Clogged Line

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by statjunk, May 9, 2008.

  1. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    Hey guys,

    I posted here about 6 months ago that I had a toilet that would gargle when I'd be taking a shower. I called out a plumber and he ran a power snake down the line and went out about 35'. It was a very easy snake run and it never hit anything solid in anyway. For six months I didn't have a problem. Now the problem is back. On occaision even when I use the sink the toilet will gurgle.

    I know with 100% certainty that nothing irregular went down the toilet or any other drains in the house.

    Would could be the issue?

    What is the next plan of attack?

    Background:

    Cement slab house, with cast iron pipes.

    No clean out.

    Thanks

    Tom
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    You may want to consider running a camera down the line after it is cleaned again. My guess is if it was cleaned properly there is a belly in the line. Other defects would usually be felt by the person snaking the line.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    Why did he only go 35'? How did he know that was far enough?
  4. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    The gurguling would happen very quickly so he said the problem was close by. I will say that it did fix the problem for between 4-6 months.

    Should I try some form of drain cleaner or is this problem bigger than that? I'd be willing to spend some money on drain cleaner if even for $hits sake. No pun intended.

    What does camera work usually run?

    Thanks

    Tom
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Chemicals will not work on this type of problem. The line needs to be snaked for the entire length, clear to the main sewer line. It is possible that there is a break in the line that is catching paper and building a clog over time. If, after a complete clearing of the line, you continue to experience clogging, you should have a camera inspect the line. Avoid chemicals.
  6. My next guess (I'm not a pro plumber, just a long-time DIYer) is that you may have roots getting into that sectional CI drain pipe. A snake will just punch right through a hairlike rootball, giving only temporary relief. A camera to resolve what the problem is, is your best bet as advised. If it is roots getting into the sections of CI pipe, then usually replacement is the only solution. If it's just a break that is causing the problem, then a break repair may just do it.
    Good Luck!
    Mike
  7. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    I really hope it isn't roots. I've got some real big trees in the yard.

    Just got off the phone with the plumbing company that ran the snake. I had the line snaked in October. The scheduler there asked me if he pulled back any tree roots when he ran the snake and I said no. Nothing came back up with the snake. She also indicated to me that they sell a product called root-x that is used as preventative maintence on root infested drains. Claimed it was $100 per canister.

    Any thoughts on any of this.

    Oh yeah she said it was $300 for the camera work for up to 2 hours.

    Tom
    Last edited: May 9, 2008
  8. gear junkie

    gear junkie Plumber

    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, IPC country
    camera the line
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Clear the line first then camera the line.
    If roots were involved the person snaking the line just might have been able to feel them... I know I do when I hit them!

    Redwood slides a big ole pile of chips on belly in the line....
    He also puts a small stack on HJ's 35' wasn't far enough!:cool:
  10. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    Anybody have any experience with the Root X stuff? Does it work?

    My buddy says that it's Hydrocloric Sulfate or Sulfide (not 100%). Can I just buy that stuff instead of spending $100 per shot?

    I'm calling the plumbing company today and having them come out.

    Thanks for the help guys!

    Tom
  11. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Root-X works well if it's fresh, applied properly and of the right amount.

    It is an herbicide that has a foaming action that coats the entire pipe and you let it set overnight before running any water. It's best to use it every 6 months and start immediately (minutes, not hours or days) after cleaning the line so the remaining roots take it up and die before they heal over.

    Jason
  12. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Root X Is Great But Check Out Other Plumbers For Pricing You Should Be Able To Get A Better Price On It
  13. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just an idea….

    Could this be a venting problem? Is water backing up into the house, (like in the tub or a shower)? You did say that after the line was snaked the first time, the problem wet away for a while, so I guess it would be a drain problem, but I don’t remember you saying that water was backing up into the house.
    I’m no plumber, but I thought I would throw this one in, for those who are.

    Good luck,

    Mike
  14. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    Funny you should mention that. The water has been slowly draining out of the toilet and since I used the toilet when it first failed I've been flushing it and letting it slowly drain trying to get the filth out of the toilet. Well this morning I looked at the bath tub and now it's filled up.

    The plumbers are coming out till tomorrow.

    I'm going to call to see if they can come out today.

    Any thoughts on any of this?

    Tom
  15. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hey Tom,

    You did mention in your first post that you didn’t have any clean-outs. You should have two (or at least one) sewer clean outs just outside of the house going towards the city sewer main line. If you have bushes, or have modified the landscaping in that area, the clean-out could be just below ground level. If you could find them, and open them up, if your main line is blocked you could look down the clean-out and see standing water. Not this would solve your problem if it was full of water, but it would tell you that the block is farther down line. If they were empty, the block would be from the clean-outs back towards the house.
    I finally broke down and bought a 75’ electric sewer snake, (as I was renting one before for my clients). It came with about 3 different heads, (one spring type, a spade type, and a root cutter). You might check with your plumber and see what he’s using. I’m sure he knows what he’s doing, but it never hurts to ask.
    Again, I’m not a plumber, so hopefully if I miss guided you on this post, a plumber will correct me, (hurts at first, but I get over it…eventually).

    Mike
  16. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    Plumber came out yesterday. He cleared the clog in 15'. He said there are several possibilities going on.

    1) Settling could have occurred and the pipe now has a back pitch.

    2) Seperation in the pipe that over time collects stuff and eventually clogs

    or

    3) The tp I'm using is too heavy

    I just don't buy #3.

    Even though he only needed to go 15' he still had to charge me $300 to run the camera. So I passed on it. If it happens again I'm going to purchase an electric snake and just clean out the pipe myself.

    Does anybody have any thoughts on this situation?

    Tom
  17. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    snake

    I hope they kept on going past the 15' mark. IF that is where the problem was, there could also just be one, or more, secondary locations. The electric snake you need will cost in the neighborhood of $600.00-$1,000.00 and there is a good possibility that you could do like one plumber I worked with, and destroy the $200.00 cable the first time you use it.
  18. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Some thoughts...

    I paid just a pinch over $500.00 for my electric snake back on March of 2007. When I use mine, I just don’t push the snake at a fast rate. I kind of tap on the button with my knee and just give it a little at a time. I usually can get the blockage out with the corkscrew head if it’s just paper. I had to use the spade head once on a clients house, (and yes, there was a little of the pucker factor going on) as the spade scraped out the inside of a 2†corroded cast drain line. Make sure you use gloves when you use it, and wash off the line after you are done. I spray done with lithium grease to keep it from rusting out.
    You might also try flushing twice to get that heavy TP down. The water might be out running your solids.

    Mike
  19. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    He went right to the 25' mark and stopped which is what I paid for.

    Can I not use one of the $150 snakes that they sell at HD to clear a tp clog that is 15' away?

    What are the down sides of going with this kind of unit?

    Tom
  20. gear junkie

    gear junkie Plumber

    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, IPC country
    A small cable will kink up faster than a big cable. I would rent a machine if I was in your shoes. I'm a professional drain cleaner so be careful doing this. This is definently not rocket science but there is some danger involved. Don't bother with rootx if you haven't gotten any evidence of roots.

    What kind of cutter head is your plumber using? What is he bringing back?Where are you located? I have 2 snakes I'm selling. PM me if your interested.
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
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