't even TRY putting their 'knife' on the end of the snake. After the bare end got caught, they didn't want to try putting the knife on for fear of really getting it 'stuck'. They're relatively confident that it's a crushed or otherwise broken line. Probably tree roots? We only have some small evergreen bushes out front that are even close to the line. The trees on the parking are only about 10 years old and relatively small. Although roots could be the culprit, I'm skeptical. I will say that after Roto Rooter left, the backup seemed worse immediately, and obviously hasn't gotten better!

Regardless, it appears that we're going to be digging the sewer line and replacing it. If anyone can give us some basic step by steps so that we'd have some idea what to do....any direction would be greatly appreciated.

Sign me....
Drained - NOT!

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Old 08-22-2005, 01:34 PM   #2
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Replacing old clay tile sewer line


Many plumbing firms could send a camera and locator down your line. This could verify the possibility of a collapsed line. Those evergreen bushes also can cause major havoc. Or there may have been roots from a tree taken down years ago getting in. Did anything show up on the end of the cutter when they finally got it out or was it clean? Anyway If the clay line has been there sine 1923 it may be in very poor condition else were as well. If a camera shows it good then a hole could be dug at the located bad spot the pipe repaired and another cleanout. If a camera shows a general poor line condition you may consider replacement of the whole line. My house was done in 1954. I have a questionable line that has so far been able to clear with rodding. In two cases they had to cut of the rodder in the line and it was up to me to get it out. (not even getting into how I got that done here but it was intense. Any way I hope I was of some help I would say camera and locator would be the best first step to evaluate it.

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Old 08-22-2005, 02:25 PM   #3
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Replacing old clay tile sewer line


Thanks for confirming what we've been told. It's always nice to 'hear' the same information from more than one person. And I suspected the evergreen bushes but wasn't sure, as they've really only been in place about 4 or 5 years.

Seems the plumbers around here want about $160 just to bring their camera out to take a peek. Oh well, it's only money!

Now, all we have to do is figure out where to find the money to get this done. I really don't want to have to keep a porta potty in the back yard all winter!
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Old 08-22-2005, 07:12 PM   #4
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Replacing old clay tile sewer line


Make really good friends with the neighbors:D
have them give you a key so you can use there bathroom
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