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Old 09-04-2013, 02:21 PM  
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Default Constant clogging issues

Hey guys, I realize it's really hard to diagnose plumbing issues if you're not there, but maybe you can help me with a bit of a mystery. If not, then this will help me vent at least I bought a house a couple of years ago that was built in 1969. Cast iron pipes galore.

The first year I had some clogging issues because I was flushing paper towels down the toilet. I didn't know better
At the time, the plumber showed up and, since I didn't have a clean-out, he had to go to the roof and auger the paper towels out.

Fast forward to this year. I got a roommate three months ago and about a month in, I got all the drains in the house clogged up. After questioning the offender, I found out she was flushing her tampons. Several beatings later, I was able to convince her that you can't do that in old houses. Anyway, called the plumber, and $270 later, the drain was unclogged. However, nothing was pulled out, so I couldn't see exactly what had clogged it. This is where it starts getting interesting. One week later, the drains got clogged again. I called the plumber back, but since I didn't have a clean-out, there was not warranty on the work. They did give me a discount, so I only had to pay $200. One week later, same story. Called them back, same price, $200 and the clog was relieved. But, on this last visit, they detected where my lines where and told me where I had to dig outside the house to install a clean-out.

One month later, I finally was able to coincide with my dad, who is a plumber, to make the trip and help me install this mythical clean-out.

Two weeks ago, my drains got clogged again. I found out that someone had been flushing wipes on a regular basis. After another round of discussions, I was able to convince her that you can't do that in old houses.

Called the plumber, a different one from the previous occasions, and he used an auger to clear the clog. However, he had a hell of a time doing it. He basically fed the whole snake into the line (I believe it was 50'). He gave up and said that he was going to try through the toilet, which I had removed prior to his visit. It was as he was retrieving the cable that the drain started to flow again.

Ten days later, the drains were clogged again. No culprits this time, so I figured it was the same previous clog. Called them back under the 30 day warranty, and same story. The guy had a hell of a time, feeding almost all the line, and unclogging it only as he was retrieving it.

So... what's going out with my drains?!?! I have two full bathrooms, and the clean-out is close to one of them, placed between that bathroom and the line exit to the street. I'm not sure what other details would be pertinent at this point, so I will wait for questions. Tonight I get to go home to a clogged system, so maybe I'll figure out what to do, not involving another call to the plumber.

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Old 09-04-2013, 05:14 PM  
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I would suggest finding a plummer that has a scope that can be run down the system to see where the problem area is. The cost will be a lot less than $200.00 bills flying out the window every other week in the long run.

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Old 09-04-2013, 06:37 PM  
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I'm actually waiting for a scope that I ordered online. I have to figure it out on my own since the first three plumbers used a camera and saw nothing wrong. I'm guessing they just didn't take the time to find it. Right now the drains are slowly going down so there is definitely some blockage. Oh week hopefully I'll get my endoscopic camera before the weekend. I'll come back and update then.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:05 AM  
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Short update to this fiasco before I get the camera... yesterday I was able to clear the clog. With a plunger on my toilet. Go figure. I'll come back to report the results of the camera inspection.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:43 AM  
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RENT a camera, don't buy one. Cheaper and you will know it was done right. Tree roots? Old pipes needing replacement? Only a camera can tell you.

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Old 09-05-2013, 05:27 PM  
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You might want to start replacing some of the cast iron with PVC, starting from your drains and toilets, working your way to the outside.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:07 AM  
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You said that they did a camera inspection of the line, but did you see the camera and the video? I only ask this because you stated that you are ordering a camera online, which leads me to believe that you are ordering the wrong type of sewer camera. To buy a used sewer camera for inspecting the main line would set you back a few thousand dollars. The small 3 foot hand-held cameras will not let you see the whole drain line.
You should ask for a copy of the full video inspection the next time it's done. Maybe by posting it, we would see something that the other plumbers missed.
If the horizontal portion of the drain underground is cast iron, you may want to think about having it hydro-jetted to remove any excess debris and build up.
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:57 AM  
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Consider the possibility that the cause of the clogs remains the same, items not suitable for flushing are still being flushed.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:16 PM  
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You sure talking about my house. I had baaaad problems, the upstairs bathroom pipes unplugged and my dining room ceiling came a comin down. Can you say suewee! A plumber friend of mine did the same as your plumbers. Here's the stickler sometimes the pipes would drain well sometimes not. Big turds a cloggin, nope, we rented a big *** auger removed the toilet, and went through the upstairs drain system. Th auger went through the home piping system and all the way to the city pipes, the auger got stuck, and started grinding and grinding it's way to create drainage from my home plumbing into the city sewer system. Apparently there was something in the city sewer pipes that had blocked my pipe which resulted in my pipes being backed up. Maybe, you have the same problem. My friend is a master plumber. Don't mess with any less. A heavy duty auger is dangerous as it grinds the steel cable can whiplash and amputate your body part, and I'm not talking bout between the legs, I'm talkin about arms, hands, etc. Good Luck.
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:03 AM  
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Default Problem solved!

First off, I forgot all about this thread. Sorry

The clogs came back (this was a year ago already) in December of 2013, to the point where nothing was going through. So, my dad and I dug up a trench on the outside, right before the clean-out that I had installed previously. My dad suspected roots in the pipe, but it was actually roots AND a collapsed line. Maybe because of the roots, but according to my dad, they used to put in that kind of pipe that is generally not that great. He told me the name, but I forgot

When we got to the pipe, I could see a line running down the length of the top, but it wasn't until we picked it up and out (you can see it in video linked) that we saw the roots beneath it, crushing the pipe, forcing it up. Not a surprise, since it was so brittle at that point.

So, we replaced it with PVC and all was right with the world.

This is a video of the cracked sections:

IMG_20131205_165255.jpg   2013-12-05 16.52.35.jpg   2013-12-06 11.28.44.jpg  
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