When is a belly severe enough to fix?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by CLDarby, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. CLDarby

    CLDarby New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Location:
    Oregon
    Hello. I recently had some backup in my basement through the shower and toilet. After having a plumber come out and snake and video it, there was a clog found that was punched through and everything started working normally again.

    Here is where my lack of experience really comes in. Downstream of the clog the plumber saw 2 spots of maybe 2 feet each where there was some standing water. It looked like in the 4 inch pipe there was maybe water filling the bottom 1 to 1.5 inches. It was hard to tell but anytime the camera would be pulled, you could see a large space above the pooled water that was unfilled.

    He told me these were bellies and I absolutely had to get them fixed for 25 grand.

    Aside from the clog I had (which is now fixed), everything works fine and has worked fine the entire time I've been in the house. The house was built in the 1950s, doubt there has been much done on the house plumbing since then. I've owned the house for 6 years now and planning to sell soon. My assumption is this isn't a recently formed belly and it's probably existed for quite some time.

    My question is
    A) is this even a problem? I'm assuming at some point in a pipes lifetime, it may sag. If it does and causes no problems, does it matter?
    B) if there are no problems with drainage in the house, smells, etc, are there any other criterion to where you would want to fix this? Ie, if the line is full of water and spans 5 or more feet, then fix anyways. For 2 spots of 2 feet and partial fill, is this a must fix item?
    C) for disclosure to the buyer when I sell, what should I do? I don't know anything about plumbing and have a small concern that the plumber was trying to get extra work where there wasn't a problem. I will absolutely disclose, but, I'm worried about "disclosing a non-problem." I have no plumbing knowledge and the buyer probably won't either. I'd hate to raise alarm flags for something which may be benign and normal. The only analogy I can think of is if someone said "your engine gets really hot while running.... we need to add a 25 grand intercooler or your car might explode." Then, a perfectly good car gets flagged for something normal.

    Thanks in advance for your advice!!

    Chris.
     
  2. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    Test, Don't Guess!
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Any belly is a place in the line where the flow slows down and the solids are more likely to fall out of suspension, which can lead to clogs. If this is the first time you have had a problem, you might want to try reducing the amount of TP going into the line, and/or switch to a more soluble brand of paper.
     
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  4. CLDarby

    CLDarby New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Location:
    Oregon
    Thanks for the reply! I will definitely take your advice.... more to the point.. I have told the person who was flushing Clorox wipes to stop! (The clog was basically Clorox wipes). Luckily, the clog was happening upstream of the bellies, just after a bend. The bellies themselves were completely clean, which is why I think they are benign and was a bit shocked by a 25 grand preventative maintenance "must have"

    My pessimism radar went off when the plumber showed me 500 for snake+line inspection as the bill and an additional 300 to hydrojet. When i showed him the online price quoted at 199 for snake+line inspection, he nonchalantly said oh, ok, we can use that price. Any analysis he had after that point was taken with a very very large grain of salt.

    Thx!

    Chris.
     
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    A belly slows down the flow and that can cause things to slow down along the whole line. The majority does tend to fall in the belly, but it depends. 1.5" is a pretty significant belly - that's over 6' of line that isn't sloped properly with the areas nearby also probably slowing things down.
     
  6. Ladiesman217

    Ladiesman217 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Location:
    MA

    One 50 year old drain line clean out in 6 years means that belly is of no consequence. The video inspection found no defects or tree roots in the pipe.

    That plumber was simply trying to fill his belly with cash!

    Wipes should never be disposed of in the toilet.

    http://www.beloitwi.gov/index.asp?T...17}&DE={0DDBFB97-CD61-4DA0-8312-B3159C723B23}

    https://www.wateronline.com/doc/mil...er-clogs-prompts-flushable-wipes-lawsuit-0001

    "These products are becoming notorious for blocking private sewer laterals, public sewer mains, and binding up municipal pumps. Items that specifically list the term flushable (but should NOT be flushed) include diapers and diaper liners, baby wipes, pre-moistened wipes, a wide variety of bathroom cleaning wipes and brushes, feminine hygiene products, toilet seat covers, doggy doo-doo bags, and cat litter," the campaign says."
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    $199 for cleaning a line and doing camera inspection? That guy was planning to do the same bait and switch/swindle thing I expect.
    Yes. I wonder if he switched to swindle mode as part of matching the $199, or if he would have been in that mode for $500. $500 is is a fairly low price to clean the clog and do a photo inspection.
     
  8. CLDarby

    CLDarby New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Location:
    Oregon
    Thanks for the replies everyone! Appreciate all the feedback. Yeah, this company offers $30 line inspection.... With the comments here and reading into their yelp reviews, it seems like their $30 line inspection is priced so low because they are looking for ANYTHING to flag to their customers whether repair/maintenance is needed or not.

    Just for my own sanity, I turned on every water source in my house and let it run for 30 minutes. No issues, backups, slow downs, etc.

    I will disclose these bellies to the buyer when selling my house and explain they have been a non-issue for me so I believe they will be a non-issue for him.

    Thx!

    Chris.
     
  9. themp

    themp Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    My neighbor had his sewer line scoped with a camera and it showed a belly in the line that the city owned from the right of way to the sewer. He reported this to the city, they came out and verified it and said it was a non problem at this point.
     
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    When or if it becomes a problem would depend a lot on the use pattern. On a seldom used line, anything that 'stuck' in the belly could harden, and then, the next time waste went down, slow things even more, allowing more to accumulate. It all just depends. With your use pattern, it appears, if you don't flush things that shouldn't be, you don't have a problem. For some people the lower-flow toilets and water saving shower heads can create some issues while the 'old' stuff worked just fine. When you actually start to use less water, things don't move down the line as far after each use.
     
  11. Michael Young

    Michael Young In the Trades

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    Sep 20, 2016
    Location:
    North Carolina
    .....for 25 grand... WTF. Are the pipes Stainless Steel or Gold
     
  12. Ladiesman217

    Ladiesman217 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Location:
    MA

    That disclosure will be the first disclosure of a plumbing non issue that has ever been made in the world. Why would you disclose a theoretical "issue" when you can not explain what real world the issue is? Do you think that any home inspector has ever inspected drains by any method let alone a camera inspection?

    The flushing of wipes was the "plumbing issue". Either your drain is dependable, or it is not dependable. End of story!
     
  13. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

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    I have seen jobs that cost that, but it was because they were replacing building drains in the section of the town where the sewer main is below 25 feet deep.
     
  14. CLDarby

    CLDarby New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Location:
    Oregon
    Lol, thanks for the advice ladiesman. I guess bottom line is if I was staying in the home, I wouldn't worry about it. I only worry that since someone brought it to my attention, extortionist or not, should I bring it to the attention of the buyer?

    Michael, we actually have diamond layer coated stainless gold, its a new style to add extra expense for us unknowing home owners.... j/k. The 25k quote was for 2 locations which are both in my yard. One was about 10 feet down and the other was 8 feet down. Total distance from end of one to the other is probably about 10 to 12 horizontal feet. There are some electrical lines above one of the locations which may add some difficulty, but, basically, you would be digging up my yard. I can't imagine that would take 25 grand.

    Thanks for all the comments and advice everyone, I really appreciate it!

    Chris.
     
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