Are roots in old pipes probably why toilets overflow?

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by lovetheweb, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. lovetheweb

    lovetheweb New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2018
    Location:
    san jose, california
    I live in a 60 year house with the original pipes. I have 2 toilets that periodically don't flush and sometimes overflow! One of the two is much worse than the other. This has been going on for over 10 years! I cannot remember ever having the pipes "augured."

    I just made an appointment for Roto-Rooter to come out tomorrow to use their auger only, no cameras.

    I know it will cost several hundred dollars (here in California) and I hope there will not be problems for a year or two?

    One of the two toilets is over 44 years old, the other is newer but wasn't a brand new one when I bought it (got at recycle junk yard :).

    A friend said she had the same problem and had good luck with this product -
    http://www.roebic.com/foaming-root-killer.shtml

    Any advice on this subject would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
    Ginny
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Since you are in California, there may even be a cleanout outside at the upstream end. Also, rodding through a vent on the roof may be a good move. Pulling a toilet is the obvious choice, and expect a charge for putting that back. Click Inbox above.

    Be skeptical of any upsell. Pre-determine that you will not contract for more under duress.

    Getting the lines cleaned is a good idea. Roots are one possibility, but there are others. If roots is the problem, expect roots to come up on the rodding tool.

    If you really have a root problem, there is a different foaming root killer people have spoken well of. Your problem may not be roots.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
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  4. lovetheweb

    lovetheweb New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2018
    Location:
    san jose, california
     
  5. lovetheweb

    lovetheweb New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2018
    Location:
    san jose, california
    Thank you for your ideas on this. I really want to understand and then fix whatever is causing this most annoying issue!

    Since you are in California, there may even be a cleanout outside at the upstream end.
    Would that be at ground level?

    Also, rodding through a vent on the roof may be a good move.
    Is there a vent there for sure?

    Pulling a toilet is the obvious choice, and expect a charge for putting that back.
    I am planning to replace the toilet once this issue is solved. Pulling the toilet would allow them to view that area I assume so I guess I need to allow that?

    Click Inbox above.
    What do you mean by "inbox above?"


    I just made an appointment for Roto-Rooter to come out tomorrow to use their auger only, no cameras.

    I know it will cost several hundred dollars (here in California) and I hope there will not be problems for a year or two?
    Be skeptical of any upsell. Pre-determine that you will not contract for more under duress.

    Getting the lines cleaned is a good idea. Roots are one possibility, but there are others. If roots is the problem, expect roots to come up on the rodding tool. I would love to know what other possibilities might be.

    If you really have a root problem, there is a different foaming root killer people have spoken well of.
    Do you now the name of the product or what it does or shall I look around this site?


    Your problem may not be roots........I would love to know what other causes there might be and what to do about them. This may be more detail you want to deal with and that's ok, I can search the web.

    Thanks so much!
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    There is a vent somewhere on the roof, but leave that up to the drain cleaner. I only mentioned that so that you don't find it alarming. Ideally the person doing your house will be familiar with the construction in your neighborhood.

    That gives them a big hole to rod through, and you can be sure that will get to the place that is causing your main problem.

    img_click_inbox2.png Up by your username and above the Search box.

    Look around, but it might be Root-X or RootX. But wait until you find more. The rodding may do all you need.

    I am not a plumber or other pro. Somebody could have been flushing "flushable wipes". Somebody might have gotten a strange solid in the plumbing somehow.
     
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    In many places, Roto-Rooter is run by a franchise, and may not be your most economical choice. They do pay a fair amount of money to the national organization for advertising and franchise fees...that's why a local plumber may be a better choice.

    Roots only happen if the pipe actually has a leak...they grow towards moisture, and there should not be any outside of the pipe unless it's leaking.

    Pipes could collapse for various reasons, and could get deposits on the inside that being rough, can trap things like toilet paper or other waste. Maybe a bigger issue is if it does not have the proper slope.

    Running a cutter head through the pipe may not resolve your problem. They can tell if they hit roots, but why they are there is the next big thing that needs to be resolved.
     
  8. lovetheweb

    lovetheweb New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2018
    Location:
    san jose, california
    Thank you for your ideas!


    In many places, Roto-Rooter is run by a franchise, and may not be your most economical choice. They do pay a fair amount of money to the national organization for advertising and franchise fees...that's why a local plumber may be a better choice.
    It seems lik RR would be more reliable, because of the name but I guess that isn’t so. Finding a local plumber will take more time but I do want this done right and for an appropriate cost, not more.


    Roots only happen if the pipe actually has a leak...they grow towards moisture, and there should not be any outside of the pipe unless it's leaking.
    I have heard that roots can go in at junctions where two pipes meet.

    Pipes could collapse for various reasons, and could get deposits on the inside that being rough, can trap things like toilet paper or other waste. Maybe a bigger issue is if it does not have the proper slope.

    Running a cutter head through the pipe may not resolve your problem. They can tell if they hit roots, but why they are there is the next big thing that needs to be resolved.
    Do you recommend “running the cutter head through the pipe as the first step?”

    Thank you again! Ginny
     
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    A good operator can detect some issues with the pipe by feel. Not all of them are good! It won't hurt to run the snake through the line, but it could go right through with no observed issues. If that's the case, the maybe better step would be to run a camera down the line. Again, a good operator can tell you things like if the slope is proper, if the pipe is intact, and, if there are any breaks, bellies (standing water/waste) or reverse slope, and, where those problems are located.

    Some toilets are just dogs, and don't work well, even when new. You can get a better idea of the line would be to get a big pail of water and pour it down the toilet. If it all goes down well, there's probably not a clog in the line. If it doesn't, it could be an issue with the toilet itself, or the line. Do you have problems with other drains in the house?

    Some pipes have more joints than others. Something like clay pipes may be the worst, as there's lots of joints and the mortar leaves a lot of chance for errors, and leaks. Cast iron can be fine, but a leaded joint if things get moved around, can weep. PVC, if installed well, doesn't leak at the joints as they are essentially chemically welded together, but the pipe is a bit more fragile. While not really used much anymore, there are some other types of pipe that could have been used. Having a big truck run over the pipe, depending on how deep they run, could cause the pipe to be crushed. Again roots aren't generally an issue unless the pipe leaks, but that could be at a joint that has failed, or a crack in the pipe caused by who knows what, or just poor workmanship when the thing was installed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
  10. hj

    hj Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    UNLESS you are sure you have a "stoppage" problem, and an "occassional" toilet backup is NOT an indication of one, "augering" the sewer may be an exercise in futility and do absolutely nothing to cure your symptoms. When you have a toilet problem HOW do you cure it, since a problem with roots does NOT cure itself?IN most cases if you have a problem with roots, a problem with one toilet also causes the same problem with all the others on the same floor level. Your real problem could just be the toilets you have.
     
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