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Just Some Guy 07-24-2009 02:54 AM

Sewer Line Continues to clog.
I bought a house and have been living in it over a year now. The house was built in the early 1950s. I have never had a plumbing problem till most recently. The sewer line clogs every 4 or 5 days now. I have to open up the clean out in the basement and snake it. I then put my water hose down the line with a clog buster bladder on the end of it to blast away any blockage with high pressure water. After i do that everything seems to be in good working order for 4 or 5 days. Then it starts to back up again. I have an old and useless floor drain in my semi developed basement where the water backs out and floods my basement. This is quickly leading to the development of a mold issue in the future Im afraid but that is another issue all together.

The line runs under a concrete basement floor where the clog continues to occur. The water company has came out to be sure things are good on their end. I have city sewage (no septic tank). I am getting tired of snaking and clog busting every few days.. I fear the pipe has maybe broken down with old age and now clogs the line. I hope I am wrong because its so deep under concrete. I can barely pay bills right now.

Thanks for any advise. My plumbing experience goes as far as I've talked about above.

Just Some Guy 07-24-2009 03:33 AM

After reading a bit around the forum I am guessing my only deffinent answer will be to have a plumber run a camera through the line to visualize the blockage? The 2 scenarios I keep running into reading is either damaged line or build up of grease in the line. After some more thought this could be a grease build up in my line. It sorta makes sense because even though my line becomes clogged it will drain but at a slow pace. Perhaps there is only a 1/4" opening in the grease build up and gets clogged fastly as toilet paper and other debris attempts to fit through the opening. I have poured Drano down my line in the recent past but not sure that eats grease away. Is there another solvent for this or do i need to just keep scraping with the snake?

I really hope its grease. Well as we speak I am off to the basement to snake yet again.

Just Some Guy 07-24-2009 04:54 AM

Quick Update. I've just returned from the basement. Prior to starting this thread the water was starting to back out the drain again. I went down to the clean out and tried to snake it. Over and over I could not get any further than approx 10 feet past the clean out this time. Prior times I made it about 25 feet past the clean out. With failed attempts to snake I placed the clog buster on the water hose the 10 feet past the clean out. Then the sinks begin to gurgle as they do when when the line starts to or becomes clogged. I continued the clog buster until the sinks stopped gurgling. I then removed the clog buster and attempted to snake again. Again a failed attempt to make it anymore than 10 feet past the clean out. However, the water drained this time and did not back up in the floor drain. Most likely this will only last a day or two. I found it odd I made it no further than 10 feet this time compared to the previous 2 times of about 25. I need to get this mess off my shoulders soon. I did see traces of solidified kitchen grease at the clean out but very little in my opinion.

Just Bill 07-24-2009 06:12 AM

You either have a bad root problem, or the pipe has collapsed. Both will need digging to fix. In our area, 50's houses had clay pipe in 4'-6' lengths. 50 yrs is a long time for stuff to last.

Mike Swearingen 07-24-2009 01:30 PM

Bet Bill nailed it. Fully agree. Collapsing old line of sectional pipe like the old stuff mentioned or cast iron, etc. or roots or both. A snake will punch right through roots and will only provide temporary relief.
A collapsing line will allow stuff in (roots, soil, etc.) and also will dam up with grease, paper, etc. Again, snaking will not last.
A camera inspection will tell the tale. Bet that you have to dig it up and replace it. Sorry.
Good Luck!

Just Some Guy 07-24-2009 03:18 PM

I am looking to see how much a rental for the snake cam is to see if its cheaper to rent or to hire a plumber to bring his own. How in the world I am going to afford jackhammering up a basement floor and then having it replaced is beyond me.. Thanks guys.

plumber Jim 07-24-2009 08:38 PM

I would go with the roots. They will hang in the line and the toilet paper will get caught up on it then clog. You run the blow bag in there and the pressure gets the toilet paper loose from the roots and the water drains but you still have the roots to start collecting more paper. You need to run a machine in your drain from the cleanout to the city pipe in your street or alley with a cable about 3/4" thick with a 3"-4" cutter on the end. I would suggest you get a pro to do it so you don't get hurt.

Mike Swearingen 07-24-2009 09:45 PM

"Roto-rootering" out the roots should give you at least a year-and-a-helf or more until they grow back, but that's farbetter than clogging every few days. Replacing the drain is the best permanent answer, however.
Good luck!

