Clogged pipes ..... HELP !!!!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by fatcat07, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. fatcat07

    fatcat07 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Long Island
    Hello all,

    Sorry for length of the request, I'm just trying to be as detailed as possible because at this point I am just confused.

    Let me start with some specifics about my home:

    A 1400 ft ranch on a slab, I would say it is a basic "L" shaped house
    I have a sewer system
    2 bathrooms
    Washer linked into sewer (pipes) for waste water
    If you stand facing my home the bathrooms are on the left side of the house and I think they are in line with sewer pipe to the street.
    Kitchen sink is in about the middle of the house
    Washer is on the right side of the house

    Issue

    Whenever we wash clothes during the rinse cycle the sink in the Kitchen backs up.

    Things done to resolve issue - Plumber

    1st time - The kitchen sink and both bathrooms were backing up with nasty stuff, called plumber and he said "Roots in the sewer line"

    2nd time - Kitchen sink back ups whenever we wash clothes and the bathroom was fine. I called the plumber and he snaked from the bathroom and the kitchen, issue went away.

    3rd time (2weeks later) - Kitchen sink back ups whenever we wash clothes and the bathrooms are fine. I called the plumber and he snaked from the washer and the sink, issue went away.

    4th time - About 6 months later kitchen sink back ups whenever we wash clothes and the bathrooms are fine. I called the plumber and he wanted to snake again ???

    WTH - At $250 a pop and the amount of times it is happening I need to figure out how to do it myself.

    Things done to resolve issue - Myself

    I bought a 25ft 5/16 snake form home depot, I snaked from the kitchen sink. It feed out about 15ft and I hit a blockage, don't know what it is but I fought with it for about 4 hours. I was to the point were the snake was stuck and it took me another hour to remove.

    Next I snaked from the washer and the snake feed all the way out without resistance.

    At this point I am getting different advise from different places.

    Home Depot - Dig up the trap located outside your house and clean out any obstructions (In process .... damn it is deep.... ..... and I hope I am digging in the right place, I am digging around the pipe outside that the plumber used to clear the roots)
    Plumber - Rent a snake from home depot 75ft and snake from washer.
    Home Depot - Don't use a 75ft snake, just use the 25ft and fight through the clog.
    Home Depot - Use chemicals ....
    Wife - CALL THE PLUMBER ALREADY

    I have been dealing with is issue for about 2 weeks. I should be able to fix it and the plumber has already fixed this issue twice before and I am not ready to pay another $250 for something that looks like it will happen again.

    Any help or advise is greatly appreciated .....
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    1. You need better plumbers
    2. There is NO trap outside to dig up.
    3. There are other possible causes for poor drainage than a stoppage in the sink or laundry line.
    4. If you are doing it WRONG, it makes no difference how long, or short, the snake is, it will do NOTHING.
    5. Chemicals only cleanout your wallet. IF they did anything to a stoppage, it would be to open the smallest opening so they could drain out and flow into the main sewer.
    6. You have a smart wife. Listen to her, but get a good plumber, who knows HOW to find where the problem is and cure it.
  3. fatcat07

    fatcat07 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Long Island
    Thanks for the response ...hj

    I am posting so that I can get some advise on how to do it right, I understand that I am going to need plumbers to fix certain things IE. busted pipe under the slab, boiler, my baseline heating system ......

    I would just like to at least be able to snake my own pipes, so I'm trying to figure out what it is that I am doing wrong so that my money is spent on the things I know I can't do.
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Listen to HJ's advice. This is NOT a DIY job. A professional sized snake is not only quite costly, it is very dangerous in the hands of a novice. You can not only damage your sewer line, you can lose a hand or arm. Avoid calling businesses that have rooter as part of their name. Get a real professional.
  5. fatcat07

    fatcat07 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Long Island
    Thanks for the reply Gary

    I guess 3 strikes and I'm out

    Strike 1 - Wife
    Strike 2 - HJ
    Strike 3 - Gary

    I am a 1st time homeowner so I feel I am going through a learning curve on what I can do and should hire a professional to do. My train of thought is ...."If it is happening constantly. I need to learn to do it" or it will just drain money and it is just the water I need drained.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; My train of thought is ...."If it is happening constantly. I need to learn to do it" or it will just drain money and it is just the water I need drained.

