Hoping for an Xmas miracle of information/experience/best guess on partially blocked drain pipe

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by IrishSwede, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. IrishSwede

    IrishSwede New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2019
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    You will be my hero if you can get through this and help a desperate father out...4 girls and my wife all sharing one toilet is almost worse than the giant hole in my living room ceiling.

    Back story (can skip...just a rant)
    Our home is 6 years old. We had our 2nd floor toilet clog yesterday and used a plunger to attempt to dislodge the blockage, unfortunately in doing so we inadvertently "popped" the wax ring on the flange and gave our home a new, unexpected, water feature...we are 23 homes and 4 have had issues with the wax rings separating (set below the subfloor).

    The Call out:
    We called roto-rooter. He didn't have a snake on hand. Instead he scoped the line and was able to unblock it using his camera. He found that about 17 ft down the drain and 1 ft before the line drops (from horizontal to vertical) there appeared to be some construction debris in the line. In the image I would say it was obstructing about 1/5 of the pipe (looked like sawdust/small splinters of wood and maybe gypsum dust...when the house was being constructed i saw the drywall guys wash his tools in the sink) with a nice chunk of toilet paper sitting behind it. He suggested we cut out that section and use rubber clamps to splice in a pipe. He tried to charge us $650 for the camera...got it knocked down to $300. He said the other repair would run around $800-$1,200...I flip homes so I know that was extremely high...especially since I would be cutting the ceiling open...so we called another plumber out.

    The Second Opinion:
    The second plumber did not like the idea of compromising the integrity of our line - he said the rubber clamps would hold to get him past his warranty period of 1 year...but said they won't last long term. He suggested we either use a chemical to help break it down or use a rubber bladder to push the blockage down to the vertical part where it could go into the larger sewer line...or worst case would force the blockage into our crawlspace where it joins and he could weld in a new solid pipe.

    Third Opinion:
    This plumber didn't come out (fully booked), but he suggested that we just routinely flush a product called "Instant Power Main Line Cleaner". He said it is 100% safe and designed for even lateral obstructions. He also recommended against cutting out the obstruction unless it was metal or plastic debris. I think I annoyed him at how often I asked "is this safe on lateral ABS piping".

    What do you fine gents think? And thank you so much in advance for the help...this has been an absolute nightmare.
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    That sounds incredible. Incompetent, or worse, I would say.

    Did you get a copy of the camera work? If you are going to get camera work in the future, I would suggest that you negotiate a computer-readable copy of the camera output.

    Is there something that causes you to think that a conventional drain cleaning cutter would not cut thru that?

    What does that mean?

    Rubber clamps? Was he talking about cutting into the pipe, removing the debris, and replacing the cut-out section with rubber couplings? Nothing about that needs to be temporary. Use the right couplings.

    I am not a pro.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
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  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    Is it a wax ring or one of those substitutes? If it blew out, of sorts, it means it wasn't compressed enough but excess pressure from the plunger should have went up the vent pipe. There are flange extenders on the market.

    "The Call out:
    We called roto-rooter. He didn't have a snake on hand. Instead he scoped the line and was able to unblock it using his camera."

    That is what roto-rooter is suppose to be, have snakes and power augers. He wanted to use the camera as to get to charge more. At least you know who not to call on your flips?

    If there was that much debris in the pipe, it's hard to believe it took six years to show itself but a jetter may work for you. I only posted this yesterday on another post. If you have a pressure washer, buy a Clog Hog and use to with the pressure washer. Plenty of YouTubes on it.

    Another is to use a concrete dissolver. Sometime tenants when getting kicked out by the landlord they get revenge by pour cement down the drains. Here is a good article. read #4. https://nuflow.net/how-to-remove-concrete-from-drain-pipes/ Google "concrete dissolver" for products.

    Good luck, at least its not the day before one of your daughters wedding. :)
     
  5. IrishSwede

    IrishSwede New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2019
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Haha yes it could always be much worse...and I was thankfully here to start cutting all the walls and ceiling open as soon as it happened.

    He actually told me to snake the line it would be $861 plus tax (which I don't believe for a second).

    I already installed the flange extender, first thing I did this morning...I helped install them in all 4 of my neighbors that had issues as well.

    I am going to look at the clog hog, I hope that is the answer to this whole nightmare. One question though...when I asked the roto guy about blowing out my line he said that I would risk flooding again? But if the current clog is gone and it's just that debris I should be fine? Also is tossing rid-x or anything down to help breakup toilet paper beneficial for maintenance? 5 females in the house = lots of TP
     
  6. IrishSwede

    IrishSwede New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2019
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    No, he was none to happy that I refused to pay what he was asking, but I knew it was high. I did call Roto today and asked if I could get an image of it...hopefully they have it.

    Personally I would imagine a drain cleaning cutter may work, but it looked like sludge so I am not sure if it would?

