Do It Yourself Machine?

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by pattyg101, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. pattyg101

    pattyg101 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    I'm interested in purchasing one of those electric sewer snakes. I would like the kind that will fit 6 inch standard cast iron piping. I will have ongoing drainage problems from the roots of a large tree directly over the sewer. I would use this machine to remove the roots that have penetrated the sewer pipes every 3 to 4 months or so. It should have a cutter head, I believe. Please recommend a relatively effective yet easy to operate model.

    Thanks in advance,
    J
  2. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    On the words of a local sewer professional, (and not sure about this, only taking his word), concerning the same type of problem that I am into as of now with my mom's line, if the line is solid, the roots will never know that the line and it's moisture are there. If there is a small leak, and a root finds it, kill the tree, or cut the roots headed towards the line, otherwise the roots will grow so thick that they will destroy the line completely over the next several years. This problem started with my mom's line several years ago, maybe even as much as a decade ago. All orange ceramic piping leading into a septic tank and drainfield. At first this was a once every year issue. Then it became a once every 3 or 4 month issue. This spring, she's already had the guy out there twice!! He put a camera of some type down the line, and the pipe is non-existant for a distance of about 6 feet now, with very small root fibers going a good 10 feet in each direction! Repair cost, which will be done withing the next couple of weeks, about $800! He says that it may even be more if he has to replace the entire line!
    Rob
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    A machine to work in 6" pipe will be a large and expensive model ( several hundred dollars.). Using these, while not rocket science, takes some skill and experience. You can injure yourself seriously. You might be monehy ahead to just hire a professional when needed.


    As already posted, the root problem will not go away. You can try root killer, but the effectiveness is debatable.

    One approach would be to spend money now to camera the pipe , and consider digging up to repair any problems found. This as opposed to laying out a chunk of change at intervals every several months.
  4. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    the machine needed has 1/2" cable size and costs $1300

    a smaller machine won't touch the roots. what will you do if the snake is
    stuck in the line and won't retrive?

    get it camered. dig up the area of pipe around the roots, install new section

    or pay FOREVER. GOOD LUCK :)
  5. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    When I bought my house in August, I found some service graffeti in the basement. First root cleaning in 1965. I cleaned it again last September when it clogged and got quite a few roots and tampons. Eww. 40 years of cleaning! *shrug*

    Jason
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    1/2" cable is the minimum size for 6". I would think you would need 3/4", and a machine to handle it would run you $2-3,000.00 for a good used one.
  7. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    I guess sometimes it does work out that way. I have heard of several neighbors doing a root cleaning, and never having the problem again. Just never have had that kind of luck myself. *double shrug*
  8. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    normally when the roots enter the pipe

    they keep coming, and you keep cutting :D I'm guessing it's 4" pipe
  9. All underground segmented drain pipe (cast iron, ceramic, etc.) and all broken pipes of any type are subject to getting roots in them. As noted,
    roots will just keep coming back to that water and nutrient source.
    The best long-term solution (and usually the least expensive in the long-run) is to just replace the line wherever roots could be a problem with "glued" PVC white plastic or ABS black plastic drain line. Roots can't penetrate "glued" plastic lines. End of problem.
    Good Luck!
    Mike
  10. pattyg101

    pattyg101 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    I guess i'll just keep paying the pros to clean it as frequently as possible.

    I can't remove the tree because it's huge and would probably cost about $20 to $30,000 (yes, thousand). The tree is 45 feet high and 4 feet thick. Plus, I don't even know if i'm allowed to remove the tree because it is on the sidewalk directly infront of my house, technically its city property. Most likely a huge fine would be imposed if removed.

    I guess i'll just live with it for now, sell the house in a few years and warn the new guy about it (after the closing of course.)
  11. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    If you need to replace the line and its the cities tree, sometime HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) can be used to install the new pipe under the tree, or you can relocate (if you've got the curb frontage) your sewer line to a new location on the main. Would need to talk to city.

    Trees like that are great. I've got three trees in my yard, two of which are 3ft+ in diameter. I wouldn't cut them down for anything. Shades almost the whole house, cuts down on the A/C too. :)

    Jason
  12. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Maybe I won't have to do it again! (Riiiiiigghhht) Property disclosure report said they'd had it cleaned several times in the past 7 years prior to me buying the place. I'm going to give RootX a shot next time after cleaning. Flows well for now.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,292
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    sewer

    A machine like you are asking about runs a couple of thousand dollars and the cables several hundred dollars each. I have had plumbers take a brand new cable, and ruin it within 30 minutes, and they were supposed to know how to do it. What are your chances for it to happen. If you were to take the tree down, the roots would still be a problem for the next 25 years or so. I always say, "If you want to know where the sewer is, look for the biggest tree on the property, and the sewer will be right underneath it". I think people hunt for the sewer line when they plant trees. Call a plumber to clean the sewer, and when it starts needing it twice a year or more, then consider replacement, or at least repairs if the problem occurs at just one particular place everytime.
  14. abikerboy

    abikerboy DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    202
    Location:
    VA
    Not sure how this works in other locations, but a friend says that in this area, you could use 45 degree bends to pass the line around the tree, and then have the connection tap on the city line moved to meet up with your new line. He says the only thing in this area is that you have to install a cleanout at your first bend, and no 90 degree el's underground. Says he has done several like this in the past year.
  15. sendec

    sendec New Member

    Messages:
    10
    "nutrient source," ewwwww

    My sewer line chronically stops up, with a tree the likely culprit, plus a line that sags, and has too many angles in it.....so I am excavating and re-laying the line, or should I say, I'll have someone who actually knows what they are doing have at it.

    I debated getting my own auger, or as I now refer to them, a steel anaconda of death, cause I need it done so frequently, but after my first experience with a DIY rental machine, I changed my mind right quick. How I managed to escape with all my fingers and extremities still amazes me. And the property damage done by a flailing cable, forget about it.

    And the concept seems so simple ;)
  16. pattyg101

    pattyg101 New Member

    Messages:
    9
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  17. pattyg101

    pattyg101 New Member

    Messages:
    9
    WOW, Harsh words for a tool. :p
  18. casman

    casman New Member

    Messages:
    78
    Location:
    New York
    Yup I second the death machine thing. I bought one and within 1/2 hour it snapped up and I had my hand stuck in the thing. I felt like an idiot and didn't want my wife to know. I figured out right away that reverse wouldn't do it. I had to spin myself around in a circle to get unstuck. Then I had 10 feet of cable all tangled up. When I reversed it, this thing was snapping like a bullwhip and breaking things. The first snap grabbed a hammer I had left lying on the floor and rifled it across the room breaking a huge glass vase....best left to the pros, and even then my old plumber only had a thumb and 1 finger on his right hand...
  19. Polekat

    Polekat New Member

    Messages:
    5
    I've got the same problem. The city owns my tree which is the culprit so I can't cut it down. The previous owner had been in contact with the city and they wouldn't do anything about it.

    Can I bill the city for the roto-rooter guy to come out every 12 months?
  20. No. They are not responsible for your sewer/drain line and its failing condition.

    Pipe lining or treatments with RootX seems to be the best suggestion....short of a reroute of drain line to get around the tree. PVC is the best suggestion but it can break at stress points.....causing root intrusions once again.

    Proper installation of the piping will be the ultimate right way to do it.
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