Annual Problem

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by rennellsmc, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. rennellsmc

    rennellsmc New Member

    Jan 27, 2010
    Muskegon, Michigan
    Our house was built in 1932, to my knowledge no pipe replacements have been made. Each year (in the Winter of course) our Kitchen sink drain starts to slow. We pour drain cleaner in (Usually RID but have used others at times) and over a week or two we start to notice other drains slowing. Eventually the toilet starts to clog. Plunging the toilet by this time often brings "stuff" (looks like mud, I will be happier believing that is all it is but have a sneaky suspicion it isn't) out of the drain in the laundry room, this drain is the lowest drain in the house and sits in the floor.
    Over the last 4 years now this has happened. Each time the plumber that comes out has a different explaination of what happened. We have heard everything from Tampons in the line to Root Blockage. Last year he plumber came out stating root blockage and that he cut them out. He wanted an additional $275.00 to put in a Clean Out on the "main line" (I am trying to remember what he told me last February). Since we had just spent $2500.00, it simply wasn't going to happen then and he said that he could come back when ever we are ready.
    This entire process has started again this year and we need to have it checked out again. My issue now is obviously the cost. $1000 to $3000 each year over the last 4 years and now we will have to do it again. Any ideas what I am looking at/for? What to tell them? Is this something I can do myself? If I need a clean-out added (from all I can see, I do) can I do this? I can dig a hole just like they can but what else is involved/needs to happen? Last year when he fixed/cleaned the pipe, he had to "break in" and then "scabbed" it.
    I am looking for anything right now, any idea's?
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    IF you are spending thousands of dollars EACH time the sewer is serviced, WHAT are they doing? "Breaking" and "Scabbing" the pipe sounds like he was either trying to "dazzle you with his brilliance", or "baffle you with his B.S." because I have NEVER heard those terms in over 60 years as a plumber. IF the EXTREME costs are caused by the lack of a cleanout, and I would have to do my own inspection to be sure you DO NOT already have one somewhere, then you should definitely have one installed, but maybe NOT by that particular plumber.
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  4. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Aug 9, 2009
    If there are roots in the line as stated then there must be a broken line to allow the roots to enter. Until that is repaired the problem will recurs as the root regrow after snaking the line.

  5. Bosun

    Bosun New Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    The costs here are insane, if you are describing everything accurately. What exactly is the plumber doing? I live in an old house, and I hire a local drain guy to clean the main line out to the street every year. He brings in a large device, opens up the clean-out in the laundry room, and proceeds to make a lot of noise and mess by cutting out the roots that grow every year. This costs about $150 per year. This is a preventative, in hope of avoiding brown mud in my basement on Christmas.

    In my previous old house, the line in the front yard collapsed--this required them to dig a deep hole in my yard to repair/replace a 5-6 foot section of my old clay tile pipe from 1920. This cost a bit over $2000.

    Are they breaking into your sewe line every year? How are they getting access? Dealing with old sewer lines can be a drag, but you can make it a lot easier on yourself.
  6. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Architect

    Aug 31, 2004
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    I'd hire someone with a sewer camera and then you'll know where the problems are. Then you could dig and repair if you were so inclined. Last time I had a sewer smaked it was $75 for about 45 min of work... Not bad at all, and certainly not like your bills.
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