A sewer line is rarely filled. The video camera snakes have bright
LED lights on the end. If you get to a point where you can't see
anything, you've found the blockage, right?
Apparently, no one has used one of these. On the camera end, they have
nozzles that take high pressure water and spray it onto the walls of the
pipe, like a power sprayer. This flushes goo ahead of the camera, or just
cleans out spots the camera wants to get a better look. If the pipes are
installed correctly, the poop runs downhill, and there's a clear field of
vision. I watched the guy do mine, and I was amazed at the small amount of
fluid in the line. Mine had a root which they snipped. But at the same
time, they will jet the whole line, cleaning off the pipe walls, and leaving
you with a whole lot better system. Of course, they don't do it cheap or
for free, as these machines cost quite a bit, and their time is worth
something, what with the truck, and the insurance, and the licenses, and all
I did do the "roto-rooter" routine -- twice. Actually, I paid the plumbing
company that I use to come out twice in two weeks and they cleared it out
both times. After that, I had the town clear it out two more times in about
a 2-week period and that worked both times. It is not presently clogged,
and there is still some uncertainty (according to the town people) about
what may be causing the problem and/or where the problem is located.
Watch on ebay and try to find a system at a bargain price. Of course, you
won't know how to use it, or what you're looking at when you see it, or what
to look for, but you will save some bucks. Oh, but then, you'd have to
start renting it out to recoup your outlay, or try to sell it for at least
what you got for it, and maybe make a few bucks.
HIRE A PRO, YOU CHEAP BASTARD.
After my original post, I did try going to ebay to see if they were
available for sale, what they cost, etc.
I was surprised to see this type of obnoxious comment from you, 1) because I
don't recall you being that type of poster on this newsgroup in the past,
and, 2) because you don't know me, and you have no idea about who I am or
whether this has anything to do with me trying to be cheap (which it
You must be new here. I've been here for many years. There are times when
you need to go to a pro and pay the man what he wants. Lawyers, surgeons,
and plumbers come to mind.
Every time I have had a major plumbing problem I couldn't fix, I called the
pros, and every time, they came and fixed it. Every time, it was beyond the
scope of my experience or tools. And every time, I was happy to give the
man a check, and know the problem was solved.
You seem to like the experimentational approach.
I like your approach (hire a pro). However, the last time I hired a
plumber (the best in town, they said) was for a small leak from the body
of my Moen kitchen faucet. $225 and weeks of futile attempts later, this
newsgroup suggested I call Moen, since there lkely was a known problem
with the faucet (vacuum breaker). I did, was offered a free part, but
took the new faucet for $50 plus 2-day shipping. Plumber had offered to
put in the new faucet if the last "fix" didn't work, and required only
mild prodding by spouse to do so.
After many yearly rotorooter attempts, we finally gave in to the sewer
digger and had the 70 year-old clay sewer pipe replaced by modern
plastic. Plus the town paid to have the lateral fixed. SO far so good.
We'll find out in a few years if this fix was worth our $2900 for the 20
feet or so of pipe.
Like I said ........
I just adjusted the new Moen controls on our new showers. A very simple
thing involving two screws that would have cost at least $100 for a pro to
do. I can install a complete toilet rebuild in about thirty minutes. What
would it cost for a plumber to do that? Know how to let the sand out of the
input valves on my toilet's apparatus. But for the big stuff, unless you're
a plumber, don't risk it.
Over 10 years ago plumbers wanted 8 grand to replace the line from
house to street, not including the line under my basement:(
then there was the cost to replace a retaining wall, driveway, and
sidewalk let alone landscaping.
thats why I went the rock salt route.......
incidently theres a new approach that saves digging.
they clean it out, put like a sock in it, expand and cure with with
very hot water.
leaves a seemless liner and saves digging.
its pricey but depending on depth and what the line is under it might
be worth it.
our line is over 8 feet deep at street.....
and for the OP the tree over the line would have to be cut down, so
add that cost and the loss of a mature tree to the costs......
rock salt is cheap.
but reportedly not good for septic tanks...........
google rock salt & septic tanks.
salt water is heavier than regular water, it drops to the bottom of
the tank stirs the sludge which can clog the drain field.....
a untrained person attempting to use a lage snake runs a big risk, if
the snake breaks off then instant digging and line replacement.....
line must be snaked and roots trimmed before camera inspection
<snipped for brevity>
We had gone the route of snaking, rotorooting, copper sulfate etc (didn't
try rock salt, OK?) many years. We found out that the town would come at
least once a year and rotoroot the sewer line for free, even on weekends.
