What to expect - Roots in the Drain

Discussion in 'Drain and Sewer Cleaning' started by litleclay, Jan 23, 2012.

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  1. Jan 23, 2012 #1

    litleclay

    litleclay

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    Hey all,

    I've spent a few hours reading some old posts and various things around the good ole interwebs.

    We have a root issue in our sewer drain. Pipes are cast iron to the yard and then clay pipes.

    about 2 months ago we had a drain back up so we had a roto rooter type guy come out and found quite a few roots. He recommended snaking it every 6 months. Last week it backed up again, so this time we called a plumber in case the issue was more severe. They snaked the drain and planned on running a camera a few days later. I wasn't there for the camera today, so this is all relayed from my wife. Looks like the root issue is pretty bad at the joints, but the rest is in good shape. My questions:

    We paid $325 for a snake and camera. I expected them to clean much of the roots, not just get it to pass water. Was this expecting too much?

    The culprits (I assume) are two trees in our front yard that the drain runs by. There are a couple other trees in neighbors yards, but not very close to the property lines at all (probably 40-50 feet from the drain line). We're having those two trees removed in the next few weeks. If we remove the trees, kill the root systems, run some rootx, would that be a good solution?

    Second question - everyone seems to have copies of their drain cam. We didn't get one...is that the norm?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  2. Jan 23, 2012 #2

    johnjh2o

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    If your getting root infiltration then the pipe has breaks in either the joints or the pipe it self. The only real cure is to replace the line.

    John
     
  3. Jan 23, 2012 #3

    Another-Plumber

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    the above statement is true, however if you are NOT able to afford this type of work, i offer this as an option, i cable the line with full set of blades and camera the line, i keep doing this over and over until i get all or most of the roots out of the line, then i will add root-x to kill off any strands of roots still hanging around.. then at this point i recommend to cable once a year before the holidays just to prevent back up ( maintenance), roots will still grow into your pipe so you must do this, it kinda like shaving once a year.... i havent seen your pipe, so if any sections are crushed or disconected, the only way to to replace.. i charge about $500 for the above service just so you can compare the two.. hope you can find a plumber in your area to do option 2, if you go that route...
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  4. Jan 24, 2012 #4

    litleclay

    litleclay

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    Yeah, replacement would be the best option, however I found out a bit more details:

    The house use to have a septic tank so the sewer line goes into the back yard about 15 feet, and then 15 feet over into the neighbors yard. it's about a foot into their yard (under the driveway) when it meets directly with their line and then t's out to the street about 60 feet or so.

    Basically - the ONLY portion that has ever been snaked or scoped is the 30 feet into the neighbor's yard. From there its impossible to get anything down that T. Also, the house next door is a low income rental home. We know the owner, a man in his 70's that's thinking of selling the property. No way will he EVER front costs for this kind of work. At most we can replace our 30 feet but what then?

    I called the city permits office where they have a couple men that works as plumbers for 30+ years. They said our best bet with the information we have is to cut and kill the trees and then run the rootx.

    Opinions?
     
  5. Jan 27, 2012 #5

    Another-Plumber

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    rule #1, never trust a city plumber
     
  6. Feb 4, 2012 #6

    Nathan901

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    ^lol

    Its going to cost you more money in the long run to keep snaking it. As you keep pulling out the roots that are inside the pipe out with the snake, the ones that have infiltrated at joints are going to keep growing until it splits the pipe/hub. Its going to have to be replaced either way, it just a matter of time until the pipe fails completly. You might as well get it done now and avoid all the extra money of calling a plumber to snake it regularly.
     
  7. Feb 11, 2012 #7

    zkirtlink

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    The line should be replaced for all reasons. and dig right accross there yard if necessary to take care of what is yours. Where I'm from the city maintain's up to 5 feet from the streed curb. if its similar there replace it to that point put a clean out in there as well and if it backs up there its there problem. Do a lot of drain snaking and maintenance, its what keeps our business alive durring the slow times. because not everyone can afford replacement at the moment of craziness.But then it turns into every 6 months, and they all up haveing it done just start saving your penny's
     
  8. Feb 13, 2012 #8

    litleclay

    litleclay

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    Yeah, replacement is likely the best route as I'm with you guys on paying larger up front and never having to worry about it again.

    I've attached an ugly paint file to give you guys an idea of how/where the line runs. (red=house, green=grass/dirt, grey=asphalt, blue=current sewer lines, brown=potential changes )

    In discussing replacement I have a couple thoughts:
    - I'm wondering about running a new line on the right side of our home. If we did this, could we just dig up the T and cap off where it continues to our side, without removing all that pipe?
    Also, could we reconnect to the long line closer to the street? I'm very concerned about that 75 ft span that has never been snaked or scoped...who knows how that section of the line like looks on the inside.

