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Old 06-01-2011, 07:20 PM   #1
DeSotoSteve
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Default Under-slab sewer leak

I started a thread a couple of weeks ago about a possible leak in my sewer pipes under my slab. Thanks to the help I got here, I was able to perform my own static pressure test for less than $50 (inflatable ball and air hose). I confirmed that I have a leak. Not only did I observe a water level drop, but I also saw water seeping through the brick veneer below the slab level.

A plumbing company is coming out tomorrow morning to discuss options and cost estimates. My research thus far suggests they'll probably want to run a camera and, depending on success, possibly start isolating sections of the system. Then, they'll probably talk about digging holes in my floors.

Some questions for you experts:
1. Can you give me some idea of "reasonable costs?" for locating the leak--the camera, isolation process, time?
2. How do you typically determine the price for the repair? I'm sure it's based on a time estimate, but what can I expect?
3. How do you guys feel about pipe re-lining? The house is only 9 years old so the sewer pipes are all PVC. Is re-lining even an option for PVC?

Any advice/insight is appreciated.

Thanks,
Steve



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Old 06-01-2011, 09:58 PM   #2
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I think we should answer the questions in bite-size chunks as we go. Let's start with the camera inspection. Some companies will do it for free in the hopes of getting the sewer repair/replacement job. Otherwise, expect anywhere from $225 to $500 for an inspection and location service.
If your sewer is PVC and it has broken and is leaking you may have a more serious issue than first thought. Primarily, the sewer may not have been backfilled properly. In this situation, more of the sewer will continue to shift over time and shear the pipe/fittings. It would be best to wait until the camera inspection is complete to see if evidence of 'bellies' or 'humps' inside the pipe are visible.
Secondary is that the fittings may not have been glued. This could also be the case throughout the sewer and leaks will continue to get worse as supporting soil is washed out from around the pipe. Again, let's wait for the camera inspection before drawing too many conclusions.



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Old 06-02-2011, 01:05 AM   #3
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The most common reason for under slab drainage leaks that I run into is damage, usually from the concrete contractor driving form stakes into the pipe.

That said, it would be real hard to give an estimate for time or pricing on something like this. There is no way to know how many leaks you might have or where the leaks are located. It might take considerable time with the camera to even locate the leak, or it might be located on the first trip down the line. And then there is no telling how long it might take to get to the leak and fix it.

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Old 06-02-2011, 03:58 PM   #4
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I would call around and get 3 estimates, no use paying a plumber to camera and locate a line if they dont get a job, even though the floor is marked, the new plumber doing the job will tell you, ill dig it up, HOWEVER if the problem is not here, i cant be responsible for xtra cost... try to get each plumber to camera the line for free in hopes to get the job, just be clear on this to them, tell them money is on your mine (be polite) and in most cases the plumber will help you out. good luck with your job, and remember the small ads = lower prices and the BIG ads = BIG $$$
Good Luck

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Old 06-02-2011, 04:01 PM   #5
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as far as price, expect to pay at least $1000-$2000 a day for repairs...

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Old 06-02-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Another-Plumber View Post
I would call around and get 3 estimates, no use paying a plumber to camera and locate a line if they dont get a job, even though the floor is marked, the new plumber doing the job will tell you, ill dig it up, HOWEVER if the problem is not here, i cant be responsible for xtra cost... try to get each plumber to camera the line for free in hopes to get the job, just be clear on this to them, tell them money is on your mine (be polite) and in most cases the plumber will help you out. good luck with your job, and remember the small ads = lower prices and the BIG ads = BIG $$$
Good Luck
I agree with everything this guy says except the part about the cost of Ads. As a small company (10 employees) we pay BIG $$$ads so we can create awareness and beat the shonks out there. BIG $$ads also mean that the company have the resources to fix any problems that they may incur. "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR".
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:44 PM   #7
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Oh and yes - it is possible to LINE a pipe that is PVC - any type of pipe depending on the diameter. Also, if you have 2 access points then your floor will not have to be dug up if you choose PipeLining, however we are in Sydney, Australia so not sure on the quality of your 'Lining' Companies where you are.

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Old 06-03-2011, 02:08 AM   #8
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pipelining may also be an option, check into it

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Old 06-03-2011, 05:59 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the great advice. One company came out yesterday and told me they'd camera the line for $400. However, if they couldn't see the problem with the camera and had to start isolating sections, the cost would be $1292. His estimate for the actual repair seemed to be in the area of about $1500 per day.

I spoke with another compoany that said their camera charge is $300 but they'd apply half of it to the repair if I let them fix it. Of couse, I suppose they could just jack the cost of the repair by $150 if they wanted to. So far, I haven't been able to find anyone who is willing to find the leak for free in hopes of getting the repair job. I guess I'm leaning toward the $300 guy and will hope that he's honest about applying half to the repair cost.

Thanks again for all the great comments.

Steve

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Old 06-04-2011, 06:38 AM   #10
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yea, steve, let them drop the price on you and tell them of the other offers... im sure the price stands even if you let the plumber walk out the door...



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