Toilet Still Misflushes After Septic Pumpout. Help?

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Jim, anything that might save me that $900 bite I'm willing to consider, 'cause I *really* can't afford it. I had already thought of that and was going to take a long look at things after the digging to see if it was something my S/O and I could manage. We're both pretty handy with general mechanical matters, but a little weak in plumbing. Any advice would be more than welcome and greatly appreciated. :-)
Thanks, Robyn
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Robyn wrote:

Go here: http://www.4-fernco.com/
Fernco makes a rubber coupling to connect virtually *any* pipe to *any* pipe. Once you find out what is buried down there, select an equivalent size of PVC pipe at HD. Cut out the bad section (how you do that will depend on the material. If it really *is* Orangeburg, cutting will be easy.
Select a Fernco to match the old to the new (2 of'em). Cut the new PVC about 1/2" shorter than the gap. Slide the couplings completely onto the PVC at each end. Drop the PVC in and then slide the couplings back to slip over the old pipe.
Rubber "Mission" couplings are generally used underground as they allow a bit more "give". Be sure the soil under the new pipe is stable and well compacted and supports the pipe.
If the pipe turns out to be vitrefied clay, use an abrasive saw blade in a circ saw or rent a saw.
Good luck.
Jim
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typed:

invest a little in hip boots and clothespins.
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Only thing you need to know to be a qualified plumber is......... Sh__ flows down hill, Payday is on Friday and don't ever put your fingers in your mouth!
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Speedy Jim wrote: <...>

I did mine. The original pipe was only about a foot down. It had been crushed by the weight of stuff being moved over it. Because the material is crumbly, it was easy to remove. I replaced about 4 feet with PVC instead of the whole 8' section because I didn't want to wrech her flower bed. PVC is much stronger than the original material so you probably don't have to worry about protecting it from heavy loads.
Good luck.
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We have an old farmhouse. The downstairs toilet started flushing slowly then backing up. We had the septic tank pumped and the line snaked but that only helped a little. We finally called another plumber who said that we needed a new toilet. Apparently the lime deposits had built up inside over the years preventing a strong siphon for the flush. It didn't make much sense to me at the time, but we had him install a new toilet and it works perfectly. Maybe you have a similar problem.
Paul
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I had the same old limed up toilet deal. Replaced the toilet (25yrs. old) after spending the money to pump the tank and snake out everything. It now works great. Hard to believe it was just the toilet, but true.
Actually I had two toilets acting up. Replaced the upstairs one and just delimed AND reamed out the opening where the tank, flush water jet, flows into the base of the "holding area". I removed the toilet to do this, propped it up so the acid would work in the necessary areas. Seems that a good jet of water down there gets everything flowing in the right way to start things moving, otherwise all you get is a swirling action and little flow.
brian
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<snip>

Aside from being rather labor-intensive, I really don't see that this is a job you couldn't do yourself. The job will go *much* faster if you have several friends helping you dig. Beer and pizza is all you need to line up as many helpers as you want. A reciprocating saw will be a helpful tool to remove the damaged section of pipe. As Speedy Jim has suggested, a new section of pipe with Fernco connectors should do the trick.
One thing... Are you absolutely certain that the pipe is damaged and that's what is causing your problem? What did the plumber do to diagnose this? Just make sure before you start to dig up your yard. :)
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In

Well, the digging really shouldn't be that big a deal, that's why we balked at the price. The pipe's only a couple of feet down and it's only about 3 feet long, maybe less, from the access pipe to the tank. There's only room for one person there, and it looks like maybe a half hour job or so, an hour tops.
As to your second question, we're starting to wonder. After the first slow flush when the plumber snaked it, the toilet started flushing just fine. I'm wondering if the snaking didn't do its job and that first flush didn't just need to send the last of the clog down the line? Oh, and while the weather was clear this morning, we shoved a hose down the roof vent and turned it on, just to make sure. It ran right down the access pipe and didn't obstruct at all. (That's another thing the plumber wanted to do, was snake the vent, to the tune of a few more hundred $$$$.
I'm starting to think maybe we should leave sleeping pipes buried, at least as long as there's no more trouble. Like I said, it would take under an hour to dig it up if need be, but the toilet is flushing fine at the moment. And thanks to the advice I've gotten here, I feel that we could replace the pipe if we had to. Oh, and when we looked down the access pipe, we saw what appeared ot be clean white PVC. Isn't the orangeburg stuff black? So I'm really hoping the pipe is just fine. Or do you guys think we should dig it up anyway and make sure? This whole situation has been totally nerve wracking.
Thanks! Robyn
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<snip>