However, the constant risk of sewage in the basement finally made us spring
for a definitive fix (we hope).
The line is only about 4-5 foot deep in the yard, seems to pass almost
under a big oak tree (we could hear it mumble yummm every time we flushed)
at the street edge. Distance to street only about 20 feet max. All in all
our portion of the work was done nicely and carefully by the 3-man crew in
a couple of hours. Next day the street (cul de sac) was bocked almost all
day while they worked on the town portion.
The problem was not only roots and cracks in the pipes, but also debris
from partial collapses in the town portion. Hopefully this will also fix
the flooding that other homes in the street have had, even after their
sewer lines (home to street, but not further) were fixed a few years ago.
Depends on location of tree, and size of tree. A trees root area is
larger than the drip line outside permiter of branches plus say 25%''
digging too close can kill injur or make the tree unstable in
plus the line must have enough fall, normally that 1/4 inch per foot
all of these constraints make re routing the line difficult to
impossible in many cases
I contacted the city after two of four sewer blockages at our condo.
The second time, they came out and ran a camera up from their main sewer
line and up ours. They determined that our line was "in bad shape", but
gave no other details. Right after that, they installed a clean out at
the edge of our property, so that we would, in the future, only have to
go that far to remove obstructions. After that, the condo hired a
plumber to scope it, and I watched while they did it - could see pretty
plainly that the bottom of the cast iron line was gone. One guy fed the
line into the sewer and watched the monitor while the other tracked the
probe, using something that looked like a metal detector and sounded
when it was over the camera....the line has markings for distance, so's
one will know where the blockages are.
My son has an underwater camera for fishing that he raves
about....haven't seen it, don't know how it would work, but here is a
link on some....
Thanks. That last idea about the fish camera is interesting. I bought a
small aluminum fishing boat about a year ago and it came with a "fish
finder" (not an underwater camera). My nephew thinks the fish finder is
great (even though it is practically worthless at finding fish)l, and he was
talking about how he saw on the Internet that some people use actual
underwater cameras. I'll have to make a trip to the marine supply stores
and take a look and the underwater cameras to see how big they are, how they
work, etc. I have a hunch that the focal length of those cameras wouldn't
work for close-ups like in a sewer pipe, but who knows. What an interesting
idea! Thanks for mentioning it.
Will do. They have actually been very easy and freindly to work with, so I
may end up working that out with them. One thing they did say was that
their existing main sewer line is probably old "terra cotta"(sp?) so it
cannot be detected directly with a metal detector. So I guess to locate the
line they would have to run something into the line that a detector could
pick up. My street was actually all marked out already for gas lines, water
lines, etc. by the State because they were repaving most of the street and
redoing curbs nearby about a year ago. My property is one of 4 in a row and
the other 3 have green marking for where the curb vent is located. Mine
shows no green markings.
Terra cotta is clay pipe. Similar to the mediterranean style (orange)
roof tiles. It is very good, but somewhat brittle. Plus, tree roots can
find the seams and grow in, thus cracking the stuff. It's what my
sewerline (1929, so now 80 years old) was made of.
Learn to use a witch. Two pieces of straight baling wire, 14" long, bent at
a 90 at 4". Hold them one in each hand, loosely, with them pointing
forward. Walk around. When you walk over a line, the two will swing inward
to parallel to each other. It works, and I've used it for decades. Don't
do it around Mormons. They think you're the devil.
Find out what company the town uses for sewer work. Ask that company
whether they want to give you an estimate for the costs of your part of
the fix, and whether they can get the town to fix what the town should.
Worked for us, although we stumbled across the company first, promised
them the work, then asked them to see whether the town should fix their
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