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Old 04-07-2012, 07:03 PM   #1
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tree roots and orangeburg pipes

In one of my bathrooms, the toilet is OK, but the sink and bathtub, which are next to each other, fill with water after a few seconds. Then it takes a long time for the water to go down.
I discovered 4 years ago that this house had Orangeburg pipes (it has some clay pipes; PVC also).
The plumber looked through part of the line with a camera. Some roots were coming through the Orangeburg. There was a small crack in a clay pipe.
I assume the Orangeburg was used when the first part of the house was built, in 1953, and if so it's already outlived itself by quite a lot.
I had the Orangeburg pipe Roto Rooted once (before I knew it was Orangeburg), about 10 years ago, and tree roots had been found then.
But this last time, 4 years ago, the plumber with the camera said not to Roto Root as it could further damage the pipes.
I also heard about a potent herbicide, but that the herbicide too could damage Orangeburg pipes.
I'm hoping to sell my house this year. I'd want to list it as a fixer-upper or a tear-down or 'as is', so I don't want to put a lot of money into replacing pipes.
I want to buy a little more time, but I'm frightened of damaging the pipes further. They are living on borrowed time as it is!
This is a 1-story house, so if the pipes back up, there's no basement for the overflow to go into—just would go into the house. There is one let-out, but another plumber said it wasn't at the right point, not low enough, and if there was a back-up a lot of the stuff would go into the house before reaching the let-out.

Yesterday I tried noncorrosive cleaner (baking soda and vinegar, followed by boiling water) on the bathtub drain, and nothing happened, so I'm pretty sure it's tree roots there too.
The bathroom I got Roto Rooted 10 years ago was a different one.

What's the least risky fix or strategy I could try?
I read one post from a couple of years ago and the suggestion was to feed a hose into the pipe (not a plumbing snake, which might push the pipe over the edge). Has anyone tried a hose, or any other ways to get rid of roots?


Last edited by xerxes2001; 04-07-2012 at 07:56 PM. Reason: to clarify what I wrote
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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There is a chance that your tub and lav are on a branch line and can be cleaned independent of the mainline.
As for the burg- we cable it more then once. Granted, cable knives are abusive and can damage pipe. But IMO, using a jetter or cable are your only options to remove roots and you don't use a jetter on burg- it will destroy it in a heartbeat. Some members on this board will recommend a "chemical" product which I haven't used so I won't comment on it. Perhaps they will chime in.
Replace the line- that's the best option. It's one less upgrade a prospective buyer has to worry about


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Old 04-07-2012, 08:18 PM   #3
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Remove it, replace with PVC and never have to worry about roots getting in the line again.
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:26 PM   #4
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Replacing it is the best option.

Once it starts to delaminate on the inside, it only takes a day or two after cleaning it out for it to start backing up again.

I just had this problem with my rental.

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