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  • sewer line gunk

    i'm a home owner with an old 4" orangeburge line running about 40' from my basement to the septic tank.

    in the past, we've not always done the right thing, sometimes running greasy food waste through the lines. for the last year or so, i've been making sure not to do that, but a lot of build up has already taken place.

    this past weekend it stopped up & after trying most of the day, i gave up & called "Mr Rooter".
    the next morn the tech came & ran a snake through with a flat, spear shaped head that was probably not much more than 1' wide.

    after going to the septic tank with it he ran a camera through.
    at one point the camera went dark because of gunk build up in that one spot. he had to run the camera forward or backwards to see again.
    beyond that thick point he showed me the grease build up on the walls of the pipe.
    it looked like there was maybe more than 1/2" build up around the pipe walls.

    he said that he had just "poked a hole through it" & suggested a couple ways to remove the grease.
    one was to jet which i can't afford. my mom lives with me & has lots of health problems. i take care of her & we just barley scrape by.
    the other suggestion was a bio product he would sell for $99.00 (later offered it at 1/2 price).
    i asked if it was really any better than the RidX sold in stores. he said the RidX was "junk". i still wonder if there's much real difference???

    last night the line stopped up again. when i called Mr Rooter, they had me talk w/ the plumber that had done the work.
    when i questioned why he had not used a larger head on the snake when he did the "clean out" he claimed that it do nothing for the grease build up.

    i called & talked w/ someone at Mr Rooter again & she said the general manager was in a meeting but she would talk to him about it as soon as he is free & get back to me.
    in the mean time, i'm researching the situation.

    i've dealt w/ a variety of cleaning chores in my nearly 50 years & i find it hard to believe that a larger, spiraling head on the snake would not easily cut the majority of the grease away from the walls of the pipe, allowing it to be flushed into the septic tank.
    i realize that there could problems w/ it collecting on the bottom of the pipe as it was cut loose & being difficult to flush, but i still think it would be doable.
    i had a water hose on hand in the basement.

    what are your thoughts? thanks. ...Tim

  • #2
    Re: sewer line gunk

    tim, sorry to hear about all your issues.

    out here, mr. rooter is a joke. nothing but sales pitches, just like yours.

    40' is a very easy run and if the orangebird is still relatively round, i would have used a much larger grease cutter or 4 blade cutter. a jetter would have also worked good too, if you could keep the jet wash from coming into the basement.

    running the larger head with water running will help cut and flush out the debris.

    what size cable and do you remember the machine he used? is it listed on the invoice the machine number or code?

    sometimes/ many times they just poke a hole to get it running and aren't interested in cleaning the line. just clearing the line.

    talk to the manager/ owner and ask why such a little cutter.

    good luck and keep us posted with an update.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: sewer line gunk

      I agree with Rick 100%. Jetting the Orangeburg wouldve been the way to go to get the grease out. He might not have run a bigger head thru there due to it being Orangeburg. Its very easy for a head to pop out of that pipe.

      If he was really concerned he would have had water running the entire time after he openned the line and at least cabled it acouple more times.

      Bio Clean is a pretty good product for grease, but its main purpose is for preventing a clog, not openning one.
      The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

      www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: sewer line gunk

        the cable info doesn't appear to be on the invoice, but i'd guess the sheath on the outside was about an inch.
        i didn't look as closely at the cable as i could have.

        the orangebird pipe seemed to be nice & round still so it should be OK.

        what you said is pretty much what i was thinking. one problem, like you said, might be that the water may want to come back into the basement rather than flow out into the tank.

        i'm thinking about seeing if i have a male threaded fitting that i could screw into the clean out place & add an upward curve, creating a "riser".
        that would allow me to force water by gravity through the line & into the septic tank.

        i appreciate your quick & honest response. i'll keep you informed on how things go. ...Tim

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: sewer line gunk

          Originally posted by Drain Medic View Post
          I agree with Rick 100%. Jetting the Orangeburg wouldve been the way to go to get the grease out. He might not have run a bigger head thru there due to it being Orangeburg. Its very easy for a head to pop out of that pipe.

          If he was really concerned he would have had water running the entire time after he openned the line and at least cabled it acouple more times.

