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Please Help Me Regain My Husband's Sanity

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:02 am
OK, so we've been doing OK but not great financially, starting to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and wouldn't you know it -- the tunnel turns out to be full of turds.

Let me explain.

As part of getting back on our feet financially, we've been doing preventive medicine stuff for the house that we've been putting off -- had a bug guy come and see if we had a termite infestation (no) and do a protective spray, had tree trimmers come out and get dead wood off of our elm, that kind of thing. My mom had a horror story about roots growing into her sewer system (the exit pipe that goes from toilet to street) and backing everything up, so that's another thing we did. Had Rescue Rooter come out and pulverize roots (which did in fact exist), then as a second step put a video camera through to see how the pipes are doing.

Well, not good.

Evidently there are a bunch of roots making a bit of a screen at one point, that the camera couldn't punch through; and before that point, the old clay pipe has partially broken. And in that section, things are backing up. That' where the floating turds come in.

Evidently soon we'll be at my mom's horror story stage. Something needs to be done.

That's all straightforward enough -- the problem is the costs we were quoted for having something done. The Rescue Rooter guy says it'll be about $4,000 to just dig down and replace that single section of pipe. That section is about in the middle of the lawn -- of all possible places, not bad from a plant-loss perspective.

HOWEVER, we don't know what's going on beyond that section. The RR guy said that if there were problems that went out to the street, it would cost around $15,000.

This is where my husband started hyperventilating.

He's so upset about this that he asked me to become an expert, and summarize for him. This is my first step towards expert-dom. Lay it on me, anything you can think of -- other companies to check out, whether $15,000 sound patently wrong and why, the actual terminology involved so I can better research (like, is "exit pipe" right? I don't think so) whatever you got.

Thanks!!!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,887 • Replies: 71
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the prince
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:08 am
ISnt this covered by yr insurance?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:11 am
Nope.

At least, it doesn't seem to be, we've looked. If you have ideas to pursue that, lemme know.

Other "rooter" companies in Columbus:

Mr. Rooter
http://mrrooter1.reachlocal.net/
(866) 375-4603

Roto-Rooter
www.rotorooter.com
(877) 731-7686

Buckeye Rooter
http://www.contractors.com/ABuckeyeRooterService
(614) 491-3519
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:19 am
That price seems pretty damn steep.
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:23 am
And what roots did they pulverize?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:26 am
Roots that were growing in between the pipes.

From a variety of sources. From placement, I'd say mostly magnolia and elm roots.

The pulverizing and the camera were spaced out -- pulverizing happened a couple of weeks ago, camera yesterday. While I don't know if it's what you were asking, that's a question I had -- the pulverizing guy didn't do a very good job if there is a screen of roots now, did he? It sounds like it might be bits and pieces of roots from the pulverizing job that flowed downstream and gathered there, because the drain is partially collapsed. Sounds to me like pulverizer should come back, finish the job, and then camera guy can come back and look through the whole length.

You think?

This looks interesting (a non-trench way to replace a broken pipe):

http://rotorooter.com/residential/sewerlinereplacement.php
0 Replies
 
blacksmithn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:27 am
I agree, the price seems pretty damned steep. Have you gotten other estimates? That's how I'd start.
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Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:29 am
We live in a 1860's farmhouse, the original indoor plumbing was done around 1940. When I moved in around 1990 there was obvious outdoor pipe problems. I discovered it when I noticed a few blobs of toilet paper stuck to the house where one of the outdoor pipes goes out of the stone foundation and into the ground to the septic. The pipe sticking out of the ground is metal and it had a hole the size of a dime drilled into it. I was originally told that the old lady who lived in the house before me would poor hot water down the hole in winter to keep the pipe from freezing, it actually worked. However, I'm seeing the toilet paper in July, which means it's shooting out of the clogged pipe. We dig around and find that the clay pipe is completely broken from both age and tree roots. My husband and his nephew pick axe down to the pipe (3 feet down) and follow it to the septic. They remove the old clay pipe (in pieces and full of unmentionables) and replace it with regulation PVC (I think). He says it took more muscle than brains. I don't what happens if you are hooked to the town's waste system, but it our case we were able to fix the problem ourselves.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:30 am
In my old place (I rented thank god!) we had the same problem. We had the roots and the broken pieces. Or problems started just about at our basement wall and continued to the main city line that runs down the middle of the street. THe owners had to have someone dig in and fix what was on their property (in a little garden) and the city sent someone to fix the problem from there to the street. It cost about 13,000 I think. The owners had to pay for the whole thing, I believe, even the parts that belonged to the city. It was about 15 feet of piping.

