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Thread: Sewer question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    64

    Default Sewer question

    Hi guys

    Every year Denver water comes by and "cleans" out the sewers. Not sure what they do on their end. Every year I have problems with this issue.

    I have a drain in the basement that is used in case the hot water heater leaks. It works fine regardless how much water I run down the drain either from the kitchen just directly above, or pour down the drain in the floor.

    Every year, the water guys come and over the next day or two I end up with water problems. If I run my dishwasher, or let a sink of water drain, the water backs up into the basement from this drain. I don't have a snake long enough so I end up calling a professional plumber. This year I just can't afford it. Of course my conversations with Denver water in the past have lead me nowhere. They claim that because it is on the line to my house it is my responsibility and they won't do anything. They claim that the water has been backing up for months and I just now realize it.

    I need advice on what I can do to either clear the drain myself or what I can tell Denver water to make them fix the problem they created.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    820

    Default Re: Sewer question

    all i can recommend is a little exploration. hire a plumber that has a snake camera. he can run the camera from your house all the way to the main sewer line in the street. maybe he'll be able to shed some light on the problem.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    SoCal
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    5,081

    Default Re: Sewer question

    You're on your own on this one. Your water company won't lift a finger to help you, no matter what causes your problem. But if your problem goes away after you snake your line, then do just that.

    You may want to invest in a good 75 ft drain cleaner, and if it's too short, install a clean-out along the way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    South*East
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    1,168

    Default Re: Sewer question

    What happens when you flush your toilets? Are the sewers in your area both sewer and storm water? Something isn't right if the toilets don't also backup into the basement. Both the toilets and the kitchen sink should run into the same line.

    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    WI
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    108

    Default Re: Sewer question

    As said above,the city will not do anything if the clog is on your side of the point where your main meets their sewer,which I'm guessing is in the street.
    How far from your main clean out to the sewer? I measured mine and it is a 90' run. I have 3 large trees in my front yard and their roots grow into the main. About once a year I have to go rent a cable to clean out my main. It is 100' 1" diameter power cable for cleaning out main drains. My local rental place has 100,75,and 50' for rent. It cost me about $40 to rent,and is a pretty nasty job,but a heck of a lot cheaper than calling a roto-rooter type place. I've never had luck with those hand cranked snakes when it comes to 4" main line,I only use those on sinks.
    (And yes,I've tried root killer!)
    Last edited by 67drake; 03-15-2013 at 09:20 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,081

    Default Re: Sewer question

    Quote Originally Posted by 67drake View Post
    As said above,the city will not do anything if the clog is on your side of the point where your main meets their sewer,which I'm guessing is in the street.
    How far from your main clean out to the sewer? I measured mine and it is a 90' run. I have 3 large trees in my front yard and their roots grow into the main. About once a year I have to go rent a cable to clean out my main. It is 100' 1" diameter power cable for cleaning out main drains. My local rental place has 100,75,and 50' for rent. It cost me about $40 to rent,and is a pretty nasty job,but a heck of a lot cheaper than calling a roto-rooter type place. I've never had luck with those hand cranked snakes when it comes to 4" main line,I only use those on sinks.
    (And yes,I've tried root killer!)
    Have you ever run a camera in your long main line?

    I bet your line is busted in a few places, and if it is, replacement (not relining) would be the answer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Sewer question

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    Have you ever run a camera in your long main line?

    I bet your line is busted in a few places, and if it is, replacement (not relining) would be the answer.
    Thanks for the tip.
    Nope,I'm too cheap! I always just cleared it out myself. Never hired somebody with a camera. I'm only going to be in this house 2 more years,so I have my fingers crossed it won't need another cleaning.
    I wish I would have thought of that 16 years ago when I moved here. It would have been worth my while to look into that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Sewer question

    Thanks for all the tips. I may look into renting a snake that is long enough to do the job. Sure sounds cheaper than hiring a plumber. Not sure about hiring one with a snake cam, although tempted to hire one to sit here next time the water folks come and "clean" the street drains.

