Roots in the Sewer Follow-On Question

Rather than hijack the prior thread, I'll start a new one. The three toilets in my home seem to be a little sluggish when they flush. Because of the layout of the property, I don't think there is a problem with roots in the sewer line to the street, but that could be wrong. Should I get a plumber to snake a camera down the line to look for roots? If not, what should I do first?
Our local gas utility just sent a post card invitation for us to pay them $4 per month for sewer line insurance. Maybe I should buy that insurance before I do anything. :)
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Recently I had a tenant complain of the toilets and shower being sluggish. To make the story short, they got a plumber to snake out the house cleanout. Apparently they were using too much toilet paper. Since the plumber came, all is well.
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On 4/7/2013 1:22 PM, Doug wrote:

I had a drunk roommate flush handfuls of flushable moist wipes don our toilet and a plumber that the house owner hired found quite a clog in the line below the toilet. The moist towelettes can be safely flushed one or two at a time but armloads don't go down so well. I once extracted a plastic toy from a toilet that was overflowing on a regular basis. The toy belonged to the resident 4 year old. ^_^
TDD
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Good question. And assuming it covers problems like roots or replacement, then for sure I'd get the insurance before doing anything else. Then at some point, it could be cleaned out and inspected. Could be just some routine blockage or roots, or a failing line. Possibilities depend on how old it is, trees, all stuff we don't know
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Money. The company doing the insuring is giving the gas company a commission to make them look legit.
Is it worth $48 a year? Hard to say. I've been a homeowner for 47 years and never needed any drain service so at that rate, I'm $2256 ahead of the game.
One time I did have a problem, but it was cause by the electric company putting in a pole and breaking my line. They paid all the repair costs.
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On 4/7/2013 4:04 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

The gas utility replaced some of the gas lines in a suburb with a directional drill along the street - starts maybe 30 degrees from horizontal then turns to horizontal. They drilled through at least one sewer line and their new plastic gas line crossed inside a house sewer to the street. Homeowner had the sewer 'cleaned' and the cutter cut through the gas line, which is higher pressure than gas pipes in houses. The mechanic smelled gas, got everyone out of the house, and the house blew up.
The gas utility 'paid all the repair costs'.
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around here a cable company had a contractor putting in new undergroun lines, the crew drilled thru a gas line, told no one and left. a few hours later kids came home from school and several homes exploded......
i think someone died.
all schools should teach a safety course, on smell of natural gas and what to do when you smell it, what to do if a power line falls on a vehicle etc
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wrote:

There was a time, not so long ago, when the people were smart enough to figure all that out for themselves without government holding their hand.
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Good point, I missed that part
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'mcp6453[_2_ Wrote: > I don't think there is a problem with roots in the sewer line to the > street, but that could be wrong?
MCP:
A toilet is really nothing more than a glorified syphon. In a regular syphon hose, you suck on the end of the hose to fill it with liquid, and as long as the downstream end of the syphon hose is at a lower elevation that the liquid in the tank you're syphoning from, the Laws of Syphon Physics take over to keep the liquid flowing through the syphon hose.
No one would buy a toilet that you had to suck on the outlet end to get it to flush, so instead what happens is that water from the toilet tank flows into the bowl in sufficient quantity and fast enough to completely fill the channel leading from the bowl to the outlet of the toilet. Once that channel is full of water, those same Laws of Syphon Physics take over and turn that discharge channel into a big 2 1/2 inch diameter syphon hose that sucks the bowl dry. So, by filling that discharge channel full of water somehow, it transforms into a giant siphon hose, and the flushing of the toilet bowl is nothing more than that giant siphon hose sucking the contents out of the bowl.
So, what you should do is pour a 5 gallon pail of water into each of your sluggish toilets as quickly as you can without spilling water all over the floor, and observe each toilet bowl to see that it not only flushes, but flushes with enthusiasm! If any of your toilets flush better under the 5 gallon test, then the problem is upstream of the water in the bowl in those toilets. It could be that the toilet tanks don't have enough water in them, or that the tank water isn't flowing into the bowl fast enough. And, that could be due to the flush valve not opening fully or that the holes under the rims of the bowls or the jet hole at the bottom of the bowls are clogged up and not allowing water to flow through them, and therefore reducing the rate at which water flows into the bowl.
If a toilet is still sluggish with the 5 gallon pail test, then the problem with that toilet is downstream of the water in the toilet bowl. It could be that your drain piping is partially clogged with solids (mostly from the kitchen sink), and what you need to do is have the main drain line from your house cleared.
So, do the 5 gallon pail test on each toilet and let us know what the results are. If you find that you have to stop pouring water into any toilet because the water is about to overflow the bowl, then that's almost certainly the result of your main drain line being clogged up with solids from your kitchen sink, and you need to hire a plumber to clear that line with a motorized snake. The "snakes" sold in hardware stores for clearing drains simply aren't long enough or powerful enough to clear a long length of 4 inch drain piping all the way out to the middle of the street or avenue your house is on.
--
nestork


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the toilet could be sludge filled the interior water passages filled with crud. muriatic acid can fix that...
if any toilet flushes solids well with a bucket of water dumped in the bowl, the drains are ok
especially at this time of the year, early spring trees about to leaf out. you could have tree roots clogging the sewer line...
get a 25 pound bag of plain rocksalt used to clear ice and snow. dump 1/2 in basement washtub, mix with hot water and a shovel. you want a salt rich water bath. do this when everyone will be out for the day. you dont want to move the salt water along or dilute it........
its a cheap fast fix that works great
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On 4/7/2013 11:58 AM, mcp6453 wrote:

If nothing has been used for a while the sewer lines would drain. If a toilet is then 'sluggish' the problem is near the toilet.
I like Nestork's idea of pouring water in the toilet, but 5 gallons may be way too much.
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wrote:

Average toylet only requires about 1.6 gallons - some as little as 1.3
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