    The other option is to just replace the area in our yard - since the rest of the line is currently the responsibility of the neighbor.

    Cost is an issue, but I'm considering doing our own excavation and pipe laying - then just have the plumbers deal with fittings.

    main sewer line path.JPG
     
  9. Feb 15, 2012 #9

    PipeLining

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    A High Pressure Water jet usually gets a better result in removing the roots. ALL the roots should be cleaned out if done by a Professional company that focus's only on unblocking drains and repairiing them.

    If the plumber puts a camera down the pipe they should give you a copy. In some cases they may charge a little bit more for this but most don't.

    Removing the trees will help but won't prevent future blockages as the cracks still exist but may bide you time. However, please keep in mind once a pipe collapses, PipeLining (which in most situations is most econmical repair solution) cannot be used and if not then eventually your pipes will need to be replace.

    My advice get various quotes from various plumbers, especially one that uses PipeLining.
     
  10. Feb 15, 2012 #10

    litleclay

    litleclay

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    water jet isn't going to work - as it will just spray the water right back into our neighbors drains. Our drain systems meet together in a straight line and T off to the street (see the picture above).

    Pipelining, for the reason stated above, also won't solve anything except repairing the area up to the T.
     
  11. Feb 16, 2012 #11

    lordofthepipes

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    I dont know about other places... but here in Illinois just because you have tree roots dose not mean the clay tile is broken.if the line is rodded or jet rodded proporly you can get 3-5 years out of it maybe more. I agree with Pipelining, someone who knows what they are doing with a jet rodder should b able to get your line done without too much mess. then once the roots are all gone you and the plumber can see the condition of the pipes and decide if you need to replace,repair, or line.they used to put the sections together with mortar and with the movement in the ground over the years this mortar comes out. even if it dident come out the roots would still make it past the joints. yes if the line is replaced you wont have any more trouble, and that maybe the way to go but i would jet it and see.
     
  12. Feb 16, 2012 #12

    PipeLining

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    Lining can be used on a "T" Junction and beyond and if you are afraid of the water backing up into the neighbours(obviously the pipe doesn't run down), then get their permission and Jet from their access. or just keep Eeling and use the Root X (we do not advise this sort of method - tried,tested and costs more in long run) but this is only a patch solution with blockages getting worse each time and reduces your repair options. I wish you the best.Good luck :)
     
  13. Apr 17, 2012 #13

    tempritespokane

    tempritespokane

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    That is correct there is really no quick fix for this. Your going to have to replace those pipes.
     
  14. Apr 18, 2012 #14

    LiQuId

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    If you need time to make a fund to replace the lines then I would have them cleared out with a proper sized spreading root cutter on a larger auger and root X'd But you do need to replace the lines. they are going to get worse and eventually you will likely have a colapse... Bide time, but plan to repair.

    my 2c :)

    Ap's post FTW.
     
  15. Apr 19, 2012 #15

    torontoplumber

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    Liner is the best solution and going to cost you less then digging. Good luck
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pipe lining
     
  16. Apr 20, 2012 #16

    LiQuId

    LiQuId

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    ^ this is true, about $150 a foot and guaranteed for 10 years, though i wouldnd personally call it the best solution, but it is an effective way to curcumvent any problems for some time... just dont forget about saving some rainy day finds for this project down the line
     
  17. Apr 20, 2012 #17

    PipeLining

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    Companies will charge different prices and also have different Guarantees. For instance we offer 20 years and have been Lining for over 20 years. I do disagree, there is no evidence that it is worse nor doesn't last as long as replacing in PVC. Here in Sydney Australia the PVC we use is not as durable as it is in the UK as an example so its life expectancy is not known.

    The other benefit of Lining pipes is that the Epoxy Liner used is seemless so water etc runs more freely with debris less likely to catch. Also if the joints in the PVC pipe are not connected properly as in such case they are not, then tree roots,silt etc can get through at these points. Not to mention gardens/driveways, road etc aren't destroyed. The pipes are also ready to be used in hours also.
     
  18. Apr 21, 2012 #18

    phishfood

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    PipeLining,

    In what way is the PVC you have available to you less durable than what is available in the US or the UK? Is the wall thinner, or is the chemical composition different?
     
  19. Apr 21, 2012 #19

    LiQuId

    LiQuId

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    Poly Vynil Chloride... Must be thinner?

    I;ve not seen liners over time, so I cannot really say too much.. a 20 year warranty is a good warranty though.
     
  20. Apr 24, 2012 #20

    Tuffy22

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    Replacing it is most likely the best long-term solution. I'd encourage you to have it quoted out by several licensed plumbers.
     

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