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Update on the Plumbing Issues

So I mentioned a couple days ago about the plumbing issues that I've been having at the house. Today I had yet another few people come out and try to look at things, and while it was enlightening, it was also frightening (and costly).

Originally, I had Deschutes Plumbing come out early this afternoon (after the guy who I had been dealing with all month quit answering my calls). They came out, I explained to them everything the previous guy had tried, but they still ran the snake down the line just to make sure. Since I don't have a clean out in my backyard (our sewer lines run through our back yard), they have to go up on our roof, run the snake from there, so they lose at least 20 feet of snake before they even get to the sewer line outside. They ran their snake, and it came out crystal clean, meaning it was further than their snake would reach (which was approximately 150 feet, minus the footage lost by going through the roof). They tried to think of what else it might have been, but basically didn't want to leave anything to chance -- they wanted to bring in somebody with a longer snake. They were nice enough to not charge me for their visit since they really couldn't do anything, and later in the day, Vic from American Rooter stopped by. He ran down his insanely long jetter, did run into a clog way out there, and blasted it away. Then he ran his camera down there, and found the cause of my problems: About two feet from where my sewer line runs into the city line, there was a huge clump of roots. We ran the camera into the city sewer line as well, and saw some more roots (though most of it was in my line). My guess is that the roots are coming from the trees planted by the neighbors behind us just a couple years ago (they're planted in a weird spot, behind their small shed, so I don't know their purpose exactly, other than to wreck pipes).

They've gotten into the joints, and at some point, we'll need to replace that joint. The problem? That joint, and it's hook into the City main line, is underneath a large shed that is a pain to move (we had to completely dismantle the thing to get it there in the first place). So to permanently fix the problem, that shed will need to be moved, sewer line dug up (which, thankfully, is only a few feet underground right there, we found out), and joint replaced and root protection of some sort put into place to prevent those roots from getting in there again. The temporary solution is to install a clean out, as we don't have a clean out outside, forcing folks to run a snake down the vent in the roof, which is an inch smaller than the actual sewer line (three inches versus four inches) so they can't get good tools down there that would fit the diameter of the pipe to really scrape it clean. Then once a clean out is installed, a good scraper can be ran down there that can scrape those stinking roots out of there. Then we can start sending down some root killer on an annual basis to keep things clean (though we still need to fix that joint long term). But we can't really get that root killer in place properly without a cleanout.

That cost me four Benjamins to find that out (thank goodness for those little zero-percent checks that your credit card company occassionally sends out). But the guy did have a longer snake than anybody, and did clean things out (other than that root bunch) to the city line, so we do have flow in the house again. And hopefully that's the only problem with the pipes, which look mostly clean otherwise.

But the cleanout is the key, and will make it so that if we do have problems in the future, folks won't have to get on the roof to find them. So guess what I'll be digging up this weekend?

Update on 1/7: My father-in-law, bless his soul, came over and exposed the pipe while I was at work today. He found all sorts of fun stuff with bad joints, shoddy patches, too-tight of elbows and we're just going to have to end up replacing that whole three-foot stretch of pipe and elbows while installing the clean-out, as I don't really feel comfortable burying that stuff again. So I'll be calling somebody to come out and take care of that tomorrow (and we've made their life much easier by exposing the entirety of the pipe and then some).

Posted by Jake on 01/07/09 @ 09:33 AM
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We Have A Functional Sewer Again from UtterlyBoring.com on 01/08/09 @ 11:00 PM:
After digging things yup yesterday after having issues for a while, it appears we now have everything under control again, and things are flowing fine. We dug up about an... (Read More)

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