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Old 12-31-2013, 10:16 PM   #1
akaris
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Default Can a gurgling toilet resolve itself?

We have plenty of trees around our house, and the roots have snaked their way into the big plumbing pipe that carries our sewage into the main line in the street. So, we get that line routed out about 1x/year. The guy who does it finds lots of thin tree roots. Takes a long time, but he always clears it out.

In the past, when this has happened, we knew there was a problem because our toilets would start to gurgle "glug, glug, glug," complete with bubbles) and nasty sewage would bubble out of the bathtub.

Last time this happened was this past Halloween. Our drain guy came, cleared it out, voila, finished. The same time, we also had a stopped-up kitchen sink. Our plumber came, cleared out a lot of gunk, and the sink drained just fine.

All was well until a couple of days ago when the toilet gurgled, just once. I went to the side of the house to look at the "line" (don't know the correct word for this, but there's a pipe sticking up from the ground, and when you unscrew the top, you can see how well the water/sewage is flowing to the street line.). Anyway, when I looked, there was dirty water rising up to the top of the pipe.

I called the above-mentioned drain guy. About 5 hours later, he came, and all was well. No problems. Water/sewage running just fine, and he had us run the inside water for a long time, with the sump pump emptying twice. No problems.

Today, 4 days later, I was at the kitchen sink when, out of the blue, it got sluggish. At the same time, I heard the dreaded noise of the toilet gurgling. Like the last time, it gurgled only once. When I checked the outside pipe thingy about 20 minutes later, it was running fine, and the toilet hasn't gurgled again. The kitchen sink is also draining normally now.

So, I'm wondering: can the blockages that cause the gurgling resolve themselves, as these seem to have? It's very cold here now, about 10 degrees - could the weather be a factor? And, we have an unused jar of RootX on hand - should we dump that down the drain -will it help?

I appreciate your reading this and any advice you might offer!



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Old 01-02-2014, 01:40 PM   #2
Caduceus
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These problems do not resolve themselves and only tend to get worse.
Some plumbers will continue to snake the sewer for months, even years and never recommend a long term solution until the sewer can no longer be cleared.
As roots grow, they will cause more of a separation of the pipe where they come in. Sewage water that seeps out of the openings will also wash away supporting soil and shifting of the pipe will occur. You can then experience more clogging from other drainage because the pipes no longer have a consistent flow line. If pipe is terracotta/clay pipe it will crack and break leaving chunks of mud and pipe in the sewer.
Ask your plumber for a camera service and if he cannot provide it, check with other plumbers in your area to see what services they provide.
A recommendation to repair or replace the sewer will probably follow a camera inspection. If this is the case, get as much information as possible and expect to get three or more estimates with detailed explanation of the work.
When using root killing chemicals there is always a chance that a group of roots will come loose and reclog a recently serviced sewer. Depending on the cost of the services already provided, a repair or replacement may save you money over the long run.
Hydro-jetting may be needed to properly camera and locate the problems in the sewer, but not always. It is also not a long term solution and should not be considered a yearly required maintenance service like cabling the sewer. If the problem is that bad, it needs to be fixed.



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Old 01-02-2014, 03:00 PM   #3
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I've been in the drain business for 10 years and have seen similar situations a hand full of times.
I have had calls from customers that there sewer line is backed up and by the time I arrive a couple hours later, the line had cleared on its own. Like I said it's only happened like that a few times.
Normally when it's plugged, it's plugged and snaking is the only fix.
But on these few occasions I think the head pressure behind the clog may have been enough to clear it.
However, in these situations a blockage will more than likely reoccur In the near future
Matt

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Old 01-05-2014, 02:15 AM   #4
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[QUOTE=Caduceus;50616]These problems do not resolve themselves and only tend to get worse.


Thank you! But now we're in a bind: the toilet gurgled again today, and when we checked out the line in the yard, sure enough, sewage had seeped up and over. It's been several hours with no more gurgling. We are going easy on water/flushing/washing, and hoping this will ease up on seepage.

BUT, today here in northwest Indiana, we're in the middle of a big snow today and tomorrow. Then, Monday and Tuesday are going to be sub-zero, dangerously so. We can get someone to come out and rod the line again, but in this cold weather, can they do whatever deeper work needs to be done?

I remember reading, or hearing, somewhere something like: "Woe to you if you have an overflowing sewer in the dead of winter!" and now we're all kind of freaking out.

Do you have any advice for us until we can get the guy here in a couple of days? Thank you!

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Old 01-05-2014, 08:50 PM   #5
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I'm assuming you have an exterior clean out in the yard for the sewer line?
Obviously the line needs to be snaked / cleared. I would definitely go light on the water usage til you can get a drain guy there.
You could try a pressure bag that can be bought at Home Depot or Lowes.
You attach it to a garden hose and slide it down in the clean out into the horizontal run 3-4 feet, then crank on the water. It swells up and pushes water forward and dosent allow it to come back in some cases pushing out the clog. May be worth a try? If roots is the issue, this isn't a real fix, but it may get it cleared til you can get someone there?
Matt

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Old 01-07-2014, 01:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedrainguy View Post
I'm assuming you have an exterior clean out in the yard for the sewer line?
Obviously the line needs to be snaked / cleared. I would definitely go light on the water usage til you can get a drain guy there.
You could try a pressure bag that can be bought at Home Depot or Lowes.
You attach it to a garden hose and slide it down in the clean out into the horizontal run 3-4 feet, then crank on the water. It swells up and pushes water forward and dosent allow it to come back in some cases pushing out the clog. May be worth a try? If roots is the issue, this isn't a real fix, but it may get it cleared til you can get someone there?
Matt
Thanks for this advice! Yes, we have an outside clean-out. This morning, in minus 15 degree weather, a guy from the local plumber routed out the drain. He also ran a camera down the line, and I could see on the screen as he did that there were few roots, but that the line seemed uneven in some spots, probably settled through the 45+years of the house, and from roots. He also mentioned that he felt there was some break in the line near the "tap" just before our line emptied into the town main line. He did clear out some "stuff", which he suspected might be toilet tissue that got stuck (some folks in our house use LOT of TP). So now, we're treading lightly. This blasted line has backed up so many times in the last 7-8 years that we're willing to spend a couple of thousand dollars to get a whole new line put in. Problem is that its sub-zero temps here and we'll have to wait for the thaw ... which could be months. We're going to put all TP in the garbage (vs flushing it) until we can get the work done. In all this, I can't help but think that the old out-house wasn't such a bad idea, after all ...


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