Do I need to replace my main line?


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Old 02-15-11, 08:20 PM
J
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Do I need to replace my main line?

I searched through a bunch of threads on main sewage lines, but I couldn't find anything like my situation.

I don't plan on doing this myself--just more interested to hear third party opinions on whether or not I'm being taken.

Long story short, I've had root intrusion issues a couple of times over the last 5 years, and each time I've been more willing to pay the nominal cost of having the main line snaked than having it replaced. Tonight, however, I saw a 100' snake run to the street 4 times, at first pulling out roots, then nothing, and the line is still not draining. It was explained to me that dirt is likely filling in the pipe and that it needs to be replaced, but that doesn't seem likely to me. Then again, I'm not an expert.

Any opinions?
 
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Old 02-15-11, 08:35 PM
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They should have offered to camera the line. How do they know whats down there. Roots can be cut and when first done should of been treated with root x. If its only a section of pipe that has the root issue just that section can be replaced and a whole sewer is not needed. Most times the plumbers are not using a big head on the end of the snake. All they may be doing is punching a small hole in the clogg and when they pull the snake out the clogg closes up again.


Be careful before you throw money at a total replacement.

I would say your line is cast iron?


Mike NJ
 
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Old 02-15-11, 08:46 PM
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Thanks, Mike. They actually used a few different heads, one of which was a large blade.

The hose was built in '44, and I think it is cast iron, yes.
 
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Old 02-15-11, 09:18 PM
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Blades are not cutting bits.

See the bits on this page for root cutting.

Sewermatic 100 General Pipe Cleaners – Sewermatic 100 Drain Cleaning Machine – Power Cable Feed – Flexicore cable for root cutting and tough stoppages in 3” to 10” drain lines.

Its an old plumbing trick to just get flow going. Then when you call back enough times to have the line snaked again you will get tired of spending the money and just replace the line. The tech should give you all your options.

This is what I would do with the homeowners.

1. snake the line to restore flow
2 camera the line to see the condition of pipe and reason for clogg.
3 offer the homeowner options depending on the condition of the pipe.

Here is a example of a root option.

4. "The pipe dont look damaged although I see root infiltration through a hub in the line. For this amount of $$ I can cut the roots and treat your line with root X for this amount of $$ and give you a 1 yr warranty. If it cloggs again in that yr we will come out for free."

5. " I see the hub is 20 ft out in your yard. I can dig that section up and just replace the area that has the root issue for this amount of $$. That will have a 5 yr warranty."

6. " You know your sewer is 70 yrs old and the inside of the pipe is rough and irregular from the yrs of use. There are slight bellies in the pipe were the line has settled over time. Its not causing issues noe but may down the road. We could go ahead and replace the whole line for you with PVC(plastic) pipe for this amount of $$$. This has a 10 yr warranty."

7. " Heres your 3 proposals. Why dont you talk to your spouse and let us know what you would like to do. We can start today, or give us a call when your ready to start the work."

Do I sound like a salesman. I only do whats in the clients best interest.....

Like I said have someone camera it. They should do this with you present so you can see whats going on. They are able to tell how many feet out ot is also. Get someone else if they did not offer anything like I stated above.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 02-21-11, 04:51 PM
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I had done similarly, just snaking it myself the last time, because for $10k I could have them out a billion times. But then, it only worked for a couple of weeks.

Camera showed broken pipe, and not just root intrusion but growing up through the pipe like taproots. Ugh. Time to replace the line. :-(

I agree, you need to get a camera out there and see what is going on. A little bit of root intrusion at joints may be manageable by cutting, but if it's really severe you'll have to bite the bullet. And NO, it's not the city's responsibility either, in any jurisdiction that I know of. :-(
And YES, it's a boatload of money. :-(


Then again, having said all that...WHERE are you not draining from? And from where did you run the snake? A cleanout outside the house? If so, maybe blockage is IN the house. Do ALL drains stop up? Please explain your setup in a lot more detail...
 
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Old 02-24-11, 09:36 PM
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If you are sure they are making it to the city main and the line did not drop, then one of 2 things is happening. Either the city sewer is plugged or the line is congested. Congestion is caused by a leaking sewer. You get sewage building up (congesting) and the water leaks out. A thick dry plug results, takes several passes to liquify the mass enough to drain.
Dirt filling the pipe and needs replacing? Not a chance. If you can get the cable through it you can get the line open.
Are these guys trying to sell you on a trenchless replacement? There are way too many inexperienced operators out there selling sewer replacements when they cant get a line open.
 
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Old 02-24-11, 11:23 PM
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If it needs to be replaced I saw this thing done on this old house where they pretty much just put a new pipe inside the old pipe. They install some kind of bladder fill it with concert or something then when it drys they remove the bladder or something to that effect.
 
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Old 02-25-11, 09:00 AM
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If someone tells you that you need your sewer replaced, ask them why. Not being able to clear the line is not a reason to replace. Even if there is a break, a repair is cheaper than replacing. Having roote is not a reason. You can clear roots once a year for many years and not spend as much as a replacement. Trenchless operators are springing up everywhere,some will even camera your sewer for free and then prey on your fears to sell you a replacement. Cast iron sewers with the bottom rotted out are candidates for replacement. A lateral that leaks badly and tends to congest may be a candidate.
Look at it this way, trenchless replacement is fairly new. What did people do before it was an option. They took care of their sewers. Have they unclogged as necessary and repaired any breaks. Now every Joe McGee with a camera and trenchless setup wants to soak you for a replacement. Get a competent assesment of your sewer before committing to a replacement.
 
 

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