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Thread: Tree Roots In House Storm Drain

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member rckowal's Avatar
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    Default Tree Roots In House Storm Drain

    Attached is a diagram showing what I believe may be the arrangement of pipes & drain tiles in our house storm drain. I am pretty certain of the locations & connections of the storm drain, the cleanout & the drain to the municipal sewer. Maybe some one can tell me how the drain tiles are usually connected to the storm drain. It was built in 1965 so the drain pipes are iron & the drain tiles would be vitreous. The basement here is only under about 1/3 of the house - so there are two sides (attached garage & a great room adjacent to the other basement walls) which probably don't have drain tiles.

    As indicated on the diagram, I have tree roots & some deposited sand which accumalate in the house cleanout. If left unattended, they ball up in the cleanout & eventually block the discharge of ground water to the municipal storm sewer. This, of course, results in water backing up at the floor drain & floods the basement.

    Although I can clear the roots at the cleanout, this is just a short term fix. Longer term, I'm concerned that the roots may eventually block the drain tiles as well as the floor drain. This could lead to breaking up the basement floor, digging, etc., to replace the clogged pipes.

    Is there any way that this condition can be serviced now to prevent; or delay this? Help from the experts will be very much appreciated.
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    Last edited by rckowal; 12-09-2006 at 05:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Renovator Gencon's Avatar
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    Call in a pro drain cleaner. They have special root cutting bits for the ends of the augurs that will remove the roots and clear the drain. Sending a scope down will show if the line is clear or not so a company that provides this service as well as snaking is recommended. This is only temporary and needs to be done at least once a year because the roots will grow back. Your best bet is to replace all the piping.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member rckowal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gencon
    Call in a pro drain cleaner. They have special root cutting bits for the ends of the augurs that will remove the roots and clear the drain. Sending a scope down will show if the line is clear or not so a company that provides this service as well as snaking is recommended. This is only temporary and needs to be done at least once a year because the roots will grow back. Your best bet is to replace all the piping.
    Thanks for the reply Gencon, it's appreciated.

    Not that there's anything wrong with your advice, I already called in a professional drain cleaner but that didn't work. Based on many things he said, I'm all but certain this guy is dishonest. He tried to convince me that my basement floor slab needed to be broken up and the sanitary drain had to be replaced. That's right - the sanitary drain! And this was just after he finished cutting off the ends of the tree roots (see the photos) in the storm drain. He never even suggested augering the storm drain where the roots appear to be.

    When I asked about doing a camera inspection first, he said it would be a waste of money since he was certain that the sanitary drain had to be replaced. He said he didn't personally do such work, but the company he works for does (yeah & he pockets 1/3 of the cost as a sales commision).

    Little did he realize that I am a retired Engineer so I wasn't buying his illogical bull. Which brings up a good point. How can a guy find an honest & fair plumber? I'm sure they exist but how can one tell?

    Addtionally, can you please tell me where/how the footer drain tiles are connected to the storm drain? Is it normally outside or inside of the house?

    Best regards

  4. #4

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    I donít think there are many honest trade people. We all lie to some extent. We all have taken some shortcuts.

    But to find one that will tell you 99% of the truth can be found. Youíre best bet would be asking some friends. If there related to anyone you know or they know donít use them.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member rckowal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    I donít think there are many honest trade people. We all lie to some extent. We all have taken some shortcuts.

    But to find one that will tell you 99% of the truth can be found. Youíre best bet would be asking some friends. If there related to anyone you know or they know donít use them.
    Thanks for the candid reply, it's appreciated. I understand that trade people need to make a decent living along with everyone else. Maybe I'm a nut, but I wouldn't lie to them so I expect the same honesty in return.

    Hell, I would be happy with the truth 80 or 90% of the time. I'm already asking friends, family, neighbors, etc. but so far, they don't know anyone that they would care to recommend.

    Best regards

  6. #6

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    I have a similar situation with my clay waste line. It is a very old house, plumbing was put in around 1905. We have ivy running along the side of the garden wall (row house, small 15x100 lot), which runs along with the waste line. We had a completely clog about a year ago. I called out the local plumber with a great reputation, and they were very good guys and seemed honest. They appreciated that fact that I know what I am doing with plumbing, and also know when I am in an area where I need help.

    They gave me a temporary cleanout with an augur, and told me if I let the roots go, it would clog in a few months again, and the complete solution would be to open the end of the waste and slide a new PVC waste in the old clay line. But they said rather then doing some major invasive procedure, why not just try normal maintenance first. I tried some of the big box root cleaners, and then found this stuff.

    http://cgi.****.com/ROOTX-4lbs10-30F...QQcmdZViewItem

    It is called RootX and it is awesome.

    We have not had a problem since. I just treat the drain with a 4 Lb container every 5-6 months. I put it in at the cleanout and then do not flush or use any water for about 8 hours (overnight).

    Do a google search and read about it. It really works well. I have since augured the drain myself to see what I pull out. The first time we pulled out about a softball wad of roots. The last time I did it nothing came back.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member rckowal's Avatar
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    Santanaf said: I tried some of the big box root cleaners, and then found this stuff.

    http://cgi.****.com/ROOTX-4lbs10-30F...QQcmdZViewItem

    It is called RootX and it is awesome.

    We have not had a problem since. I just treat the drain with a 4 Lb container every 5-6 months. I put it in at the cleanout and then do not flush or use any water for about 8 hours (overnight).

    Do a google search and read about it. It really works well. I have since augured the drain myself to see what I pull out. The first time we pulled out about a softball wad of roots. The last time I did it nothing came back.

    > Hi Santanaf, Thanks for the reply, it's helpful. I have been reading about Rootx but your's is the first testimonial from a private user that I've seen. It sure sounds good - even some plumbers recommend it.

    > I would however appreciate a bit more information about your situation. From what point in your drain did they auger? Was it at a floor drain, cleanout, what ever? Did they use a large (4") root cutting auger or just the snake with the small (1" or so) bulb on the end?

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