How do I snake this drain line?

I have the tiolet off of the floor and the flange exposed but I have a lead bend in it (from the flange to the main line about 1 foot or so) and I was told that an industrial snake will destroy that lead bend. Do I just use a smaller snake but then it may not fully clear the line?
I could go through the trap right before the line goes out to the septic but then I will have to do it backwards and I am told that I need the line to be near the machine so it doesn't go flailing around the room (ideal would be a drain opening in the floor right next to the machine.)
This is probably one of things best left to a company that does it but unfortunately these are guys that are in between jobs and I doubt they will take into consideration the lead bend for example. So I want to do it myself or at least be educated enough as possible. Any ideas?
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poison snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Yep. Excellent chance you will be replacing the lead bend. Anyway, I doubt that the machine will be effective going that distance with all those bends.
Are you *sure* that there is an actual clog in the house sewer leading to the tank? Like tree roots? If tree roots, you'll need a powerful cutter with minimum length of stout cable.
Is it possible that the drain field is saturated, rather than a clog?
Can you get the tank lid off to provide clues?
Could there simply be a paper clog right in the trap?
Give this project some thought before jumping in.
Jim
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All those bends??? It's "one" bend. Down from the floor to 90 degree to a Y fitting where it attaches to the cast iron line.
Am I sure??? I am not sure of anything. It's a little hard to be sure without actually checking for things. However, I doubt there are tree roots in the line as there aren't any trees around the house. If the drain field was saturated I would expect to see this problem during every shower, dishwasher load, etc. It's only from the washing machine -and- I can run the washing machine over and over and over again one run after the other with the same problem. If I had a saturated field I would think that eventually I would reach a point where it would not take anything more and I would get a complete backup. Secondly, I can run the washing machine in the morning where nobody has used any significant water for over 12 hours and it will still do the same thing. My theory is that between the drain cycles on two or more washer runs this main drain pipe has enough time to discharge. Hence, "the thought" that I have given this.
If there were a paper clog right at the main trap then the other two drain lines coming from the house would be having similar problems and they are not - plus I took the two caps off of the septic trap and it was clean.
What "clues" are you going to find by looking under the septic tank cap? Besides the "scum" at the top of surface I doubt you will find any clues.
Give it some thought??? I can think about it until I am blue in the face. It's time to start "jumping in" and trying different things. Yes, it could be A, B, C or D - now it's time to start eliminating some of them. So far I have snaked the vent stack to the roof - clean as a whistle, ran a small auger snake back from the septic trap towards the area where the problem is - nothing significant came out - but then again it was not an industrial snake.
One point that someone just made was to check the actual "vent" not the "vent stack" that many people think is always the problem. Their theory is that a large rush of water (from a washing machine) is not venting at the front of the water rush due to a partial clog of the main vent. This sounds plausible but I am skeptical - it's a four inch copper vent line with a grate at the end. What could have gotten in this past the grate (and want to stay in there.) Bugs perhaps. I am going to check it but I don't have much hope.
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poison snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Apologies for any perceived criticism. You have indeed done the homework :-)
Removing the tank lid would allow you to see the amount of flow *into* the tank. Would also vent pressure ahead of the flow. If there is only a trickle of flow, then you know a clog exists between house and tank.
Would it be practical to excavate the line leading into the tank? Cut in a TEE for access?
Plan "B": Rent a sewer machine which mounts on a tripod stand to get the auger up at the trap level.
Jim
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I wish I could rent an industrial snake on a tripod - no such thing at my local equipment rental. Even if I could of course it would be going backwards (or uphill towards the beginning of the drain line) but it might be enough to dislodge something and maybe I could keep the faucet on while snaking.
I picked up (borrowed) a small electric snake tonight. I've seen this one in action and it does not spin very fast. I am going to snake the vent line to the outside if I can get to it through the septic's trap (I think I can do it) then I am going to snake from the last elbow straight out to the septic. Then I can try (again) to go back from the trap to the end of the drain line but I doubt it will do anything (with this snake and the various endpoints on it.)
I don't have much hope and I am afraid this is going to remain a mystery either forever or until the problem worsens or until someone qualified can take over. Sewer line cleaners are shady - just like chimney cleaners, carpet cleaners etc. They work on commission and solving your problem is not their top priority only trying to scam you into some horse$hit "product."
I really don't need to cut a tee into the line outside to the septic. I have a clean out right on the 90 degree cast iron bend as it heads outside. It's only about 8' or so from the basement to the tank. Probably not allowed by code anymore to be that close.
Have you ever lifted a septic cover to "look at the flow into the tank?" Not much to see past the 12" layer of scum is there? It would be one thing if you could take the "entire" cover off of a tank which is possible on some steel tanks but not on concrete ones. It's just the opening on top. The only way to see inside is to have it pumped out....or jump in!
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You might try a drain king while you have the toilet off. These are patented rubber bulbs that you hook to your garden hose. You can run them from the drain valve on the hot water tank for an even stronger effect. Your distances are minimal so it should be relatively easy. They are inexpensive and should be readily available. Here is a link: <http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/000190.php an alternate brand: <http://www.usahardware.com/inet/shop/item/81600/icn/20-353581/g_t_water/750.htm
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That looks interesting. I wish I could find some reviews on it. I thought I would not that you need to buy the right model for the size pipe you have. For main drain lines it looks like this one is it.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)96392286&sr=1-3

