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  • Questions about sewage drain

    Hello,

    I posted this in the ask the plumbing experts group too. not sure which it belongs in.

    My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a house and I am looking for some answers. I hope that some of you wouldn't mind helping.

    We had the inspection done and during it they found that the sewage drain was backing up and toilet paper had come out of the outside drain, under the deck. We took this to the owners and this is what we got back.

    "The sewer line has been uncloged. Because the line has a "double trap" which was installed when the back porch was built the plumber could not get a camera into the line. the clog which was removed contained roots, however no terra cotta, which means that the pipe is intact. We have spoken with a sewer cleaning company who will inject foam into the line which will kill any remaining roots and also dry to form a seal in the pipes. The process is guaranteed to keep the line root free for at least 5 years."

    Now when we got the quote it mentioned nothing about using a camera, and the pricing was different so it seems clear that they're trying to play some type of game. The quote noted that they used rootx which is guaranteed for 1 year not 5 so more games. Now I've read up on rootx and it seems to be ok but I don't know what to think about the other stuff. Can anyone tell me if this is reasonable? Should I hire my own person to try and camera the sewer or does a "double trap" prohibit that?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Last edited by brirea; 11-28-2008, 09:53 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Questions about sewage drain

    Originally posted by brirea View Post
    Hello,

    My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a house and I am looking for some answers. I hope that some of you wouldn't mind helping.

    We had the inspection done and during it they found that the sewage drain was backing up and toilet paper had come out of the outside drain, under the deck. We took this to the owners and this is what we got back.

    "The sewer line has been uncloged. Because the line has a "double trap" which was installed when the back porch was built the plumber could not get a camera into the line. the clog which was removed contained roots, however no terra cotta, which means that the pipe is intact. We have spoken with a sewer cleaning company who will inject foam into the line which will kill any remaining roots and also dry to form a seal in the pipes. The process is guaranteed to keep the line root free for at least 5 years."

    Now when we got the quote it mentioned nothing about using a camera, and the pricing was different so it seems clear that they're trying to play some type of game. The quote noted that they used rootx which is guaranteed for 1 year not 5 so more games. Now I've read up on rootx and it seems to be ok but I don't know what to think about the other stuff. Can anyone tell me if this is reasonable? Should I hire my own person to try and camera the sewer or does a "double trap" prohibit that?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Roots are in the pipe because there is a void in the pipe allowing the roots to come in. The only thing anyone can guarantee is that the roots will grow back. If I were buying the home I would pay the money to have a plumber which you hire, video the line and give you an estimate on a repair or replacement of the line. You could then add that to the cost of buying the home and see if the seller is willing to give you an offset. There is nothing better than being able to make an informed decision.

    Mark
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Questions about sewage drain

      Originally posted by brirea View Post
      Hello,

      I posted this in the ask the plumbing experts group too. not sure which it belongs in.

      My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a house and I am looking for some answers. I hope that some of you wouldn't mind helping.

      We had the inspection done and during it they found that the sewage drain was backing up and toilet paper had come out of the outside drain, under the deck. We took this to the owners and this is what we got back.

      "The sewer line has been uncloged. Because the line has a "double trap" which was installed when the back porch was built the plumber could not get a camera into the line. the clog which was removed contained roots, however no terra cotta, which means that the pipe is intact. We have spoken with a sewer cleaning company who will inject foam into the line which will kill any remaining roots and also dry to form a seal in the pipes. The process is guaranteed to keep the line root free for at least 5 years."

      Now when we got the quote it mentioned nothing about using a camera, and the pricing was different so it seems clear that they're trying to play some type of game. The quote noted that they used rootx which is guaranteed for 1 year not 5 so more games. Now I've read up on rootx and it seems to be ok but I don't know what to think about the other stuff. Can anyone tell me if this is reasonable? Should I hire my own person to try and camera the sewer or does a "double trap" prohibit that?

      Thanks in advance for any advice.
      You are right that the RootX stuff is guaranteed for only 1 year. I don't know why a company would give a guarantee for 5 years. Also, it does not seal the main line in any way. Yes, the foam will dry and might form some sort of light seal but that it is only temporarily and roots will definitely find there way in again.

