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Old 01-12-2015, 09:09 PM
 
Location: North Texas
23,972 posts, read 32,686,225 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
Totally believe you but I've never seen that around here. The OP is in Dallas so I'd be stunned if his/her sanitary sewer service wasn't under the street.
I'm sure you're right.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:38 AM
 
30 posts, read 56,552 times
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Yes it is a few feet from the side of our garage (front) towards the street.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:41 AM
 
30 posts, read 56,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
Sewer Clean Out - AAA AUGERAAA AUGER

The pic is of a two way clean out. Sounds like you have a single clean out.
You are correct. Ours does not look like this. Ours was recently installed. When we bought the house it did not have an exterior clean-out at all just the one on the roof. Would it be worthwhile to get the exterior one converted or changed?
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:43 AM
 
30 posts, read 56,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
Totally believe you but I've never seen that around here. The OP is in Dallas so I'd be stunned if his/her sanitary sewer service wasn't under the street.
Yes we are in Northwest Dallas.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:16 PM
 
8,253 posts, read 9,006,587 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DallasHouzz View Post
You are correct. Ours does not look like this. Ours was recently installed. When we bought the house it did not have an exterior clean-out at all just the one on the roof. Would it be worthwhile to get the exterior one converted or changed?
Access from the roof is through a "vent stack". Access through a clean out is much better - usually. Sometime even a water hose rammed down the clean-out will fix clogs.

Ask your plumber what it'd cost to install a two way clean out.
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Old 01-13-2015, 07:35 PM
 
Location: North Texas
23,972 posts, read 32,686,225 times
Reputation: 27468
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
Access from the roof is through a "vent stack". Access through a clean out is much better - usually. Sometime even a water hose rammed down the clean-out will fix clogs.

Ask your plumber what it'd cost to install a two way clean out.
This. ^^^

Some cities will install a 2-way clean out at a reduced cost. Richardson does them for $120 for residents.

Trying to clear a blocked sewer through a vent stack on the roof is sometimes successful, but often not...that's because the rooters a plumber sometimes uses on a roof are smaller and shorter. Sometimes they just can't reach the blockage. A lot of plumbers either don't want to or will refuse to haul a $2k + rooter onto a pitched roof. Can't really blame 'em.
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:26 AM
 
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Thanks all for the responses about the clean-out. I am still curious about options if any for getting the pipes cleaned other than having to call a plumber to come out to snake every few weeks if they clog. We will probably have someone out to scope with camera again. Any opinions on the jet cleaning process?
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Old 01-14-2015, 07:46 AM
 
Location: North Texas
23,972 posts, read 32,686,225 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DallasHouzz View Post
Thanks all for the responses about the clean-out. I am still curious about options if any for getting the pipes cleaned other than having to call a plumber to come out to snake every few weeks if they clog. We will probably have someone out to scope with camera again. Any opinions on the jet cleaning process?
As another poster stated (I think it was EDS_), you want to try to put as much water through the pipes as you can when you flush. Get as much water in your tank as you can. If you lift the lid on your tank and post a picture of what your fill valve looks like, I might be able to tell you how to adjust it to get more water in there. Most fill valves are pretty much the same, though some of the newer fancy ones are a bit strange. I don't know how those work.

I'm no expert, but having an old house and old pipes (and friends and family with the same issues), I've seen more than one sewer backup. What could be happening is:

1.) Tree roots have penetrated your sewer line and sewage is snagging on those roots or the broken sections of pipe and causing a blockage. You need a 2-way clean out so a plumber can scope the pipe and see whether there are tree roots in there.

2.) Your sewer main is no longer completely connected to the city's sewer main and sewage is snagging on the disconnected section of pipe. This is more than likely the city's issue rather than yours; a plumber can put a camera through a 2-way clean out and tell you very quickly whose problem it is. A symptom that could indicate whether this is the issue is subsidence around the area where the pipes connect. If you had a 2-way clean out, it would be pretty obvious. If you look at the alley where my clean out and one of my neighbors' clean outs connects to the city's main, you would see subsidence, puddling, and broken concrete. Neither of our sewer lines are completely connected to the city's sewer main. Since our mains are due to be replaced in the next few months, neither one of us has raised much of a stink (no pun intended) about it.

3.) You have a household member who is flushing things down the toilet that should never be flushed: wet wipes, foreign objects, feminine hygiene products, cotton balls/swabs, socks/underwear, etc. Those will clog up your sewer main PDQ. The good news is that once the blockage is cleared, you won't see the problem again as long as you don't flush things down the toilet that have no business being there.

If you're using those wet wipes for either an infant or yourself and you're flushing them down the toilet, PLEASE STOP NOW. Those things are a plumber's dream and a public utility NIGHTMARE. Plumbers deal with these things Every. Single. Day. Any of them will tell you that these things do NOT dissolve and CANNOT be flushed, regardless of what the package says.

I'm not accusing anyone of anything, I'm just raising that as a possible cause.

In scenario 1, the problem is most likely yours and it's not a cheap fix. Home warranties will almost NEVER cover this repair. Get ready to write a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig check. How big it is will depend on the plumber doing the job, the length of the pipe to be replaced, and how easy it is to actually get to it. It's unusual for the problem to be on the city's end, though it's a remote possibility. If you do have tree roots penetrating your sewer main, you'll also want to remove the tree (or trees) responsible for the problem. That'll be another outlay of anywhere from $400 to over $1000 to cut the tree down, grind the stump, and remove as much of the root structure as possible, then fill in the hole left behind. So really, that's TWO biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig checks. Home warranties almost never cover that either.

In scenario 2, the problem could be the city's responsibility. They'll have to fix it, but you'll have to WAIT for them to fix it. Without a 2-way clean out, they'll probably dig in their heels because it'll be very difficult for them to diagnose the problem without one. So...GET A 2-WAY CLEAN OUT.

In scenario 3, that's all you and a bag of chips. Call a plumber, get the blockage cleared, and sit the family down and have a discussion about what's flushable and what's not.

Or it could be none of the above.

The fact that your house is on a slab adds a new wrinkle, and I have no advice in that situation. I've never owned a house on a slab and the only person I ever knew with a backed-up sewer main on a slab was a renter, not an owner, so her landlord had to pay for that repair. I don't know how much it was or what was involved. I do know that the City of Richardson had to come in and install a 2-way clean out since her property did not have one, and the sewer main was under the street rather than under the alley as in my neighborhood.

The takeaway:

GET A 2-WAY CLEAN OUT. Like...TODAY. Contact the city where you live and see if they'll put one in for you. It's almost always cheaper than having a plumber do it. You may have to wait a few weeks. Once you've got that in, you'll be in MUCH better shape.

Here is the website for Dallas Water Utilities:

http://www.dallascityhall.com/dwu/water_utilities.html

Didn't see anything about a clean out on there, but call them and find out if they install them. Also check your property's survey; if there's a clean out on the property, it could be marked on the survey. The last plumber who came to my house couldn't find mine because the lid said "water meter." He completely ignored it when he saw it because he didn't realize it was a clean out. But it's right there on the survey.

Come back and let us know what you find out!

Last edited by BigDGeek; 01-14-2015 at 07:54 AM.. Reason: Added link.
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Old 01-14-2015, 01:30 PM
 
115 posts, read 105,726 times
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Did the previous seller disclose any similar plumbing issues when you purchased the home? I find it hard to believe you would have so many problems and they didn't.
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