Roots - slow drain and will back up (Slab Floor)

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by cody21, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. cody21

    cody21 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Lafayette, Ca
    I need some advice - a bath room that gets little use has suddenly started backing up. The dreaded "gurgle" in the toilet and then the shower backs up. We hired a Plumbing service to try to clear the drain - he spent an hour running his snake through it and at one point after it 'snagged' in a section probably 60 feet in, he pulled it out and it had a very tiny root on it (4 inches long and probably 1/16" in diameter). he prompty said "Roots". Then continued to work the snake back and forth until he could not get any further. (My initial suspicion based on the sound of the snake under our patio was that he hit a "joint" where that line joined the drain under another shower in the house). He used a 'cutter blade' that was probably 2" long - and it was the only cutter blade he used.

    So after all that (and $125 later), he said there was nothing more he could do - that a video of the drain would likely be our next best option, or possibly calling RotoRooter and have them 'pressure blast' it out. (after calling them, they do not do this "pressure blast" for residential places - but they say they are "experts" at clearing Tree roots and guarantee it.)

    ugh ... what a mess. This is a SLAB floor (ranch house) and would require jackhammering it all up the presumed "defect" in the pipe. Are there any advances in the technoliogy that allows for inserting or replacing drain pipe under slab flooring? What would YOU professionals do in this situation? Just call RotoRooter - or someone else - that has the larger Root Cutters and clear the roots every 1-2 years? I can only imagine that actually replacing drain segments will get very very expensive .. (and what's interesting about this is this particular seciton of drain is only about 15 years old - vs the main drain in thge rest of the house).

    Thanks in advance
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,284
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I would look for a professional licensed plumber do the camera inspection so that you and he can see exactly what the problem is.

    We cannot tell from your description if he was trying to clear a branch, or the main line. What size cutter should be used is based on the size of the pipe, and the line should be rodded and inspected all the way to the street or septic connection.

    Many "roto-rooter" type franchises are not licensed plumbers, and many are inexperienced at drain cleaning, much less plumbing.

    It is quite possible that you have 1 bad joint in the pipe, and that the slab could be cut, pipe repaired, and all is good with minimal downtime. The truth will never be known unless a good inspection is done.
  3. cody21

    cody21 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Lafayette, Ca
    OK .. thanks ... we'll go the Camera Inspection route first - rather than spend another $160 on yet another attempt to snake ... Now just to find a reputable company ... Yelp is my friend.
  4. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Cacher_chick
    Many "roto-rooter" type franchises are not licensed plumbers, and many are inexperienced at drain cleaning, much less plumbing,


    While it is true most but not all drain cleaning company's are not licensed plumbers,
    BUT THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE IN CALIF,
    AND MOST IF NOT ALL KNOW A LOT MORE ABOUT SNAKING YOUR DRAINS THEN MOST
    "LICENSED" PLUMBERS

    That is why you still have a problem because a Licensed Plumber used too small of a snake and did not
    clear the drain properly !
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,284
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Thanks for that info Jerry. Where I am anyone can start a drain cleaning business, and then they often do drain repairs that are very shoddy.

    I guess my next question would be- is there a minimum standard of education or training which they have to meet in California, or can anyone buy a license and it's really just about the money?
  6. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    In Calif,Washington,Idaho,Utah, all states that I have plumbed in the only requirement is a business license, and liability insurance is good but not
    required, but I have known and worked with many drain people and they all
    take drain cleaning very seriously !

    And are definitely not hacks about it !
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,301
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    First, get a good plumber with more than one cutter. Then see if he can open the drain. A camera is useless unless the pipe is not full of water.
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