What would you do?

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by iwillattemptanything, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. iwillattemptanything

    iwillattemptanything New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Stratford, CT
    I haven't had any backup problems in any of my drain lines. I am adding a 1/2 bath in my basement and after cutting into the horizontal Cast Iron Drain line under my basement slab I noticed a bunch of goop so I figured while I have direct access I should have it cleaned out. I had Roto Rooter out today to snake my main sewer line to the street. I guess I should have read some of the threads here before calling RR but we all make mistakes.

    The guy snaked the cast iron drain line and found no roots or obstructions and then ran a camera through the line to the city sewer. The pipe was good for about 10-15 feet from were he started the camera then there was water for about 3 - 4 feet and then clean pipe. He said that my Cast Iron pipe was sagging where there is water and I need to dig it up and replace it. Does this sound right?
  2. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    Messages:
    1,317
    Location:
    SW Florida
    Sitting water would indicate a belly in the line. As far as replacement, is hasn't given you problems yet, it might not ever. Replacement is up to you.

    Did you get a copy of the video? Is your line cast iron all the way, usually there's a transition to another pipe type. Could you (or the RR guy) tell if the line was in good shape all the way?
  3. iwillattemptanything

    iwillattemptanything New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Stratford, CT
    I didn't get a DVD. I viewed on the screen while the guy was here.

    The RR guy said the line was good(no roots etc.) other than the area where the water was collecting. He said that if water is collecting then other stuff could collect and cause future problems.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Hi iwillattemptanything,

    While any belly in a line is not a good thing there are varying degrees of bad...

    3-4' of belly if fairly minor in terms of length...

    The unknown factor is how deep the belly is. The camera resting on the bottom of the pipe can have the lense completely covered by water that is only about 1/2-3/4" of water. The manufacturer makes a variety of attachments that raise the camera off the bottom of the pipe that if used may have given a indicator of how deep the water in the belly was....

    The longer the length and the deeper the water in the belly the more problematic the belly will be.

    I suspect the Roto Rooter tech had the camera laying on the bottom of the pipe.

    Not having previous problems indicate that your problem may not be all that severe.

    It is a pity the camera was not done by someone without a vested interest in the repair work...
  5. Nate R

    Nate R New Member

    Messages:
    472
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Me? I would've had it snaked as well.

    Depending on the depth of the water, I may do more. More than likely I'd leave it alone and use Bio-Clean every so often if it hasn't been a problem in the past.

    (What was the goop? Backup from the belly? Just waste buildup? Grease?)
  6. iwillattemptanything

    iwillattemptanything New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Stratford, CT
    The goop in the pipe was black so it was difficult to determine exactly what it was.

    The only reason I am leaning toward tearing up the concrete and replacing the pipe is that I am finishing the basement and will be putting down flooring over the slab. I know I would regret if I had to tear up a finished room in 10yrs because I avoided some extra work now.

    I guess the real question would be are the other options(using chemicals and snaking it if there is a clog) viable or will this belly progressively get worse.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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

    Without a lot more information about the pipe I would not make any recommendation. Breaking the floor to access the pipe will only help IF the pipe beyond the low spot is deep enough to restore the proper slope. IF the standing water is because that pipe is too high, then you will have to continue breaking floor and digging pipe until you reach a spot where it will work, and depending on bad it is, that could be a long ways. I had one where that spot was 600' from the building. ANd even then, I could only give it the least acceptable slope.
  8. iwillattemptanything

    iwillattemptanything New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Stratford, CT
    The question still stands

    If you were me and had limited plumbing knowlwedge would you:

    The pipe is cast iron where visable and is 50 yrs old. I have 4 ft currently exposed which does slope at least the minimum 1/8" per ft. I have been in the house for 3 yrs and have had no drainage issues.From my stack to the city sewer is about 90 - 100 ft.


    A:take your chances and use chemicals periodically
    B:Call in a plumber explain the situation and have him diagnose? If so what questions should be asked?
    C:Dig up the concrete myself and relace the cast iron with pvc.


    Thanks for your replies.
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Personally I'd forget its there unless it rears its ugly head as a problem.
    Then you know what the problem is...

    If it turns out to be a problem the answer as HJ said is really hard to determine how much of the line needs to be dug up and redone. What would probably be needed is some intensive camera and locating work to determine the exact depths of the line, so you can determine the best directions and distances that need to be dug up and replaced in order to correct the problem.

    Correcting the problem could be as simple as replacing 3 or 4 feet or, as difficult as replacing the whole line and in some cases the whole line cannot be pitched correctly and the answer is installing a pump station.
  10. Doherty Plumbing

    Doherty Plumbing Journeyman & Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    810
    Location:
    Penticton, BC
    If you're worried about it as much as wondering if it will be a problem 10 years down the road I'd dig it up and replace it.
  11. jamescorner

    jamescorner New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    new jercy
    Contact a plumber to come out this problem.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,825
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Without a tape or DVD of the video inspection, a plumber CANNOT do anything, unless he repeats the video inspection which could be another $300 +/-.

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