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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-17-2016, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Sewer line backup

Sewer line backup

Our sewage does not go to a septic tank. It goes out underground where it eventually connects with the municiple line. The sewer line backed up into our basement. We got off really lucky because it was in the part of the basement that isn't finished. And the overflow did not reach most of our storage boxes.

And it is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious fantastic that our homeowner's policy had some coverage for backup. Most basic policies do NOT. But we have a deluxe policy which would cover up to 10K damage. (Please check with your agent if you have adequate coverage on things most people don't think to ask about.)

The insurance company paid for a disaster recovery company to separate the good from the bad, and the questionable. It hauled away the bad. It did a two-stage cleaning process on the basement floor. There were air purifiers on each floor. etc.

There is a bright side of this for Benjy. Benjy has never been in our basement because we are afraid he will sneak things out of the boxes and get hurt. Now there is a big open area in the basement where we can bring him to for him to run and play. He loves it. He hides when it is time for us to go back upstairs. LOL

On a business note, we had the sewer line cleaned out and it is functioning properly now. But the company that cleared it told us we needed to replace the sewer line from the house to the road... at a price of 13K. And it could have been a lot higher if there were mere obstacles to dig through.

In all, we had four companies give us estimates on replacing the sewer line. One company was 13K. One was almost 13K. And two were about 4K. Interestingly enough, the two expensive companies agreed we need a new line. The two least expensive companies said we do NOT not need it replaced.

I am being cyncial here, but the expensive companies did not charge to do a video inspection. Perhaps because they knew they would get their money back because they had already decided we would get a new line, even before they did the inspection? And the technician/salemen at the companies that said we need a new line get a commission for locking in business.

I don't know. Just an observation.


Jeff & Sue are the proud Momma and Daddy
of our precious Benjy born 11/22/2014.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-18-2016, 11:09 PM
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Not enough information here for advice.

1. what is the material of the current sewer line?
2. what is the material of the proposed sewer line?
3. what did the video show?
4. what caused the sewer to back up?
5. what is the fall (difference in elevation) from depth of sewer line at house exit to the depth of the municipal main line?
6. what State do you live in and how severe are your winters?
7. what is the distance from the house to the municipal main line?

I would not dismiss the high bids out of hand. It is always more expensive to do the job, any job, right. I had to replace a broken sewer line made out of clay pipe in a commercial building I owned. What a nightmare! The cost was $60K, but the job was done right!

Ricky's Popi

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-20-2016, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your reply, Ricky's Popi .

Most of your questions were answered, either in person, or on the proposals. I totally agree with you that sometimes you have to pay more to get the job done right. We had an electrical company here for some projects. Some of their reviews have read "a little pricey, but they do great work". The bottom line is we trust them to take care of us. If that costs more, well, better than worrying if your house will catch on fire because I was looking for a bargain.

Since half the businesses said we do not need the new sewer line, I am holding off until I can do more research or get better recommendations about companies.

We had chosen one of the expensive companies to do the work. I told them to call me back the next day and I would give them an answer. I went straight to the BBB site and found they had an "F" rating. The BBB had posted an alert and an article that started with

The State Attorney General announced a lawsuit against Mr. Rooter for unfairly upselling services and providing substandard work.

It gave very intense examples of wrongdoing.

Thanks again.
Jeff

1. what is the material of the current sewer line?
clay
2. what is the material of the proposed sewer line?
SDR 35 pipe
57 limestone gravel
3. what did the video show?
Most of the line is actually pretty good. There is a belly about a foot long that the companies were using as their justification -- that it caused buildup from the depression accumulating matter. The other companies said the belly is only 3/4 inch deep and would not have much effect.
4. what caused the sewer to back up?
The first company that cleared the line said it had paper towels, kleenex, and dryer sheets in it. I only saw a small amount. How do dryer sheets get in your sewer?
5. what is the fall (difference in elevation) from depth of sewer line at house exit to the depth of the municipal main line?
The line comes out of the house 8 feet below surface. It is 5 feet below surface at the street. This doesn't mean the line is going up. Our house is on a little hill.
6. what State do you live in and how severe are your winters?
I think the coldest it was this winter was around -15 , not counting chill factor. We had 10 inches of snow last week.
7. what is the distance from the house to the municipal main line?
It is about 70 feet to the road. But our line goes under the road and about another 50-70 feet into our neighbor's yard to meet the municipal main line. The estimates just include to the road. Only one company realized where our sewer line ended.


