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Thread: Do It Yourself Machine?

  1. #1

    Question Do It Yourself Machine?

    I'm interested in purchasing one of those electric sewer snakes. I would like the kind that will fit 6 inch standard cast iron piping. I will have ongoing drainage problems from the roots of a large tree directly over the sewer. I would use this machine to remove the roots that have penetrated the sewer pipes every 3 to 4 months or so. It should have a cutter head, I believe. Please recommend a relatively effective yet easy to operate model.

    Thanks in advance,
    J

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattyg101
    I'm interested in purchasing one of those electric sewer snakes. I would like the kind that will fit 6 inch standard cast iron piping. I will have ongoing drainage problems from the roots of a large tree directly over the sewer. I would use this machine to remove the roots that have penetrated the sewer pipes every 3 to 4 months or so. It should have a cutter head, I believe. Please recommend a relatively effective yet easy to operate model.

    Thanks in advance,
    J
    On the words of a local sewer professional, (and not sure about this, only taking his word), concerning the same type of problem that I am into as of now with my mom's line, if the line is solid, the roots will never know that the line and it's moisture are there. If there is a small leak, and a root finds it, kill the tree, or cut the roots headed towards the line, otherwise the roots will grow so thick that they will destroy the line completely over the next several years. This problem started with my mom's line several years ago, maybe even as much as a decade ago. All orange ceramic piping leading into a septic tank and drainfield. At first this was a once every year issue. Then it became a once every 3 or 4 month issue. This spring, she's already had the guy out there twice!! He put a camera of some type down the line, and the pipe is non-existant for a distance of about 6 feet now, with very small root fibers going a good 10 feet in each direction! Repair cost, which will be done withing the next couple of weeks, about $800! He says that it may even be more if he has to replace the entire line!
    Rob

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    A machine to work in 6" pipe will be a large and expensive model ( several hundred dollars.). Using these, while not rocket science, takes some skill and experience. You can injure yourself seriously. You might be monehy ahead to just hire a professional when needed.


    As already posted, the root problem will not go away. You can try root killer, but the effectiveness is debatable.

    One approach would be to spend money now to camera the pipe , and consider digging up to repair any problems found. This as opposed to laying out a chunk of change at intervals every several months.

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    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
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    Default the machine needed has 1/2" cable size and costs $1300

    a smaller machine won't touch the roots. what will you do if the snake is
    stuck in the line and won't retrive?

    get it camered. dig up the area of pipe around the roots, install new section

    or pay FOREVER. GOOD LUCK

  5. #5
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abikerboy
    otherwise the roots will grow so thick that they will destroy the line completely over the next several years. This problem started with my mom's line several years ago, maybe even as much as a decade ago.
    When I bought my house in August, I found some service graffeti in the basement. First root cleaning in 1965. I cleaned it again last September when it clogged and got quite a few roots and tampons. Eww. 40 years of cleaning! *shrug*

    Jason

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    1/2" cable is the minimum size for 6". I would think you would need 3/4", and a machine to handle it would run you $2-3,000.00 for a good used one.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakee911
    When I bought my house in August, I found some service graffeti in the basement. First root cleaning in 1965. I cleaned it again last September when it clogged and got quite a few roots and tampons. Eww. 40 years of cleaning! *shrug*

    Jason
    I guess sometimes it does work out that way. I have heard of several neighbors doing a root cleaning, and never having the problem again. Just never have had that kind of luck myself. *double shrug*

  8. #8
    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
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    Default normally when the roots enter the pipe

    they keep coming, and you keep cutting I'm guessing it's 4" pipe

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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    All underground segmented drain pipe (cast iron, ceramic, etc.) and all broken pipes of any type are subject to getting roots in them. As noted,
    roots will just keep coming back to that water and nutrient source.
    The best long-term solution (and usually the least expensive in the long-run) is to just replace the line wherever roots could be a problem with "glued" PVC white plastic or ABS black plastic drain line. Roots can't penetrate "glued" plastic lines. End of problem.
    Good Luck!
    Mike

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo
    A machine to work in 6" pipe will be a large and expensive model ( several hundred dollars.). Using these, while not rocket science, takes some skill and experience. You can injure yourself seriously. You might be monehy ahead to just hire a professional when needed.