You can certainly replace the questionable pipe if you want, but as long as things are working properly I wouldn't bother- unless you're concerned about a sudden blockage occurring. But if it's the sort of issue that gives you a bit of warning, "If it works, don't fix it." would seem to apply here.
If it backs up again, I would see about bringing in a different plumber and having a video sewer inspection done. A small TV camera run down the sewer lines will immediately reveal what the problem is (or isn't). Yes, it'll cost a couple of hundred bucks for this service, but you'll know *exactly* where the problem lies. Your options as to what needs to be done to correct the problem will then be very clear. It may very well be something that an occasional snaking will correct until your municipality comes in and hooks you up to the city sewer.
Just my .02 cents.
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In

Your .02 cents is greatly appreciated, and worth much more than that. :-) The video will cost $275, so if it does go wonky again, I think then what we'll do first is dig and see what's down there with our own eyes. It very well might go bad again, my first post was regarding the fact that the thing was fine after we had the septic tank pumped, and then screwed up a couple days after. So it's entirely possible the same thing may happen. If so, then I would think the crushed pipe scenario may be the right one, and maybe the snaking just opened a hole. Really hoping that's not the case, though. (Crossing fingers.)
As for a different plumber, this guy was the second one. I'm starting to think they're pretty much all the same price in my area. He did tell me that they don't get paid by the hour, but make commission, so it's to their benefit to charge as much as the market will bear. He even said that individual plumbers working for the same company will charge different prices, depending on the customer. Then he of course said that he was absolutely honest, unlike his coworkers. Gee, that made me feel better! I think I'm in the wrong line of work. :-)
Robyn
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On Sat, 17 Jul 2004 14:46:58 -0400, "Robyn"

Here a plumber costs $38/hr plus a $40 charge for the sewer machine. Just had a line snaked last week for $78. 5 years ago when I bought my house I brought in a sewer cleaning company from 35 miles away to do a video inspection. Total price for that was $80. Sounds like things are really cheap here, and really expensive where you are.
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Robyn,
Speedy Jim's got ya covered. He's got all the right answers, before you even ask the questions. Once you dig it up, replacing it is really pretty easy. The hardest part, will be cutting the old pipe out and if it IS orangeberg, then that will be easy, with the use of a saws-all, or even a regular handsaw.
The fernco couplings he's talking about are very easy to use. I didn't look at the link he provided, but they are a rubber gasket, covered usually in a stainless steel jacket. The rubber gasket fits over each pipe end (old and new on one side and then new and old on the other). You can slide the stainless steel jacket off to the side of the pipe, as you are working with the gasket and once the gasket is in place, place the jacket back over the gasket. With a small amount of mechanical savy, you can do this on your own.
I wish I was around more this weekend, to monitor your progress (posts), so I could offer some help. But Jim seems to be offering you as good (or better) advice than I can.
My only advice, is to remember that this will be a messy project. From the digging, all the way through messing around with that old sewer pipe. It's never much fun. But I really think you can do it. Be especially careful, when you cut the old pipe. There MAY be a very slight pressure behind that clog, just becuase there is water in the pipe, and once you cut through, a very small amount may squirt at you (at worst) and will probably run in the hole you are digging. Preapre yourself, to deal with that. And prepare to eat your french fries with a fork, the next few days :-)
But again, once you dig it open, it's a fairly straight forward repair. I wish I was in your area...I'd glady help for the price of a 12 pak...
Good luck...and let us know how you are coming.
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