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retrieving old sewer cable from line

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  • retrieving old sewer cable from line

    I got a call about removing an old sewer cable from a floor drain/sanitary line. the old cable is believed to be either 7/8 or 1.25 and is about 35' from the drain. it enters a Y and goes downward. another company cameraed the line but wants nothing to do with trying to remove it. it possibly is one of theirs, especially if it's 1.25.

    I've never tried to retrieve a lost cable. so i'm assuming i'll use the funnel auger and try to just grab the old cable, with out getting everything bound up, down the line. push my cable/auger into the line, until just before the old cable. use the camera to see what i'm doing, advance to the old cable, rotate my cable by hand, hopefully grab and retrieve the old cable. be the hero, get paid millions of dollars, and have songs of praise offered up in my name.

    any ideas or tricks would be helpful as i'm a total newb at this facet of drain clearing.

    BTW, Rick before you offer, you would need to be here by 3:00 P.M. (1500 hours) AST.

    I love a challenge but would like a leg up in doing this one right.
    In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

  • #2
    Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

    Originally posted by stxrus View Post
    another company cameraed the line but wants nothing to do with trying to remove it. it possibly is one of theirs, especially if it's 1.25.
    or because it's stuck on/in/out of the pipe and cannot be retrieved by catch and pull alone. i'd verify this important fact first. find out what's on both ends. cables dont break for no reason.
    ~~

    ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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    • #3
      Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

      good point. that's something i'll try to check out.

      besides that, is my methodology sound? or should I rethink my approach? this will be my first recovery.
      In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

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      • #4
        Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

        That's how i've done it - the funnel or narrow retriever head. the other time, in a movie cinema lobby, necessitated jacking up the floor and digging up part of the dirt around a rotted cast iron pipe. thank fake butter for that mess...
        ~~

        ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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        • #5
          Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

          ive pulled out my fair share including 1 of my own.

          do you know how long it's been in there?

          what size pipe is it in and what size c/o are you going in from?

          how much cable and can you spot the end?

          is it just sitting in there or is it hung up on something.

          a jetter is less likely to get wound up if you need to cut out roots or wash away debris.

          got to be careful with a funnel auger as when it bites, it will wind all the way onto the cable and not want to release. also you need to hook the end or as close to the end as possible. if there's a wye/ tee, the loose end can get hung up in the change of direction if you're not on the end.

          next time, give me more than 1/2 day notice. it takes time to fuel up the jet.

          rick.
          phoebe it is

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          • #6
            Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

            everytime I have tried to pull a cable out it has taken everything I have in the arsenal, meaning anything you don't bring to the fight you will need like duct tape, dust rodder, that snake head you never use (big Y) And yea if it exited the pipe and went any kind of distance that had enough force to snap the cable it is a dig!
            Seattle Drain Service

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            • #7
              Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

              guys, thanks for the replies. I was pretty sure this wasn't going to be an easy gig and the property maintenance folks also realize this.

              i'll just go slow and easy.

              Rick, sorry about the short notice. I posted less than an hour after getting the call. next time keep the jet topped off. ;>)
              In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

                Run the camera first and determine where the cable starts and stops. Also determine if it's hung up on something. If it's hung up, that's what you need to attack first.

                Much easier to remove a stuck cable that is still sticking out of the co. 1 that's broken off downstream can be tricky and potentially a second stuck cable. Know what you're getting into before you go fishing.

                Also its important to have backup cables so if you do get stuck, youre not out of business waiting for yours to come out.

                Is the line plugged up and needs immediate attention? Or can it wait for the jet to get fueled up?

                I have some free time next month. Jet fuel is cheaper when you buy a month in advance

                Rick
                phoebe it is

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                • #9
                  Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

                  job put off until next Wednesday. too many unknowns and the guy i'll be working with is on another project that should wind up Friday or Saturday.

                  Rick, the line was cleared 2 weeks ago. they have a catastrophic back up every 3 months or so. there is an access point down stream. just don't know if it will allow me to run upstream and even enter the proper Y leg to get to the head of the lost cable. 1st step, of course, is to see where the cable runs/lays and determine the course of action from there.

                  i'll keep y'all updated.
                  In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

                    I have had 100's of calls where a homeowner rented a rod and broke or lost a cable down the line. I just go in with the funnel auger on the 3/4" cable run it in on forward till I feel it grab the cable and work it till I get it out. Some put up a fight others it's easy as 123.
                    Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                    Ron's Facebook
                    A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                    Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                    Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

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                    • #11
                      Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

                      If its been in there any length of time it'll probably come out in 10" pieces.

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                      • #12
                        Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

                        Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                        If its been in there any length of time it'll probably come out in 10" pieces.

                        Been there done that

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

                          Did a job with an outside 4" cast iron clean out. We been rodding this home owners sewer every two years for the past 10 years as preventive maintenance. The last time I rodded this line, as I was rolling up the cable, the cable came out of the clean out twisted up on itself, so I had thought. Turned out the cable that was all twisted up was 5/8" cable from that wrapped around my 3/4" cable. I pulled the rest out by hand and ended up retrieving 75' of 5/8" cable. The cable been in the line for 10 years, when we first rodded this line 10 years ago we were informed that a previous company could not get the line open and wanted to replace the sewer. We rodded it out restored proper drainage, and as I mentioned been doing preventive maintenance every two years. Just this last time we found the reason the other company couldn't get the line open.

                          This all happened many years before there were sewer cameras for televising residential sewers. We still do preventive maintenance to ensure the roots do not cause any future blockages.
                          Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                          Ron's Facebook
                          A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                          Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                          Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

                            got there this morning and ran the camera from the upstream floor drain and found the bitter end of the cable. unfortunately, due to a belly, I couldn't see the end to determine if the cable was un-coupled or broken.. did a locate of that point. pushed further and hit a spot where the cable was visible. a very nasty looking tight wind, rusty mess. located that point. went to the next downstream drain and low and behold there is the cable with a lot of paper and stuff. flushed that with fresh water and continued on. found a very funky looking sweep, marked that, and continues on til I found the head of the cable ... minus a head. there is approximately 50' (i'm guessing 1/2") of drum cable in the pipe. slowly retrieve the camera and at the head of that funky sweep there is a hole on the PVC. voila!! the cause of the blockages and backups.

                            the decision was made to not go any further. they are going to open the floor and, hopefully, remove the offending cable and replace the broken sweep.

                            several questions were raised. where is the head that was on the cable? did it break the pipe or was that an existing issue? why did the cable break in the first place?

                            anyways, they are happy with the information as to where and what the problem is.

                            thanks to all for your help, suggestions, and tips.
                            In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: retrieving old sewer cable from line

                              Quite a mess you have there. Good luck, slow and easy wins the race.
                              ~~

                              ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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