      Terra cotta piping doesn't mean anything about pipes being intact. Terra cotta is a type of sewer line that is installed in sections. Roots get through the joints where one terra cotta pipe meets another. Also, if the terra cotta piping breaks, then roots can get through there.

      I'm not familiar with traps in the main line since they don't have many here, but I believe it would be pretty hard to get a camera through one. Hopefully someone else will have more experience on the issue.

      Good luck!!
      YourHomeContractor.com - The Trusted Online Community For Homeowners and Contractors.

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      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Questions about sewage drain

        Thank you very much. I didn't quite understand how the roots could get through without breaking through the terra cotta. I understand what that is having fixed some storm drains at my dads house so I figured it would have had to break the pipe to some extent to have roots in there.

        It's obvious that some games are at play here with the owner. I'm just trying to seperate fact from fiction before I confront them about it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Questions about sewage drain

          Here an in line trap is illegal I have tried root x found it didn't start foaming till 15 ft then only foamed about 5 ft of the pipe then quiet.If there is a low spot in line it wont foam past that unless they used some type of tube to apply it, if they just poured it in through a trap don't expect much help. If it was me I would make a deal to have it replaced or find another house It sounds like the seller is playing some games too.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Questions about sewage drain

            Important!! Before giving the go ahead on camera. Make sure You will get a tape or cd of YOUR sewer to KEEP. Great evidence, of the problem ,and Your tool for repair bids!
            I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Questions about sewage drain

              This is a pic of roots entering a clay/teracotta pipe.

              I would (if you in fact have a trap with no bypass) have the trap removed as they are no longer needed.
              Then have someone camera the line. A few roots are no big deal but you may find the line to be in rough shape and needs replacement.
              I would stay and watch the inspection or insist on getting a video of it.
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              Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

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              • #8
                Re: Questions about sewage drain

                That was very helpful. Thank you. I had asked that I wanted to be there when they had it looked at the first time but as I said they're playing some kind of game here and this is part of it.

                They're claiming that the line is now unclogged so it's not a reach to think that it was just roots because they could be held legally liable if that's not the case. That won't stop me from having it looked at one last time though.

                From what I'm reading up on it seems that if there's roots pretty much there will always be roots unless it's replaced.

                So I see two options

                A. The roots have come through the joint. Not really an issue? treat with rootx or like once in a while.

                B. The roots have come through the terra cotta and I have a broken sewer line. Costly repair.

                Is A a valid option or am I missing the boat and B will be the option at one point or another either way?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Questions about sewage drain

                  You are missing the boat with A unless you look forward to the mess of main line stoppages, the inability to use your plumbing during the stoppages and the cost involved in regular drain cleaning.

                  If you had lived in the house for any period of time and knew you would only have to put up with it once a year or so I might say take the chance. However, you don't know if the problem is once a year or once a month. You are probably lucky there was a stoppage the day your inspector was out there.

                  Mark
                  "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                  I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Questions about sewage drain

                    Another thing to consider is the outside drain should have been sealed. The fact that it was open and allowed the sewage to come out may be an indication the owner has this problem on a regular basis so he left it open to avoid the mess in the house.

                    A bad sewer by itself should not turn you away from the house. However, I would consider the cost of replacing the sewer when you evaluate the price of the home.

                    Mark
                    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Questions about sewage drain

                      Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
                      Another thing to consider is the outside drain should have been sealed. The fact that it was open and allowed the sewage to come out may be an indication the owner has this problem on a regular basis so he left it open to avoid the mess in the house.

                      A bad sewer by itself should not turn you away from the house. However, I would consider the cost of replacing the sewer when you evaluate the price of the home.

                      Mark
                      I see that he is in Pittsburg.

                      Like D.C., most houses are on a combined sewer system. (Storm water and Sanitary sewer) The outside drain is probably a yard drain very common in these houses. All will have a trap that will make it difficult but not impossible to pass a camera. If it's double trapped like he said, forget it. I have seen yard drains tied into rear downpouts therefore making it double trapped. Not that uncommon here actually.

                      If you end up putting a camera in the line see if they can use a locater so you know where the pipe is and which direction it runs. Knowing this can make a big difference in planning a replacement/repair.

                      Good Luck

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