Jeff & Sue are the proud Momma and Daddy
of our precious Benjy born 11/22/2014.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPLAbby View Post

The following is my opinion. I am not a civil engineer or plumbing contractor! I do have some experience in this area. I am giving you my opinion based on my experience. Use whatever is useful from me and consult with a professional in your area!

1. what is the material of the current sewer line?
clay

Clay pipe is a technology that has been superseded by better materials. Repairing an existing clay sewer pipe is just begging for more problems in the future, especially in a climate zone like yours that is subject to "frost heave."

2. what is the material of the proposed sewer line?
SDR 35 pipe
57 limestone gravel

Hmmmmmmm. I'm suspicious. Most codes (but not all) require a sand base and Sched. 40 pipe a minimum of 10 feet from the house. I would march down to your local Building Dept. and ask what the local codes are. I would require that my contractor be licensed and bonded and that all work be done with a permit and inspections.

SDR 35 pipe is an inexpensive alternative to better choices. It is subject to deformation if exposed to heavy loads, like running it under a roadway where you might experience weekly Waste Management trucks and occasional concrete trucks. Also not good for clay pipe.


3. what did the video show?
Most of the line is actually pretty good. There is a belly about a foot long that the companies were using as their justification -- that it caused buildup from the depression accumulating matter. The other companies said the belly is only 3/4 inch deep and would not have much effect.

The deformation of the line is probably what is causing continual backups. The line needs to flow freely with a smooth fall.

4. what caused the sewer to back up?
The first company that cleared the line said it had paper towels, kleenex, and dryer sheets in it. I only saw a small amount. How do dryer sheets get in your sewer?

Dryer sheets can get into a sewer line the same way that paper towels and kleenex get into a sewer. Sometimes dryer sheets can be hidden in clothing unknown to the wearer. They then go into the sewer through the washing machine drain when washed. The worst offenders are pampers, sanitary napkins, and tampons in the toilet. What a mess! Been there, done that!

5. what is the fall (difference in elevation) from depth of sewer line at house exit to the depth of the municipal main line?
The line comes out of the house 8 feet below surface. It is 5 feet below surface at the street. This doesn't mean the line is going up. Our house is on a little hill.

That doesn't answer the question. What is the difference in elevation (in feet) between 8 feet below the house and the main line in your neighbor's yard (whatever depth it is)?

6. what State do you live in and how severe are your winters?
I think the coldest it was this winter was around -15 , not counting chill factor. We had 10 inches of snow last week.

You are in an area of "frost heave" and that MIGHT play havoc on a clay pipe sewer. Go with ABS plastic line as suggested.

7. what is the distance from the house to the municipal main line?
It is about 70 feet to the road. But our line goes under the road and about another 50-70 feet into our neighbor's yard to meet the municipal main line. The estimates just include to the road. Only one company realized where our sewer line ended.
So the total "run" (distance in feet) is about 120 to 140 to the main line. If you replace the line with new material, you need to go all the way to the main line. Replacing just to the road is a waste of money. You need 1/4" per foot MINIMUM for appropriate "fall." The more the better. In your case, that means 30" to 36" fall between 8 feet below your house and the connection to the main line junction.

Good luck.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-23-2016, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Those were Roto-Rooter's specs. The one charging the most. It was proposing to replace the line (just to the road). Mr. Rooter (the one under indictment) wanted to reline the pipes and was close behind in price.

I learned recently that decades ago they used to dam up a nearby creek. Our property was part of a cranberry bog.


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of our precious Benjy born 11/22/2014.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-20-2016, 12:14 PM
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Our sewer line likes to freeze if we get in the deep freeze for over two weeks. It's only been in for about 4 years. Ridicules to have to pay someone to come un freeze our pipe every other year! The last time they dug it up and replaced it. It still froze!

Wendy




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