Plumber101 07-24-2009 10:00 PM

I guess my question is what type of snake are you using? Hand or motor driven

If you are not using a motor drive at least 3/8 cable with a cutter you are not doing much to the build up of sludge or the roots (If it is roots)

My suggestion is to have a pro run the line. If you pull out roots then you have roots. If you pull out mud then you have a collapising line. But if you have roots when it is rodded then give it 2-3 month and buy some Root-X. It is a simple treatment that kills the roots

Heck I have several houses that have clay tile with roots and 3 yrs later with using Root-x I have yet to dig up a line to replace it.

If you get an experienced guy to rod the line you won't need to camera the line

Just Some Guy 07-24-2009 10:38 PM

Thanks for so much extended help on this issue to everyone. I am using a regular push snake 3/4" tape 50ft long with no cutting edge. It had guide wheels on it but I took them off for better maneuvering. I am having a pro come over next week and see whats going on. I think the camera is maybe a better move because I have a storm drain that connects to the line outside but it flows well. My point being fragment of leaves or outside material are possible to pull out of the line regardless so the camera would be good to see exactly all the locations needing attention. I finally came across a company that will give me a fair price. First people I talked to wanted $675 to drive a 30 min drive to my house and required a minimum of 2 and half hours. They send 2 guys and wanted me to pay each of them 75 dollars and hour plus their 30 min drive time to both of them. Then 150 an hour for minimum of two hours for the camera. The best possible price I would have got away with was $675.

Lets hope for roots. I'll keep this thread updated with the process as it happens.

DUDE! 07-25-2009 07:23 AM

Plumber101, could you be more specific on the "root-x", my sister has the same problem, from roots, had the tree cut down, now the neighbors tree's roots enter their pipe. Tryed googling root-x but didn't come up with the product,,,,,, thanks in advance

MACPLUMB 07-25-2009 10:48 AM

Root x for main drain roots

Mike Swearingen 07-26-2009 08:58 AM

I've just been flushing down a couple of cups of copper sulphate three times a year on my septic system for 32 years with no root problems, but that Root-X looks like it is much better.

MACPLUMB 07-26-2009 01:18 PM

Main line cogged

Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen (Post 306874)
I've just been flushing down a couple of cups of copper sulphate three times a year on my septic system for 32 years with no root problems, but that Root-X looks like it is much better.




Just Some Guy 08-04-2009 04:49 AM

Hey Guys.. Turns out everyone wanted to charge entirely above my budget to come in and run a camera through my line. It was cheaper for me to buy my own camera. I bought a cheaper one that was black and white screen but I was quite happy with it. It showed up at my front door today and I gave it a go and ran the camera about 30 feet down my line. Here is what I encountered. I went through the clean out and past the line coming from up stairs which flows nicely. I then passed another line hooking in from the downstairs toilet and sinks. I then past another line hooking in even further down where my outside storm drain connects in. I then ran into a little section of standing water, enough for my camera to not see above the water line. I could not see anything really while navigating through the short section of standing water. The line is a terracotta pipe by the way. About 2 feet after running through the 1 foot section of an 1 1/2" deep water I seen a good size root ball hanging into the line just about 9 inches before the line connects into the cities main line. There was a lip on the pipe where the main connected to it (assuming a change in pipe is the main) so I was not able to get my camera over the lip. It is perhaps possible but I did not want to yank my camera around too hard. I did also notice the last 4 feet or so before the line connected to the main that there was a very minor grease build up but nothing hindering more than 5% of flow if any. The last time I posted here I mentioned that the line was backed up again and that I put my clog buster in the line (water pressure). The line has not backed up since then. So I am guess the assumption that the roots are over time catching toilet paper and other debris causing the line to back up in a couple weeks time. The roots only block about 30-35% of the line as I seen them today. It is only in one concentrated spot. So I looked at RootX. I guess treat the line with that and in some amount of time the roots decay and break away to my understanding. I did not observe any cracks in the pipe or any other mentionables. I hope this does the trick and those roots are the culprit.

Now I am wondering if I should seal off the floor drain to avoid any future backups into my basement. The drain is poorly placed in accordance with the changing elevations of the basement floor. The water would have to get 1-2ft deep down there for it to make its way to the drain. However it is a bit useful at the moment. during a hard rain I have water making its way through the basement wall close to the window. Its only a steady drip but the drains catches it. Reckon I better fix the wall leak before sealing off the drain.

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