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Plumbing help

Old 02-10-2018, 02:05 PM
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Default Plumbing help

Bought this house 7 years ago and every once in awhile we get a clogged drain, It's a single family with a full basement. The clogs are always a bit more then a plunger but I can free things up with a snake.

Well, except for this time. The house was built in 1949 and we are the 2nd owners.

The clog is toward the rear of the house where the kitchen sink, washer and dishwasher are draining into, the bathrooms are all after the clog so that's a small blessing. From the rear of the house I can get the snake about 10' down the slop sink, from the floor drain by the rear door entrance I was able to get the snake about 15' down 2 days ago but today I couldn't get past 7' and it sounds like it's hitting clay or wet stone.

Coming at it from the front of the house I can get about 15' from the front of the house towards the rear, so I have the general area narrowed down to a spot of about 10'.

The water in the basement slop sink will go down over night so it's not a complete jam. But I can't do laundry without it overflowing.

My snake is a professional grade snake 50' long and I've gotten pretty good with it over the years, just can't seem to get this one and the clay sound worries me, I'm worried that the plumbing under this north Jersey house is made of clay, my clean out is cast iron though so I don't know what to think.

First question while my wife digs out our insurance policy is, will a major repair be covered under our home owners?

2nd is, do I call in a plumber to use a camera first or let him have a go at snaking it out, just looking to keep costs down as much as possible.

Thanks for any/all advice.
Old 02-10-2018, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by YFMF View Post
Bought this house 7 years ago and every once in awhile we get a clogged drain, It's a single family with a full basement. The clogs are always a bit more then a plunger but I can free things up with a snake.

Well, except for this time. The house was built in 1949 and we are the 2nd owners.

The clog is toward the rear of the house where the kitchen sink, washer and dishwasher are draining into, the bathrooms are all after the clog so that's a small blessing. From the rear of the house I can get the snake about 10' down the slop sink, from the floor drain by the rear door entrance I was able to get the snake about 15' down 2 days ago but today I couldn't get past 7' and it sounds like it's hitting clay or wet stone.

Coming at it from the front of the house I can get about 15' from the front of the house towards the rear, so I have the general area narrowed down to a spot of about 10'.

The water in the basement slop sink will go down over night so it's not a complete jam. But I can't do laundry without it overflowing.

My snake is a professional grade snake 50' long and I've gotten pretty good with it over the years, just can't seem to get this one and the clay sound worries me, I'm worried that the plumbing under this north Jersey house is made of clay, my clean out is cast iron though so I don't know what to think.

First question while my wife digs out our insurance policy is, will a major repair be covered under our home owners?

2nd is, do I call in a plumber to use a camera first or let him have a go at snaking it out, just looking to keep costs down as much as possible.

Thanks for any/all advice.
Doubtful.
Old 02-10-2018, 02:18 PM
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Is the drain is under the basement slab? Is the basement finished? Do you have trees and bushes anywhere near the clog? I doubt any homeowners policy will cover a drain clog but if it does let us all know who your insurance carrier is.
Old 02-10-2018, 02:25 PM
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This is not what you want to hear, but I too own an old house circa 1955.

It might be time to start thinking about the main drain that leaves your house and connects to the street. Every old house will eventually need to replace it. Hopefully if has been done before, but if not, over time tree / bush roots move it around, it gets cracked, invaded by roots and stuff. Old pipes may even be made of clay. This is usually quite a big job involving digging up the main line with an small excavator.

Not before you start to think like that, I would get a plumber in with a large power auger to professionally clear your drains and see if that fixes the problem. Forget your puny hand dor even drill powered auger. This thing is 100' long, about 1" thick cable, with an adjustable head and powered by a large electric motor. You can rent these things but I wouldn't do it yourself to save just a bit of labour. Plus a real plumber can "feel" if there is another problem just from the way the auger behaves as he is using it.

Edit: I would power auger it professionally before you start to think about cameras. Get him to power auger all your drains including the mainline.

