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Thread: Sewer Clean out?

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    Tinkee is offline Handyman
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    Sewer Clean out?

    Hey All,

    Just noticed yesterday that we have a waste or sewer cleanout in our driveway. Its capped off with a metal screw on cap, but I noticed that when the kitchen sink is running that the water backs up into this pipe and will eventually run out into the driveway. I guess its all connected to the toilet cause I took a plunger out there which happen to fit perfectly over the hole and after plunging for a minute I got a return of scraps of toilet paper. Now the house is fairly old, and so I figure there may be some build up in the pipes ( I think their their old cast iron pipes) But I was wondering if this is something I should have a plumber fix, or if there was something I could do to help the pipes to not overflow!

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    HayZee518's Avatar
    HayZee518 is offline Deity
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    that's just a vent for the buried cast iron sewer pipe. Buffalo NY is reknowned for driveway vents.

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    Tinkee is offline Handyman
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    So its not a problem then? The screw on top seems like it would prevent much venting. Its round and approx 4 inches across. Seems weird that it would overflow though when the water is running. Planning on installing a dishwasher and am a little worried that when the dishwasher drains that we will have dishwasher water all over the driveway. Her mother was washing paint brushes in the sink and said she eventually noticed water that was the color of the paint emerging from that pipe.

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    pushkins is offline General Contractor
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    Nothing should be coming back out that cap, if you can plunge it and bring up TP that suggests to me that you have a pipe that has a partial blockage, especially as you mentioned that when cleaning a paint brush you saw water the color of the paint, that's kinda the best dye test you can get.
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    The sewer line leaving your house has a house trap installed in it and that pipe is the vent for it. The only think coming in or, out of that vent should be air. Any waste water flowing out of it indicates a blockage which should be taken care of by a drain cleaner.

    House traps may be installed in many locations which vary upon your local area. I have seen them inside the foundation, outside the foundation, and at curbs, the major codes no longer require them and in many places they can be removed greatly increasing the reliability of the sewer system. However, the code is often amended at the state and local level and in many areas they are still required. NY I believe still requires these. If they are allowed to be removed where you are I would dig the line and remove it installing a dual cleanout in its place. See the diagram below showing the house trap and the dual cleanout.

    In most cases the house trap is the problem and the clog will be in the trap however it is entirely possible for the line to be clogged as well. I would recommend hiring a drain cleaner to take care of this task. The machines used are large and quite powerful which makes them able to inflict sever injuries even death in the blink of an eye. I consider new guys in the drain cleaning trade to need a full year of experience before they are what I consider to be good at it. I do not consider drain cleaning to be a good DIYer task and would recommend leaving it to the experts. The rental equipment is often substandard in size and condition to do the job safely and effectively as well.

    I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
    Now I can Plumb!

    For great information on the history of sanitary sewers including the use of Redwood Pipe
    Visit http://www.sewerhistory.org/
    Did you know some Redwood Pipe is still in service today.

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    Tinkee is offline Handyman
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    Alright guys, got a new question. Had the plumbers come out and clean out the drain, they used some big machine and ran the cable all the way to the road, when they pulled it back there were several small roots on the cutting blade at the end. They suggested that putting about half a box of rock salt followed by some water might keep the roots back and stop them from growing into the drain pipe and that since the house sat vacant for so long (approx 2 years) that they had time to grow and that using my water would help slow their growth. Any other ideas as what I could do to kill / slow the growth of the roots until I can afford to replace the entire drain pipe?

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    HayZee518's Avatar
    HayZee518 is offline Deity
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    yes, if you poured copper sulphate crystals in the drain, some crystals would catch on the roots and would kill them off. same effect as rock salt but works a little more quickly.

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    Redwood's Avatar
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    I would recommend using Root-X as it fills the drain with foam and is more effective.
    I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
    Now I can Plumb!

    For great information on the history of sanitary sewers including the use of Redwood Pipe
    Visit http://www.sewerhistory.org/
    Did you know some Redwood Pipe is still in service today.

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