          Bio Clean is a pretty good product for grease, but its main purpose is for preventing a clog, not openning one.
          yep, i thought he could have put a little more effort into cleaning it out even with what he had.

          and i hear what you're saying about the concern w/ tearing through the old orangebird line.
          i had to dig down & around it to run a water line when i hooked up to county water a few years ago, so i got to see what was there.
          i believe i remember putting a hole in it w/ my mattock, so i covered it w/ something & covered that w/ a little ready mix cement. i was a little surprised to see that the pipe was something like tar paper.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: sewer line gunk

            and as for jetting the orangebird, i did tell the manager at mr rooter about the type of pipe i had so it looks like he would talked to me about the limitations of using a snake in that type of line before he sent the plumber out.
            i explained to the manager at mr rooter that i was calling several plumbers not only to look at prices but to try & get a feeling for who i could actually trust to give me the best service.

            looks like i fell for the old standard business practice.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: sewer line gunk

              Originally posted by slowhike View Post
              the cable info doesn't appear to be on the invoice, but i'd guess the sheath on the outside was about an inch.
              i didn't look as closely at the cable as i could have.

              the orangebird pipe seemed to be nice & round still so it should be OK.

              what you said is pretty much what i was thinking. one problem, like you said, might be that the water may want to come back into the basement rather than flow out into the tank.

              i'm thinking about seeing if i have a male threaded fitting that i could screw into the clean out place & add an upward curve, creating a "riser".
              that would allow me to force water by gravity through the line & into the septic tank.

              i appreciate your quick & honest response. i'll keep you informed on how things go. ...Tim
              find out what size machine , cable and cutter they used. the 1'' cutter sounds very small and the 1'' cable sounds very large?

              the riser idea is an excellent way to keep the water from coming back. as long as the line is flowing, you'll be fine. also see if you can get a 5 gallon bucket or garbage can under the opening just in case.

              out of curiosity, did he quote you an upfront price to clean the line, or an hourly price?

              reason why is if it was hourly, then keep him there for the extra 1/2 hour and let him run it with a larger cutter.

              if it was a fixed price, he got it open and left. cleared, not cleaned.

              not starting a flat/hourly debate, but trying to determine why the guy was more interested in selling all the extras? including the camera to show the grease he left behind.

              rick.
              phoebe it is

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: sewer line gunk

                Originally posted by slowhike View Post
                and as for jetting the orangebird, i did tell the manager at mr rooter about the type of pipe i had so it looks like he would talked to me about the limitations of using a snake in that type of line before he sent the plumber out.
                i explained to the manager at mr rooter that i was calling several plumbers not only to look at prices but to try & get a feeling for who i could actually trust to give me the best service.

                looks like i fell for the old standard business practice.

                The best way for you to get an honest plumber/drain cleaner, is to ask your friends, family, neighbors. Go to the local plumbing supply and ask if they can recommend one for you.
                The History of Sanitary Sewers Good site on the history of sanitary sewers and cleaners

                www.thedrainsquad.net Our website

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: sewer line gunk

                  Originally posted by Drain Medic View Post
                  The best way for you to get an honest plumber/drain cleaner, is to ask your friends, family, neighbors. Go to the local plumbing supply and ask if they can recommend one for you.
                  see greg, you're not that bad after all

                  this has been my way for 30+ years. all referrals.

                  rick.
                  phoebe it is

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: sewer line gunk

                    Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                    find out what size machine , cable and cutter they used. the 1'' cutter sounds very small and the 1'' cable sounds very large?

                    the riser idea is an excellent way to keep the water from coming back. as long as the line is flowing, you'll be fine. also see if you can get a 5 gallon bucket or garbage can under the opening just in case.

                    out of curiosity, did he quote you an upfront price to clean the line, or an hourly price?

                    reason why is if it was hourly, then keep him there for the extra 1/2 hour and let him run it with a larger cutter.

                    if it was a fixed price, he got it open and left. cleared, not cleaned.

                    not starting a flat/hourly debate, but trying to determine why the guy was more interested in selling all the extras? including the camera to show the grease he left behind.

                    rick.
                    it was a flat rate for each of the services. $227.00 to snake & something over $500.00 to jet (no extra charge for the camera, but of course it's fitted in to the picture<G>).

