Roots stopping toilet...$1400 to fix?

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by Rootorama, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. Rootorama

    Rootorama New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Hello,
    One of my two toilets is clogged by oak tree roots and I have a slab foundation.
    Everything else seems to be fine. I'm a first time homeowners and know little about plumbing. Basically the plumber came over, used his hand held snake, pulled out some roots and said 'thats bad'. So he says he needs to jackhammer the floor, replace some pipe etc for $1400. Says if I don't my foundation will be ruined. Doesn't seem like I have bad leaks or I think the water bill would be worse but I dunno.

    I thought roots in pipes were somewhat common and thats what folks like roto-rooter etc (they didnt give my quote) did...clear the pipes. With the economy being bad I always suspect repair situations to be over exaggerated and honestly dont know how to trust someone when they say in 5 minutes in need expensive work. Not that I don't trust plumbers of course its just dang 1400$!? :eek:

    Any way any suggestions or what I should expect or know before I call someone else for an estimate? Thanks:D
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,416
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    There are outfits that will run a camera down the line and give you a DVD on the interior of the line to look at.

    People that work on main lines, don't use hand snakes.
    That equipement will have a large barrel for the cable and the cutter will either be a 3" or 4" for cutting roots.

    There are products for killing invading tree roots.

    All in all, he does seem to have a scary story though.
    I wonder how often that one works.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2009
  3. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I would call around and get a few other opinions. A good quality plumber that knows how to clean drains can get the drain cleared, and run a TV down the line to see what you are up against.

    I have had to open up slabs to make sewer repairs in the past, so it is not unheard of. Just question a guy using a hand snake only and not using a power rod. One question what state are you in?
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Sounds like you need a second opinion...:eek:
  5. freeflow

    freeflow Semi retired master plumber

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    alabama
    roots

    It sounds crazy but I once ran an extended auger (general) down a toilet and pulled out roots.I pulled the toilet and found roots growing in all around the flange.With a sharp knife and hammer and sharp chisel I cut all the roots out that I could see and poured rock (ice creme salt) all around the flange,then reset bowl.HO didnt want to pay me to cut out around flange and seal with anchor cement so I guess the roots grew back over time who knows I havent been back ????
  6. Rootorama

    Rootorama New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Hi thanks for your input. I live in Texas by the way, DFW area. Foundation problems are common here so if true I will fix it. But mentioning foundations around here is a nice way to scare people for sure...thats what I'm afraid is going on. So the plan is to look for another plumber who will clear line, look for legitimate leaks, and possibly prove if I need heavy duty work is needed etc...sound good? By the way if a leak was bad enough to screw up a foundation wouldnt I see that in water bills or on the meter? Thanks again :)
  7. rwcarpenter

    rwcarpenter New Member

    Messages:
    17
    I would definitely get that second opinion on that repair so your plan sounds good.

    No, you would not see it in your waterbill unless the roots grow into your supply lines, this is a drain line. It would have to be a bad leak to cause major damage to the foundation, and then that would only occur over time. One thing you might get it seepage into your foundation and maybe sewer gas which smells bad and is not real good for you. A water drain leak might attract fireants and termites to hang out under your foundation when in drought conditions since they like moisture, so fixing it is probably a good idea.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,255
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Plumber?

    That is not a "plumber" it is a shyster. No one can run a "handheld" snake down a sewer line and tell you ANYTHING about it. Much less, that it has massive roots and needs to be excavated. The only thing "not good" about it is HIM.
  9. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    I use copper sulfate twice a year.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper(II)_sulfate

    About 10 years ago, I paid 125 bucks for Rotor rooter to run a snake down my clean-out and they pulled out a huge thick, pile of roots. I am sure prices changed since then. Then, about 5 years ago, I had a plumber come do the same thing, but this time showed me what to use twice a year, and all has been well, thankfully, since then.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  10. Rootorama

    Rootorama New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Ah thanks for your help. I'm starting to feel better about my chances of getting out of this a little cheaper. I'll just have to keep getting estimates until I hit someone honest. Loads of these folks to choose from here. Should I stay away from the big rotorooter type operations...maybe look for a small company or individual? Maybe it doesn't matter. Anyways it should be worth a laugh or two I'll post what happens :)
  11. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    5,658
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    Honestly, the best thing to do? Is to ask people you know for a referral, a neighbor especially.
  12. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    Messages:
    1,317
    Location:
    SW Florida
    Yes, stay away from them and get a real plumber.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,255
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    plumber

    You probably do NOT have to have it done, in the first place. Call a plumber who will use a proper powered snake and then see what he says about the condition of the pipe.
  14. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    roots in sewer line ! !

    I am sorry to tell you this cookie but you are wasting your time and money ! !
    With copper sulfate used that way, the reason is if your sewer pipe has the proper slope that the copper rolls though the faster then time to do any good !
    The "only" way to make it work is to stop up the drain where it tie's into the
    city sewer and let it set for several hours ! !

    The best product to use is "ROOT-X" because it comes in two parts one the root killer the other 1/2 half is a foaming agent that causes the pipe to
    fill with the root killer then you wait two or three hours for it to take effect ! ! Without running water or sewer

    yes i have used and applied both products over the years

    if you have a 4" sewer clean out in your yard you can see what i mean about how fast water run"s though or ask Terry the man !
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  15. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
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    Yep, that is the product I use, on the label the active ingredient it says, is copper sulfate, I am pretty sure. I just couldn't remember the name of the product. A master plumber told me to use it, Root X. I am the woman. :)
  16. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
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    I went downstairs to the garage and got the bottle of what I use and it works well, it is called, Root Kill made by Zep, and the active ingredient is copper sulfate. This is what I was told to use by the plumber. I haven't had any problems since I have been using it.
  17. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Copper Sulfate is illegal in Connecticut.
    We use Root-X, which has an active ingredient of Dichlobenil.
  18. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
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    Sorry Gentlemen, but this is what one of your own told me to use.
    So, you are suggesting, I switch?
    Obviously, it is not illegal here for I buy it at HD.
    How much do you know about that chemical? And, why is copper sulfate illegal there, if you know.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  19. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Main line roots

    yes "cookie" you do need to switch over the copper sulfate just lie's on the bottom of the pipe where it gets washed into the city sewer or septic tank

    and as you know from your many years on this forum lot's time plumbers don't always agree on things ! !
    But in the upside down world of roots many times they can grow down into the
    top and sides of pipe as while as on the bottom ! !
    If you want to kill out "all" of the roots you must do it one of the ways i posted ! ! !
  20. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
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    I am kind of fond of the roots, I think I will leave them, :) Infact, today I love the roots! They even look purty...

    Here is a Kiss for you... * And an extra one, too... * if you need anymore just let me know, the offer stands for a while here, what a wonderful day today is.
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