My parents have a house that was built in the late 1940s. The sewer
pipe is the old ceramic type and it runs under the house. Part of it
has collapsed and the plumber says he knows where. To get to it, he
would have to go through the floor and jackhammer through the concrete
slab. He thinks that their homeowner's insurance will cover it (after
Does the insurance cover things like this?
Not an answer to your question but it brings up something I've
wondered about. Why don't plumbers use some sort of horizontal boring
tool along with a liner to fix problems like this? Is it cost or some
technical reason? Maybe the second guess leads to the first?
That sounds promising. Can it be done if the ceramic pipe has already
caved in in one area? Or maybe that one spot might have to be fixed
as the plumber said, and this can be used to hold it for a while.
And if we're going to be suspicious of the plumber's advice, I'll remind
you of what happened to my friend. His plumber was going to dig up the
front lawn, IIRC (that is, not the basement floor, but I could be wrong)
when another friend told my friend to call the county. They came out
and cleaned that portion of the pipe that belonged to them, the feeder
pipe that was under the county street and the land the country owned
next to the street, and everything worked fine after that. It was the
county's responsibility and didn't cost my friend a penny.
His other friend suggested it because same thing happened to him,
including a different plumber's bad recommendation. Everyone trusts the
second plumber's honesty, but he may be self-trained and incompetent, or
maybe they shouldn't trust him. (Can't a reasonably smart guy who worked
for a couple years as a plumber's assistant and studied the book for a
while pass the license exam without actually being competent? Even
while he thinks he's competent?) I think he had fouled up before on
something smaller. And there was another plumber who had a column in a
community newspaper in which he warned homeowners about the sharp jaws
in the garbage disposal. In-sink-erator makes over 90% of the
disposals, under several brand names, and my model at least has no sharp
On Fri, 04 Apr 2014 00:17:17 -0400, Judson McCranie
Well if the repair is 5000 and the camera job is 700 (total guesses)
I'd have a 3rd party come out with a camera. Just one reason, my
friend, whose clog was not even on his own property.
Of course the plumber might say he DOES have a camera and he'll use it
for 200, or much less than the third party. If I were a homeowner, I'd
want to watch, but could I understand any more than my colonoscopy?
If perchance it is covered by insurance, the insurance company might pay
in the same way medical insurance will pay for an MRI prior to surgery,
to make sure one needs the surgery. But even if they have to pay
I had a local company scope my pipe for free as part of the estimate. I
told them that I suspected a root infiltration problem. The found a joint
in the cast iron pipe that roots had grown through.
Is was something like $2K to line the pipe up to just past the joint with a
5 year guarantee. $4K to line the pipe all the way to the town's
I apply a $25 treatment of Root-X once a year and haven't had a root
problem in 3 years.
If the plumber said he thinks your parents' homeowners insurance might cover
the work, I assume that he has some reason to believe that -- such as prior
jobs that he did for others in the area that apparently were at least
partially covered by insurance. So, of course, check with your parents'
insurance agent to see what their policy says and what it does and does not
The video camera idea that was suggested by others would make sense to me.
Where is the property located? --which State? In my area (New Jersey and
nearby Pennsylvania) a video of a sewer line costs $295 or less. That would
definitely be worth it before chopping up concrete, in my opinion.
And, where does the sewer line run? Is it below the concrete in an open
basement, or is it below a cement slab that the first floor rooms of the
house are on? If it is an open basement, is there an exposed sewer stack
that comes down along the wall of the basement? Sometimes, you can tie into
the sewer stack in the basement above the floor and then run a new PVC sewer
line along the wall above the concrete floor, then through the exterior
wall, and then on the outside dig down and tie it into the exterior line
and/or the street sewer line. If all of the circumstances allow for this
idea, you could avoid digging up the concrete. But, then again, if it is an
open basement and the sewer line runs under the concrete basement floor,
opening up the basement floor may be easy. Especially in older homes,
sometimes the basement floor is just an easy-to-break 2-inch +/- slab that
breaks up very easily.
More info and/or a few photos may help in terms of getting ideas of what
your parents' options may be.
Let us know what you figure out on this one.
On Fri, 04 Apr 2014 07:34:26 -0500, Stormin Mormon
Even illegal aliens pay property taxes. Indirectly if they rent,
directly if they own. Just like everyone else.
The county paid for the sewer cleaning. The population of Baltimore
county is about 60,000 families, so my friend paid about 1/60,000th of
it in his taxes.
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