    As for the flange comment...I mean 4 of 23 homes in our community have had leaking issues because they installed the flange on the subfloor then added a cork layer, but did not adjust the flange height...they did on some, but not others.

    And Yes he said use rubber couplers...the other 2 said to leave the pipe alone and tried and force it to the larer sewer line or use a chemical to dissolve it or any future TP dams. The one didn't like to reccomend products and the other suggested the "Instant Power Main Line Cleaner".
     
  7. IrishSwede

    IrishSwede New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2019
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    I am sorry I forgot to ask, but what PSI is recommended? Will my gas powered one be overkill or should I get and electric one just in case (was thinking of getting one anyways).
     
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Sludge sounds like easier to deal with than roots.

    That Clog Hog idea sounds good, if you or a friend has a strong pressure washer.

    Ahh.. Well, blowing out the wax would imply the problem was a clogged drain line rather than a clogged toilet. Did you ever get backup into the shower or tub?

    Trying to force things downstream is OK.

    If you go into the pipe via ceiling or wall, the normal repair is a pair of shielded rubber coupling to restore the cut-out sections. If you can run a snake or tape measure in there, and feel the obstruction, cutting out a section may not be such a bad idea. Take pictures. I am still thinking that a good drain cleaner person could likely clean that out. I guess it could be something like an electrical cable drilled thru the pipe accidentally and hanging stuff up on the cable. You could put up an access cover temporarily, and do drywall the next time you are painting. https://www.homedepot.com/s/access%20panel?NCNI-5

    I would want an experienced drain specialist, and not a franchise. Tell him what you know. Click Inbox, above.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
  9. IrishSwede

    IrishSwede New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2019
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Yes the issue started with the shower not draining properly followed by the toilets "gurgling".

    I called around and most just run the snake and the charge is only $100-$150 (far cry from Roto's $800). The issue is they just run a snake and when I mentioned debris (which I am now thinking may be grout from when we had our shower tiled) they said anything more than a snake would cost extra..but wouldn't specify a cost which is how I ended up almost paying for a 30 minute camera job. I am going to look into the clog hog.

    We also just screwed down the flooring in an area over the drain...but the drain should be sloped downward closer to the wall (I would assume?) and it is low enough at the midpoint that any screws would miss...so unless they raised the pipe?
     
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Fair enough. At least they wouldn't be doing the bait and switch in advance of doing the work, right? If they are upselling you before they do what they said they were going to do, then that is not the person you want to deal with. For $150, I predict success.

    An experienced person can tell a lot by feel. I would go that route.
     
  11. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    The clog hog site asks the psi of your pressure washer. I believe they have two different nozzles to match the psi. I have a 2700 psi @ 3 gallons per minute. I bought the 50 ft length and it really works good. If it is dried out grout, etc, not sure of it can cut through it but it is quite impressive the single thin jet of water cutting forward and three jets going backward to pull the nozzle through. If anything you probably use it for your flipping business.
    I grew up with three sisters and mom and the biggest problem was hair plugging thing up.

     
  12. DIYorBust

    DIYorBust Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2019
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    If you blew out the wax ring, you're probably planning to pull the toilet anyway right? For 800+ dollars, you may was well just buy a professional snake for the job, although you can probbably get away with a unit that costs a lot less than that. Call around and see if anyway is willing to snake it for 150-300 which I think would be more reasonable. Grout should yield pretty easily to a good snake.
     
  13. IrishSwede

    IrishSwede New Member

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    Jan 15, 2019
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    I just ordered it and yes I was thinking the exact same thing...usually my snake is plenty, but sometimes on the older homes I have to spend a small fortune for them to come clear out the lines. Is there any risk it would flood back up and over the flange?
     
  14. IrishSwede

    IrishSwede New Member

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    Jan 15, 2019
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    The clog is gone, but I can still feel something on the line at about 17ft down...sandy...I just dont want to put on both my toilets and get a clog next year or something.
     
  15. IrishSwede

    IrishSwede New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2019
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    Just an Update, and curious what you knowledgeable folks think it could be. I jetted the line from both toilets and the water moved easily through. I replaced the one toilet and still no issue...shower drained fine and everything...then I placed the second toilet on and suddenly the issue returned. They have our DWV tied into the pipe for the tub overflow...is it possible our DWV is the culprit?
     
  16. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    DWV is probably not the term you are looking for.
    DWV refers to use for drain, waste, and vent application.
     
  17. IrishSwede

    IrishSwede New Member

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    Jan 15, 2019
    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    I am referring to the Vent Pipe
     

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  18. Philip s Hernandez

    Philip s Hernandez New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2020
    Location:
    Toronto
    Hi, last month I bought a house. I planned to do some maintenance and cleaning work in the new house and notice some issues with the drainage. That was a vacant possession for a long time. I tried to sort out the problem, but it's tough. If the issue continues like this, it will be a significant burden. What can I do in this situation? If it is not much trouble, please share your suggestion
     

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