                    but before he left the plumber did mention a less expensive jet that was something over $300.00
                    it was less PSI but i don't remember the PSI for each. i'm thinking that the less powerfull jet would probably do the trick on a 40' strait shot like that.

                    and the woman representing the general manager (GM) just called back a few minutes ago.
                    she had talked to the GM & he told her that carrying around a bigger cable would run into bigger cost for the customer. i told her that i wasn't suggesting a bigger cable but a larger cutting head.
                    she said she would have to let me talk to the GM but he was out on a call & she would have him call me.

                    she also made me a offer that i may have to take. they will do the jetting, apply the $227.00 i already paid toward the cost, & let me make payments.

                    when the GM calls i believe i'm going to suggest the less expensive, less pressure jetting machine & apply what i've already paid toward it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: sewer line gunk

                      Originally posted by slowhike View Post
                      it was a flat rate for each of the services. $227.00 to snake & something over $500.00 to jet (no extra charge for the camera, but of course it's fitted in to the picture<G>).

                      but before he left the plumber did mention a less expensive jet that was something over $300.00
                      it was less PSI but i don't remember the PSI for each. i'm thinking that the less powerfull jet would probably do the trick on a 40' strait shot like that.

                      and the woman representing the general manager (GM) just called back a few minutes ago.
                      she had talked to the GM & he told her that carrying around a bigger cable would run into bigger cost for the customer. i told her that i wasn't suggesting a bigger cable but a larger cutting head.
                      she said she would have to let me talk to the GM but he was out on a call & she would have him call me.

                      she also made me a offer that i may have to take. they will do the jetting, apply the $227.00 i already paid toward the cost, & let me make payments.

                      when the GM calls i believe i'm going to suggest the less expensive, less pressure jetting machine & apply what i've already paid toward it.



                      you are going to need the big-jetter with the strongest pressure.....the little jetter in a 4" line will be similar to pissin on it real hard!!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: sewer line gunk

                        The way i would do your drain line is dig up the inlet to the septic tank and run the cable with at least a 3" cutter blade, back toward the house while running water inside,

                        or if you want run the jetter from the septic tank also you don't have to worry about flooding the inside the house
                        JERRYMAC
                        E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                        CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                        FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                        SINCE JAN. 1989

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: sewer line gunk

                          the bio products do work, But they are more of a maintenance than a fast fix.
                          I sell Bio-clean and it works great as a preventative item.
                          jetting would be the best. but a cable can at least open it up to allow water flow. a good bowel movement could clog it right back up. or my wife could.
                          a note on the bio cleans, bleach and all anti bacteria soaps and cleans can and will kill the enzymes the are designed to eat the grease and hair.
                          Sent From The StoolBus

                          www.appletondrainandsewer.com

                          Appleton WI, 54915
                          1-920-284-7471

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: sewer line gunk

                            you just got the best advice your gonna get from a lot of pros and i agree it seems there more interested in sales than solutions if they cant come back and get it right for no extra charge i would cut and run. we get paid to get it right the first time or if there are problems we run into we stop and inform and explain options before moving on. i dont trust these company, again i feel there more about numbers than solving problems. sorry you have to deal with this good luck.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: sewer line gunk

                              Ok, I'll bite....
                              - The tech did say it needed to be jetted, the customer declined due to expense.
                              - The small cutter head is at least a semi-valid precaution in orangeburgh pipe.
                              - The prices are maybe a bit high, but prices vary from place to place and the camera was included. They have now offered to come back and jet and credit the $227... so $500 for a camera and jet... high for a 40' run but not straight out robbery.
                              - Yes they should have got it on the first trip, but the tech was probably not authorized to offer the $227 back at that time.

                              Not great, but basically competant work at something vaguely like a reasonable price. More than we have come to expect from Mr. Rooter...no?

                              Take the jetting at $500, with
                              a) a promise to camera and make multiple passes as necessary to get the line CLEAN at that price
                              b) a promise to take appropriate caution (run low pressure, but pay for the bigger machine for higher flow) to avoid damaging the line...it is quite possible to jet through the side of orangeburgh pipe at high pressures.

                              or,
                              call a few other folks and ask how much to jet and camera 40' of orangeburgh and see if $500 is outrageous or not in your area, then make your decision.
                              This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                              Comment

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