Sewer Backup issues. Cause?!


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Old 03-08-06, 06:18 AM
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Sewer Backup issues. Cause?!

Good morning,

I am in the process of buying a house, and when we carried out the inspection the sewer drain backed up in the basement after fully opening only a few taps on the 2nd floor of the house. Basement flooding began at a decent rate.

The seller paid a plumber to snake the line (from house to street) and according to the plumber nothing was found!

How is this possible? I am very skeptic and wary of purchasing this house now, as I don't want to live with this 'mystery' problem, which in my mind will re-ocurr periodically. Am I over reacting?

Any advice? Any explanation on what could have caused the backup? No one has lived in the house for about 3 months... Some say food buildup is typical, especially when folks move out the last day and stuff everything down the garbage disposal.
 

Last edited by gnolivos; 03-08-06 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 03-08-06, 06:49 AM
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Sewer Backup

For homes built prior to about 1970 or so, sewer lines were typically made from terra cotta clay tiles.

The joints of these tiles can esaily become clogged with tree or plant roots. These tiles can crack allowing in soil and other debris. They corack and collapse creating a permanent drainage issue.

The only real solution to chronic tile problems is to replace the entire sewer line from the house to the street, and this can obviously be costly. Going rates in my area are about $100 a linear foot.

I suggest to make a counterproposal to the seller to replace the entire sewer line at their own expense and if they refuse find another home.
 
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Old 03-08-06, 07:58 AM
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Thanks for your answer Manhattan42,

The house is quite new: Built 1999.

Also worth mentioning that the problem seems to be 'gone' now. Plumber speculates that whatever was blocking the line has now dislodged (either on its own, or while snaking the line).

Of course my concern as a future home owner, is that the problem might not be as simple as they say, and that it may be a reocurring issue. I'm trying to get theories from other more experienced folks, as to why the line was completely clogged, and now it appears to not be.

Can anyone provide input/ideas in that direction? Do the more experienced folks out there think this is a sign of reocurring issue? Or am I overreacting, and should I consider the problem solved ('on it's own' ?)
 
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Old 03-08-06, 09:38 AM
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gnolivos, Welcome to the DIY Forums.
If the drain line is cast iron, the problem could have come from non-use for the 3 months. When the line dried out, all the stuff that had been coating the inside of the pipe fell down and when you ran water, it clogged. This would not be likely if the drain is PVC. You could have the line checked by a company that uses cameras. This would give a full view of anything that is in the line including tree roots. May be able to work that out with the owner. Good luck.
 
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Old 03-08-06, 09:42 AM
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If you're that worried have your plumber run a camera through the line.
 
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Old 03-08-06, 10:00 AM
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I might be wrong, but my understanding is that these are PVC lines.

At this point, I don't feel I have a compelling reason to ask the seller to pay for a camera inspection, because snaking the line revealed no blockage. Or..?
 
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Old 03-08-06, 10:04 AM
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If you haven't already done so, go back and turn all the faucets on again. The main drain should be 3 or 4" and if there is no problem, you should be fine.
 
 

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