Help!!! Urgent!!! Drain problems in winter

Hi experts:
I have an urgent issue here that need your help. Our house is very old, about 60 year old? Each year, it gives us some trouble, today is the roofing, tomorrow will be the licking. Ad for sewer, it always have been a small problem until now.
Last week sometime, our basement washroom toilet drain very very slow. So we hired a plumber to snake through basement sewer. After almost an hour of trying, he finally got through a little bit (he said)and took out some tiny pieces of smail roots, he also indicated that the problem was the main drain underground got cracked by roots. He only can open a little bit of it by now, but we need to hire him to open up ground outside of the house and replace the cracked pipe and that will cost around $1500.
We said that we will think about it and today, we found out that the drain clogged again. Could any one give us some advices on
1. if it is the problem of the cracked pipe outside of the house or it is other stuff?
2. What if it is not because of the outside of the house, what if it is somewhere underground inside the house?
3. And if it is the roots problem, how come it didn't happen in summer? Roots grow in winter too?
Thanks very much for your advices.
Andrew
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"Andrew"
The key is this. When you flush a toilet upstairs, does it come up in the basement somewhere or not. If it doesn't, then the problem is just with that toilet itself (probably). Even if your sewer is clogged with roots, they can usually be cut through with an auger. Call someone else, and explain your situation. Two opinions might be in order here.
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A sewer doesn't have to be cracked to have roots get in it. They commonly get in through joints such as terra cotta clay pipe hubs or any joint not well sealed.

Generally you can get an indication where the clog is by how much snake is pushed into the pipe. Sometimes you can hear the snake in the yard or even through a basement floor if you listen while it's turning. Outside you can confirm it's location using a probe.

Generally this happens in spring or fall when roots are most active but this is not always the case. Maybe a tampon string, a paper towel or a piece of dental floss got snagged by the roots and began accumulating solids eventually clogging the pipe.
Like Mike said, you might want to call another Co. to snake it. Generally with the right cutting head on the end of the snake they can chew up the roots and you're good to go for a year of so, and it's not unusual to have to snake it twice to completely clear it. Someone experienced can usually tell by feel if he cleared pipe or if the pipe is possibly collapsing and how far down the pipe the problem is. If the pipe runs near some trees or hedges it's a good guess that's where the roots are getting in but again, that's not always the case.
Good luck.
~C~

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unless they originally installed orangeburg pipe(kind of like aroll of tar paper) then you are SOL
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Hi guys: Just want to thank you all for your opinions, they are very valuable to me when I discuss the issue with plumbers.
Here is the update for now: We live in GTA area (Great Toronto Area). Several plumbers had came last night to check out the issue. Almost all of them said that the problem is from the outside of the house. What some of them did was to open the manhole, drop an icecube in, they heard the icecube fell into water that made quite big of water dropping sound. Therefore, they said that it clogged passed manhole where close to the city sewer pipe somewhere.
Now it seems the only solution here for us is to hire one of them that we think will do the best of the job to dig up the ground, replace the pipe (we are also planning sell the house this year, so we do want to fix it up for the new buyer). It will cost around $1400 CAD, I was told that maybe we could get city rebate of some sort of $500. I hope by doing so, it eventually stop the hassle for next several years.
Thanks again to all experts, I found many useful tips on this newsgroup, really appreciate it.
Andrew
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"Andrew"
Oh yeah...the "ice cube test." I should have thought of that sooner.
Either you Hosers have a weird system up there, or you're not explaining things well. Here, in residential applications, sewer manholes are on city mains. If the manhole is holding a bunch of water back, then it's the city's problem.
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Yeah, actually, the plumbers we hired to do the job said that most likely we will get city rebate of most of the money (hopefully) back afterwards. Well, this got to be fixed asap. Thanks again for the advices guys.
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ok ,i also have this great deal on some dry land in the middle of the florida everglades.
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