clogged sewer line

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by little buddy, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. little buddy

    little buddy New Member

    Messages:
    37
    My main sewer line is completely clogged. My lower level toilet is located on a wall and drains directly into the main line. I have several things working against me. 1, the pipe from the toilet goes down about 6 in. and 90's into the main. 2, because of that sharp 90 I was unsuccessful in running a large eel with a root cutter. I was abe to get the eel with a spear head, but again because of the 90 I was only able to send about 24ft of cable through the main. About a month ago I had well known plumber (without rooter in his name) run a eel through, it was slightly smaller than the one that I ran. He was able to free the line and when he left we were able to drain a full washing machine, a full bathtub and sink all at the same time. It drained perfectly. My main runs under concrete for about 50ft then goes about 25ft before it it goes under the street. My gut feeling is that a tree root has found its way in that 25ft section. ( large tree located about 50ft from that area) I feel that I have 2 options. I currently don't have an outside clean-out. Directly on the outside of the wall that the toilet is against, I plan on digging down and installing a clean-out. My other option was to rent a trackhoe and dig up the 25ft section so I could inspect the main in both directions. I know I could hire a plumber to send the camera through the line. That would cost $200 and the plumber said the line would have to be free first, I don't know about that, but that's what he said. So as long as I don't have probems under the concrete and I don't think I do because the first plumber was able to run about 130ft of eel. He didn't use a root cutter,just a spear head, so I 'm wondering if he just bored a hole though the root or broke the pipe. I would think anything from the edge of the street on would be the city's responsibility. I apologize for being so wordy but I tried to paint as clear of a picture as I could.
    Any help will be greatly appreciated, thanks.

    Little buddy
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    My recommendation would be to hire a different Pro to clean the line to clear it then to camera the line and locate it for the installation of an outside cleanout in the area of the problem.. With a complete cleaning and camera inspection of the line in both directions. Install a cleanout like the two directional one shown in the picture below. (disregard the rest of the pictures)

    [​IMG]
  3. little buddy

    little buddy New Member

    Messages:
    37
    Thanks for the reply, Redwood

    When I install the clean-out directly outside the house wall, will I need to install a trap and vent in the main sewer line?
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    No those are the rest of the pictures that I wanted you to disregard. They are a configuration used in some homes that are actually quite a nusance.

    I would actually install the cleanouts where the camera sees a problem. It would repair a problem area and install a cleanout killing 2 birds with one stone so to speak.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,825
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain

    1. I would NEVER try to snake the line through the toilet opening, unless it was the absolutely only way to do it.
    2. If his snake was smaller than yours, which appears to have been too small to do an adequate job, then he made an opening in the stoppage, he did not clear it.
    3. A proper sized and located cleanout is the correct way to do a proper drain cleaning.
    4. The drain line is at its shallowest point, and easiest to locate, where it leaves the house, so that is usually the point where cleanouts are installed, if they are going to be located outdoors..
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I agree! Which is why I said hire a different pro!

    In the case of the cleanout location normally I would put it right outside the house. However, if the problem area is further away I would use the installation of the cleanout to fix the problem area which is why I said to use the camera.

    The camera has 2 functions... To see what the problem is in the line and to locate where the line is exactly including depth. If I am using a shovel I want to know exactly where I'm digging and how deep. I don't like to dig more than I have to!
  7. little buddy

    little buddy New Member

    Messages:
    37
    clogged sewer

    I respect and appreciate your remarks. I'm a little bullheaded, no, I'm very bullheaded. I don't accept defeat easily. Now with that being said, I'll let you know where I'm at. I rented a trackhoe and dug a ditch about 5 to 6ft deep and about 20ft long. I would have bet money that I would have hit the sewer line, but didn't. Then I dug a smaller ditch at the other end of the house. No luck.Both of these locations were thought out and in line with the drain line located in the house. You're probably thinking I should go right outside the house and try there. At the present time I cann't get to that area But I do plan on putting a cleanout there at a later time. Any suggestions other than a camera. Did I mention I'm as tight as I am bullheaded? Thanks for any help.
  8. themp

    themp Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    NC
    Roots in Sewer

    I had a similar problem at Thanksgiving. 24 year old sewer line backed up. I had a cleanout in the crawspace and could prove that it was clear out to the outside foundation. I had no clean out outside the house.

    I called a plumber and he came out and said, no way was he going to snake it from the crawspace. So, he used a nice 4 foot long wire probe and was able to hit the line at various places near the house. We picked a nice spot for a clean out near the house and then I dug the hole and put in the clean out.

    He came back the next day with a snake that uses high pressure water and has a camera and found the root problem 28 feet from my new clean out. The high pressure water snake ate those roots out instantly. My sewer line outside the house is around 90 feet to the city clean out.

    I dug a hole at 28 feet from my new clean out and hit the pipe that had separated at the PVC joint which let roots in. I put a new clean out here also.

    Cost was 400 dollars for the plumber/water pressure snake and I felt it was worth it.

    Tom
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Before you spend all your money foolishly why not call a pro!

    Sometimes there is another word used besides bullheaded.
  10. little buddy

    little buddy New Member

    Messages:
    37
    Thanks redwood, I took your advice and stumbled on to a pro that I liked real well and he was reasonable. A few so called pros give bad names and make it rough for the good ones. Thanks again
  11. Jay Mpls

    Jay Mpls Master plumber

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    How about a word of praise by naming the company and especially the tech/plumber
    that saved the day?
    Were it me,in the case of a company I wasn't so happy with I would ,nicely,inform them first and see how they respond.
    Then we would like to know!
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,825
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    drain location

    I once worked on a job where one of the people believed in "witching" pipes. He would walk around where the rods said the sewer should be and then they dug there. NOTHING. He said, "Well, there must have been something there." They repeated the process until the area next to the building looked like a war zone. They finally called me and asked where it should be and I told them, "On the other side of the building." and then proceeded to locate it. Guessing where the drain line is and then digging there has about a 1% chance of finding it.
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