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On Nov 29, 10:14 pm, poison snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Just a follow up on my success just in case someone is searching for this topic in the future:
Here's what I did.....for now::::
I ran the snake from the trap backwards to the toilet while running the hot water from the faucet. Some small pieces of like soap came off the pipe walls but nothing to get excited about. The end of the snake kept coming up the toilet bend. I could not get it to go to the end of the line to save my life. I couldn't reach down the bend far enough the steer it the other way. Not a big deal it only had about three more feet to go and I was 99% sure that three foot section was not the problem area.
I then ran the snake from the right side of the trap out to the septic tank and I could not get it through the sanitary T bend. So I put the spring type end piece on the snake and just kept working it until I got it to go. It must have gone about 12 feet or so and then just stopped. I am not sure why, I thought it would have gone into the tank and just kept going and going and going. But there might be a final turn as it goes into the tank where it got caught up on.
I then decided just to snake down from the clean out for the bathrooms upstairs down to the trap. I figured "why I have this here - might as well" and then a ton of hair and gunk came out but this was not on the problem line (remember this later for my theory.)
I ran it back out to the septic and got it go through with the big blade end piece.
I then went outside with the snake and ran the snake through the septic's vent back to the trap. I wanted to go the opposite way but I could not get it to go up the vent line once it got started from the left side of the trap. It took awhile and again I had to use the spring end. It when through and I could see it come out into the trap. It had like some very small amount of hair which I thought was very odd - not sure how that got in there.
I then went back to my local hardware store (was there in the morning) and bought some special sulphuric acid as per the recommendation of the guy who works there. "Safe for septics" so they say. I dumped some in down the lead bend (where the toilet is) and dumped some in on the right side of the trap towards the septic. This special acid is supposed to "react slowly" and then neutralize.
If you think the septic smells bad try this acid.
Anyway, you let it sit in the pipes for about 15 minutes then you have to flush it out for five minutes with cold water. It is supposed to eat anything "organic" including soap.
I finally reinstalled the toilet and ran the washing machine four times (with soap) and the problem did not occur. There was some dust floating in the toilet when I first set it up and it was still there after the four washes.
So here's my theory:::::
It might be that the hair clump in the other drain line was just low enough to pick up water when the main pipe filled with the large flow from the washing machine. When the clump got wet it got pulled down a little into the main to block the flow in the main line. When it dried out it went back up in the other pipe. This is essentially what the plumber who fixed my closet flange thought the problem was - a clog that was expanding and contracting.
I hope that's the case then I don't have to worry about this. I'm not 100% convinced that's what it was but maybe 50/50.
It was hell but I'm glad I did it. Sometimes you just gotta "jump in" there Speedy Jim.
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poison snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

<SNIP>
HaHa!
Let us know if the problem comes back.
2 quick thoughts: The tank inlet may have a baffle plate. That will deflect the snake and make it difficult to get past. Possible that's what you ran into.
The sewer line from house to tank may be collapsed or compromised in some other way. Snaking it will provide some temporary relief but likely will clog again in a short time.
Jim
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Jim, You really didn't read what I wrote did you? Snaking the line to the septic was probably not the main issue. Clearing the partial clog at the bottom the drain line for the upstairs was! I stand by my theory that as the water ran by it or should I say "under it" it saturated the blob which then caused it to lower and block the drain line to the laundry room.
Will it come back? Maybe but being that I've been running the washing machine all weekend and it's been fine and it was also fine for six years when we moved into the house (started four years ago) I think I'm in the clear.
The line from the trap inside the house to the tank is about 10 feet long. There is nothing there (on the outside) except grass and the line is at least three feet down. If this were shot I would be seeing it with all water not just hte washing machine. Driving the lawn tractor over it did not nor will it cause it to "collapse". I don't know Jim, I think your view of things is that the glass....or should I "septic tank" is always half empty.
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poison snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

LOL! Perhaps you're right.
I did read it, but my comprehension was off.
I can't dispute your theory; you could well be right. Truly hope it works out for you.
Jim
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