BUT! The alternative is is impossible to live with, so....
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:34 am
I was going to suggest she try doing the job herself, Greenwitch, but for now I would strongly advise the return of the pulverizer guy.

Doesn't sound like he lived up to his part of the bargain.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:35 am
Wow, that's certainly something to think about when $15,000 is at stake, Green Witch.

The RR guy said the pipe was about 10 feet down -- possible, but neither of us quite trust him. That's something else to determine.

Blacksmithn, yeah, that's what E.G. is up to while I try to learn everything I can about the subject. Roto-Rooter is looking promising to me.

Oooh, that's scary, littlek.

I'm sincerely hoping that the one section is the only broken section.

Roto-rooter has some other really interesting stuff on their site, too, like doing "pipe relining":

Quote:
Pipe Relining
Relining is the process of repairing damaged sewer pipes by creating a "pipe within a pipe" to restore function and flow. Epoxy relining materials mold to the inside of the existing pipe to create a smooth new inner wall, similar to the lining found in food cans.

Many times, pipe relining can be performed through a building's clean-out access and often requires little digging. Pipe relining may be used to repair root-damaged pipes, seal cracks and holes, fill in missing pipe and seal joint connections underground, in roof drain pipes, in storm lines and under concrete. The relined pipe is seamless and durable, and all materials used in the relining process are non-hazardous.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:36 am
gustavratzenhofer wrote:
I was going to suggest she try doing the job herself, Greenwitch, but for now I would strongly advise the return of the pulverizer guy.

Doesn't sound like he lived up to his part of the bargain.


Thanks for a second opinion there. That's definitely what I was thinking.
0 Replies
 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:39 am
I've had to repair pipe in the dead of winter. By hand. Started with an ice pick to work my way through the frozen soil, then shoveled once I reached pliable dirt. I had to dig a hole large enough for me to work my way down to where I could repair the broken pipe.

Not fun. But I saved a shitload of money.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:40 am
Literally.

10 feet down, though?

There was something about the trench needing to be 4 feet wide to be safe.

Backhoes.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:47 am
Hmm, I call it a sewer line.

My parents had clay pipe replaced in the fifties, but I've no memory of what with, or how much, not that how much would apply now.

I know nada about things like relining.

I wonder about a licensed plumber - I don't know if they regularly handle that kind of job, or if they do, if they are always more expensive. But I would check plumbers' ads in the phone book to see and make a few calls or see if there are websites..

in fact, there are probably websites about this kind of problem - I look around to at least beef up my vocabulary.

Roto-rooter may well be the smartest choice.. just wondering.

On how deep the pipe is, maybe you can figure out from city engineering charts how deep the sewer drain along the street is at the point of your house... the drain might start around three feet at your house and then slant down to meet the street pipe...
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 07:49 am
you might check with "angieslist.com" if they operate in your area
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 08:02 am
Just remember todo what you're going to do quickly. At my old place, sewage was coming up into our bathtubs, toilets, sinks and into our clothes washer. It was all across the basement floor too. We had to pay the extra fee of having someone come in to sterilize the basement. One handy owner than installed a sump pump on his own to handle any possible future sewage or rainwater flooding.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 08:02 am
We had this -- video and everything ("The attack of the killer tree roots") -- a year ago or maybe it was 2.

Stuff that goes out into the street may very well be the town's (city's?) responsibility. And try making an insurance claim anyway. What the hell. You may find that at least pieces of the job are covered.

Anyway, it did not cost us $13k. It cost us, if I recall correctly, less than $1k. This was, let's see -- remove the azalea (we did that ourselves), then they just went in and snaked the hell out of it. Fortunately, the pipe was not broken (or if it was, it wasn't bad). If yours is, that's a different story, I imagine.

I suppose we'll have to go in again, eventually, and fix it for real, but so far so good. But that's kind of my point -- does it have to be absolutely, completely and perfectly fixed right now, or will a partial job do, until things are better financially?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 08:04 am
It's broken, yep.

Littlek, good point.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2006 08:08 am
So... maybe get a couple opinions on whether it needs to be replaced now or if it can be mended to be fixed later.

How are your drains behaving inside your house? Is everything flushing and draining well?
0 Replies
 
 

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