Good luck OP.
Old 02-10-2018, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by hottoddie View Post
Is the drain is under the basement slab? Is the basement finished? Do you have trees and bushes anywhere near the clog? I doubt any homeowners policy will cover a drain clog but if it does let us all know who your insurance carrier is.
Yes drain is under basement slab. Nearest tree is 15' or more from rear of house, while not impossible I don't think its probable. Not looking for a clog to be covered. Wondering if the pipe has to be ripped out and new installed if that would be covered.
Old 02-10-2018, 02:38 PM
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- tree roots will travel over 75 ft from tree- --and they always go to where the water is--
Old 02-10-2018, 02:49 PM
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Call local plumber/drain cleaner and have them Take a crack at it. If it’s true the clog is after the toilets you may net have to replace the line.
Old 02-10-2018, 03:16 PM
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Yup, professional snake and then camera. Homeowners won't cover. Been there, wrote the check... sorry.
Old 02-10-2018, 03:23 PM
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Worst case there are companies that line pipes, even residential.
Costs a bunch but may be cheaper than replacing.
Old 02-10-2018, 03:34 PM
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No where in a home owners insurance policy have I ever found anything that said they would replace something that got old and fell apart and needs replacing.

If you are lucky they can locate exactly where the problem is and only have to dig a small hole to repair it.
they have cameras and something they can shove down it from both directions and sense where it is with special equipment
Old 02-10-2018, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Dead Horse View Post
- tree roots will travel over 75 ft from tree- --and they always go to where the water is--

This gets my vote. Get a pro with a power auger. If it needs to be dug up maybe you can do the bull work to save $$$
Old 02-10-2018, 05:37 PM
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Our house was leveled for about $20K. The plumbing after the foundation repair was another $20K.

Get someone with a camera in your drains.

Our foundation and sewer line was a chicken/egg scenario. Did the foundation repair cause the sewer line breaks? Did the sewer line breaks cause the foundation issues over time?

A plumber with a camera is MUCH cheaper than what we went through.. if caught in time.
Old 02-10-2018, 06:29 PM
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Terracotta/clay sewer line most likely. (Broke)
Clay pipes, cast iron,(rusts from the inside) and galvanized steel were the most commonly used forms back in the day.
Old 02-10-2018, 07:02 PM
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You will see very little or nothing with a camera in a dirty clogged line. Need to clean clear the line before using a camera. There is no clay under your house. You need to call a plumber and have him snake it from a vent or a clean out. When you clean it what size of a cable are you using? When I see most homeowners drain cleaning they are using equipment not suited for a good cleaning.
Old 02-10-2018, 07:14 PM
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Discuss your issue with a plumber who has a jet machine AND a camera. Know what you’re dealing with and options.
Old 02-10-2018, 08:17 PM
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The size of my snake is about 3/8" with a changeable head peice.

Just for pisses and giggles, what do you think of me getting an air compressor and clogging the outlet around the hose and giving a blast or two of air, any chance it will dislodge the clog ?

I'll most likely get a drain guy in to take care of it, just have to bite the bullet.
Old 02-11-2018, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by YFMF View Post
The size of my snake is about 3/8" with a changeable head peice.

Just for pisses and giggles, what do you think of me getting an air compressor and clogging the outlet around the hose and giving a blast or two of air, any chance it will dislodge the clog ?

I'll most likely get a drain guy in to take care of it, just have to bite the bullet.
If you have deteriorating clay pipe, what do you think this pressure will do to it? I wouldn’t risk that.

Have you tried the rubber hose attachment water jet thingy? If you can get it right to the clog they work pretty well.

The camera is worth it if you plan to stay there. They will not only scope it but they can locate the head so you know exactly where the problem is.
Old 02-11-2018, 08:31 AM
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there used to be a chemical? copper sulfate, that would kill the roots only, put in at night let it sit- google?

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/effects...nes-82210.html

amazon sells
Old 02-11-2018, 08:45 AM
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You need to bite the bullet and hire a good plumber. You can't fix it until you know the material and the problem. All of the what if's aren't going to solve your problem.
Old 02-11-2018, 09:05 AM
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Had a similar problem at my house around 12 years ago. Maple tree roots worked their way into the old drain in front yard. It cost me $7000
to have it dug up and replaced.
I was then left with a hell of a mess in front yard. The whole experience sucked. I also had the tree removed which was expensive as well. I hope this isn't the case for you. Good luck. Chris

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