    The toilets don't seem to back stuff up. There isn't enough water that goes down the toilets to back stuff up. It does take a considerable amount of water to run in order for the drain in the basement to back up. Long showers, dishwashers, and a load of laundry are all the main reason we have a problem.

    Guess I know how I'm going to be spending my Sunday. Thanks folks

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    WI
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: Sewer question

    Quote Originally Posted by Capellam44 View Post
    Thanks for all the tips. I may look into renting a snake that is long enough to do the job. Sure sounds cheaper than hiring a plumber. Not sure about hiring one with a snake cam, although tempted to hire one to sit here next time the water folks come and "clean" the street drains.

    The toilets don't seem to back stuff up. There isn't enough water that goes down the toilets to back stuff up. It does take a considerable amount of water to run in order for the drain in the basement to back up. Long showers, dishwashers, and a load of laundry are all the main reason we have a problem.

    Guess I know how I'm going to be spending my Sunday. Thanks folks
    I'm just a DIY homeowner,but having done this about 10-12 times I'll throw in a few tips here since you are going this route.
    Make sure the cap on your clean out comes off before you rent the drain cable. If you have old corroded pipes like me those covers can stick. I've had to take a small sledge hammer to rap the pipe,and once even had to apply heat from my torches to get the cover off. No big deal,but you don't want to deal with this AFTER you rent the cable and the clock is ticking as you pay by the hour to rent it!
    Move everything you can out of the way for 4-5' in all directions of the clean out before you start,you'll be slinging sh** that far.
    Before I start I run the water till it just starts to back up through the floor drain. When I hit the "clog" and the water drops,I then run the water continually till I'm done. This helps flush the gunk that you loosen up down the drain.
    Wear some leather gloves. I work with my hands for a living,but that cable still tears them up.
    The 100" cable,motor,and frame that I rent weighs about 250 lbs.,make sure you have somebody to lend you a hand going up and down stairs and in and out of your truck. If you can do this by yourself,your more of a man than me.
    If you have a nice Suburban or SUV (unlike me),you might want to have some plastic or cardboard on hand to put down to transport. Unless you don't mind dripping sh** in it.
    It's not hard to do,it's just a nasty job!
    Last edited by 67drake; 03-16-2013 at 08:28 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Sewer question

    I have attempted this cleaning before myself with 2 types of instruments. 1 snake that wasn't long enough to make it to the street and therefore not long enough to fix the clog, and 2 a tip you put on your hose that sends pressurized water down the drain. The end expands to fit the drain so you don't have water flying back up at you. But I never thought about starting with a "full" drain so I can tell when I hit the clog and it is cleared. Going to have to try that next time I dig into the pipe.

    Quote Originally Posted by 67drake View Post
    I'm just a DIY homeowner,but having done this about 10-12 times I'll throw in a few tips here since you are going this route.
    Make sure the cap on your clean out comes off before you rent the drain cable. If you have old corroded pipes like me those covers can stick. I've had to take a small sledge hammer to rap the pipe,and once even had to apply heat from my torches to get the cover off. No big deal,but you don't want to deal with this AFTER you rent the cable and the clock is ticking as you pay by the hour to rent it!
    Move everything you can out of the way for 4-5' in all directions of the clean out before you start,you'll be slinging sh** that far.
    Before I start I run the water till it just starts to back up through the floor drain. When I hit the "clog" and the water drops,I then run the water continually till I'm done. This helps flush the gunk that you loosen up down the drain.
    Wear some leather gloves. I work with my hands for a living,but that cable still tears them up.
    The 100" cable,motor,and frame that I rent weighs about 250 lbs.,make sure you have somebody to lend you a hand going up and down stairs and in and out of your truck. If you can do this by yourself,your more of a man than me.
    If you have a nice Suburban or SUV (unlike me),you might want to have some plastic or cardboard on hand to put down to transport. Unless you don't mind dripping sh** in it.
    It's not hard to do,it's just a nasty job!

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