Drain Line Partial Clog

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by Joseph Myers, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. Joseph Myers

    Joseph Myers New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2019
    Location:
    Alabama
    All, I have been having some pretty critical drain line issues for about a month now. This happened once before, maybe a year ago, and the problem fixed itself overnight. Now it's back. Assuming I haven't drained anything recently, I can flush the toilets three or four times, at which point they back up and will slowly drain down over the next several hours. I have used about 64 oz of Zep Drain Care so far trying to unclog, with no success. I plan to try Zep Root Kill tonight, as I do have a large pine tree out front near the main water line.

    The original pipes on the house are cast iron, and the drain line is PVC in one place (according to a snake cam). Here is the video:


    Roto says there is a belly in the line, but I'm not sure I agree, based on the way the pipes perform. Could a belly cause this much stoppage? I think it would have to be a belly plus buildup, which I thought I had solved with the Drain Care. Roto (and others) quoted me almost $3000 to replace the line, which is why I'm here. What other options do I have?

    Thank you for your help.
     
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida Broad-Wing Hawk

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    Cannot see much on that video but it does look like there is a lot of standing water. You cannot tell if it ever got to the street connection.

    The bottom line is cast iron does not last forever and using chemicals is a waste of money. For the most part there should not be any water standing in the pipe. There might be some at the joints but two thing work against it. Tree roots will not only penetrate CI but they also lift the pipe and the other is settlement, so you lose the slope. If the connection (assume) at the street is clear your plumber is most likely right. Having a section of PVC states that this was a problem before before you owned the home.

    About the last thing you can do is to use a Clog Hog if there is blockage near the street. It means spending a few hundred dollars depending on the length you need and renting a pressure washer if you do not have one. https://www.cloghog.com/ . If you go this route be sure to have a wand with a 22mm fitting.

    You paid this plumber to check out your drain line and came up with a viable solution, don't spend more money unless it is to fix the problem, do not try the cheap way out because it will happen again. If the money part hurts it is why there are banks to get a loan. You didn't say how long of a run it is but $3k seems very reasonable. You can check up on his license usually at the state level and ask for a copy of his insurance for the business. A permit is probably required and he'll have dump fees to unload the old CI pipe. If he bucks use someone else. You may want consider removing that pine tree.
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Most people throw the old pipe, at least with clay pipe, on top of the new pipe before closing the pit.

    I wonder if there is scrap value in old dirty CI.

    Joseph: Did the "Roto" guys try to clear the line?

    That video is really poor. How much did they want you to pay to get a good copy?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  5. Joseph Myers

    Joseph Myers New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2019
    Location:
    Alabama
    It's about 30ft from the front of the house to the street, so I feel like $3k is high. In the crawl space there are two or three large-ish drain line that head to the side of the house and presumably merge together underground. It's not clear if the sewer line is taking the shortest route to the street. I have been digging a 2ft trench around the front with no success (other than some large white rocks -- maybe limestone).

    I had some drain cleaners come out with an auger and blade and clear up the sewer line. Notably they reached a point where the auger was stuck and unable to turn. They immediately backed it out, saying that means there is for sure a disjoint in the pipe. Furthermore, they found mud on the end of the blade -- apparently this means the pipe is completely broken.

    For now things are draining without apparent issue. I am having another guy come out to help me locate the where the line is, but maybe I should just bite the bullet and replace.
     
  6. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida Broad-Wing Hawk

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    All sounds that a section of CI pipe broke or collapsed. Once the mud fills in the broken section again, you be right back where you started again. As I have told a lot of friends and family when household maintenance and issues come up, "So you want to be a homeowner"!
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Yeah, it happens when we remember prices from the old days, and inflation has happened.
     
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