    As already posted, the root problem will not go away. You can try root killer, but the effectiveness is debatable.

    One approach would be to spend money now to camera the pipe , and consider digging up to repair any problems found. This as opposed to laying out a chunk of change at intervals every several months.
    I guess i'll just keep paying the pros to clean it as frequently as possible.

    I can't remove the tree because it's huge and would probably cost about $20 to $30,000 (yes, thousand). The tree is 45 feet high and 4 feet thick. Plus, I don't even know if i'm allowed to remove the tree because it is on the sidewalk directly infront of my house, technically its city property. Most likely a huge fine would be imposed if removed.

    I guess i'll just live with it for now, sell the house in a few years and warn the new guy about it (after the closing of course.)

  11. #11
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattyg101
    I can't remove the tree because it's huge and would probably cost about $20 to $30,000 (yes, thousand). The tree is 45 feet high and 4 feet thick. Plus, I don't even know if i'm allowed to remove the tree because it is on the sidewalk directly infront of my house, technically its city property. Most likely a huge fine would be imposed if removed.
    If you need to replace the line and its the cities tree, sometime HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) can be used to install the new pipe under the tree, or you can relocate (if you've got the curb frontage) your sewer line to a new location on the main. Would need to talk to city.

    Trees like that are great. I've got three trees in my yard, two of which are 3ft+ in diameter. I wouldn't cut them down for anything. Shades almost the whole house, cuts down on the A/C too.

    Jason

  12. #12
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abikerboy
    I guess sometimes it does work out that way. I have heard of several neighbors doing a root cleaning, and never having the problem again. Just never have had that kind of luck myself. *double shrug*
    Maybe I won't have to do it again! (Riiiiiigghhht) Property disclosure report said they'd had it cleaned several times in the past 7 years prior to me buying the place. I'm going to give RootX a shot next time after cleaning. Flows well for now.

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default sewer

    A machine like you are asking about runs a couple of thousand dollars and the cables several hundred dollars each. I have had plumbers take a brand new cable, and ruin it within 30 minutes, and they were supposed to know how to do it. What are your chances for it to happen. If you were to take the tree down, the roots would still be a problem for the next 25 years or so. I always say, "If you want to know where the sewer is, look for the biggest tree on the property, and the sewer will be right underneath it". I think people hunt for the sewer line when they plant trees. Call a plumber to clean the sewer, and when it starts needing it twice a year or more, then consider replacement, or at least repairs if the problem occurs at just one particular place everytime.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member abikerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakee911
    If you need to replace the line and its the cities tree, sometime HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) can be used to install the new pipe under the tree, or you can relocate (if you've got the curb frontage) your sewer line to a new location on the main. Would need to talk to city.

    Trees like that are great. I've got three trees in my yard, two of which are 3ft+ in diameter. I wouldn't cut them down for anything. Shades almost the whole house, cuts down on the A/C too.

    Jason
    Not sure how this works in other locations, but a friend says that in this area, you could use 45 degree bends to pass the line around the tree, and then have the connection tap on the city line moved to meet up with your new line. He says the only thing in this area is that you have to install a cleanout at your first bend, and no 90 degree el's underground. Says he has done several like this in the past year.

  15. #15

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    "nutrient source," ewwwww

    My sewer line chronically stops up, with a tree the likely culprit, plus a line that sags, and has too many angles in it.....so I am excavating and re-laying the line, or should I say, I'll have someone who actually knows what they are doing have at it.

    I debated getting my own auger, or as I now refer to them, a steel anaconda of death, cause I need it done so frequently, but after my first experience with a DIY rental machine, I changed my mind right quick. How I managed to escape with all my fingers and extremities still amazes me. And the property damage done by a flailing cable, forget about it.

    And the concept seems so simple

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