    Your "train of thought" SHOULD be, "If it is happening constantly, I need a competent professional to fix it so it does NOT happen constantly". There is almost NOTHING that 'happens constantly", unless it is not being fixed properly. Don't try to press your luck and hope you can get "four strikes" before you are out.
  7. mikeplummer

    mikeplummer Plumber

    Messages:
    190
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    i would have to recommend getting a company that can run a sewer camera down the pipe to determine exactly what is causing the blockage in order to correct it properly. it is clearly a blockage between kitchen and bathrooms
  8. fatcat07

    fatcat07 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Long Island
    OK ....

    I went on Annie's list, and got some reputable plumbers ....... 1st guy came and we agreed on a price.

    He proceeded to snake the pipe from the kitchen sink and it came back with mud. He next informed me that I have a broken/busted pipe.

    I am now on the phone with my insurance company, since my house is on a slab I need to break the floor to get at pipe to fix or replace.

    The saga continues ...... (Boy do I miss having a super, the joys of home ownership)
  9. fatcat07

    fatcat07 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Long Island
    Hello all,

    OK ..... Every thing is in order .... I got the claim number from home insurance .... the plumber will commence to break through the floor tomorrow morning. Once the work is completed, I fax the plumbers findings to insurance company.

    Just one question left:

    Question: I asked how the plumber was going to pin point the break ?

    Answer: He told me he has to break the floor in order to trace the line.

    Question: Can't you send a camera do the line to I find it ?

    Answer: You can't put a camera down a pipe like that, it is very corroded.

    Does this sound right ?

    Thanks for every bodies help .....
  10. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    Sounds like the plumber doesn't own a camera ! Here in S.F. We do have street traps. They are also called running traps. Have no Idea about Long Island.Are we talking of a branch line 1 1/2" to 2" or the 4" main? What is the material ! Cast Iron or terre cotta? The camera will give You the location of the break! No sense breaking up floor that doesn't affect the work! Good Luck PS The folks at H.D. DO NOT WORK IN THE TRADES AND KNOW NOTHING ? Do You think someone with skills and experience would put on an ORANGE APRON ?
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  11. fatcat07

    fatcat07 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Long Island
    I believe it is a branch line 2", I will ask him tomorrow .....

    I'm just wondering if I'm over thinking the whole situation at this point, the plumber attitude just seems to be:

    "Don't worry your insurance will cover it"

    And you are right about H.D., I did spend about two weeks trying to fix this myself based on their recommendations.

    Next time (LOL .... next time .... I hope next time is far far away) I will come directly to the forum.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Many communities have "house, or street, traps" in the main line leaving a building, even though they are a bad idea as far as the homeowner is concerned. BUT, I have never seen one on a 2" sink line.
  13. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    TELL YOUR PLUMBER TO GO TO THIS WEBSITE,
    WE HAVE A MINI CAMERA THAT GOES THOUGH 11/2" DRAIN PIPE WITH A BUILT IN LOCATOR THAT ALLOWS YOU TO TRACK
    THE CAMERA TO THE PROBLEM AREA

    http://trojanworldwide.com/C130-DVR - Yellow.jpg
  14. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    Never said they'd be one on a 2" line

    Over the years,I've asked different S.F. Plumbing inspectors why the street traps ! One answer is "Keeps the sewer rats out of the homes lateral." Another is" keeps the city sewers from siphoning house laterals "ever see "the streets of S.F. ? Killer steep hills. Our street water run off and sewers are one going to the treatment plant. Wet winters!
  15. DIYPlumber90

    DIYPlumber90 New Member

    Messages:
    15
    Location:
    CA
    Definitely gotta agree with HJ on this one. I mean, it seems like none of the associates even know what they are talking about.
  16. richtow8

    richtow8 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Tree roots.
  17. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Another is" keeps the city sewers from siphoning house laterals "ever see "the streets of S.F. ? Killer steep hills

    That is a comment from an inspector who went bankrupt as a contractor. You CANNOT "siphon house laterals", and even if you could the house trap would not only NOT prevent it, but it would be siphoned first. If he has "tree roots" in a washing machine/sink drain, then he also has a MAJOR problem somewhere else.

    It would be like a customer some time ago, who said he had tree roots in his lavatory drain. I told him the only way that could happen would be if he had roots in his toilet also. He said he did which was why he hadn't been able to flush his toilet for over a year. You don't want to know how difficult it is to remove a years worth of root growth from a pipe.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
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