If you have a clogged kitchen sink drain or bathroom tub drain, and your other drains are working fine, it is likely that the problem is just in that one drain and can be cleared with a simple secondary line snaking machine or by cleaning a p-trap under the sink or removing hair from a tub drain. The drains in your house are connected to one another meaning that if one drain is clogged, it could potentially affect another drain as well. The secondary lines in the house are 2 inch lines. Sometimes if a kitchen or bathroom drain is backed up, as well as another drain in the house, using the secondary line cleaning machine to clear the lowest line with the problem will fix both issues, eliminating the need to snake two lines. Often if you are having a problem with your toilet only, a simple augering of the toilet can solve the problem.
If you are having trouble with more than one toilet being clogged, or if there is a problem with a toilet as well as other drains in the house, or if you have sewer coming up a tub, shower, or floor drain, you can bet that you have a main line clog. In this situation, a larger machine is needed to clear your main line and often two technicians are dispatched to your home. Our main line machines are very heavy and carry 150 feet of thick cable to clear the blockage in the four inch sewer pipe. The blockage could be several feet outside your home. If you have a clean-out located in your yard, the cable will be sent from that point. If there is no outside clean-out or if it can not be located, we will start from the cleanout inside the house. In some cases, such as in certain older homes, no clean-out is available, and it is necessary to remove a toilet, snake the line from that opening, and re-install the toilet. In those situations, we will always properly re-set the toilet with new wax rings to prevent future leaking.
You should know your options when it comes to a clogged main line. Usually snaking your main line is sufficient to get your pipes flowing again and no other service is necessary. If you have recurring issues with your main line clogging, you could have tree roots or persistant build-up in your line or someone could be flushing wipes or feminine products that are getting stuck in the pipe. These problems may be solved by putting root-killer or an organic enzyme into your line or by being careful about what you allow to be flushed. The technician can usually determine what the culprit is because the cable will come back with some of the material that has caused the clog.
The less common, but more problematic issue could be a broken sewer line. This could be the case if the cable retries mud or rocks. This can also be diagnosed by inserting a camera into the sewer line. The line will need to be cleared first so the camera can travel through the pipe. In the situation of a broken main sewer line, you have a few options. The least expensive is to have the problem spot dug up and have a partial replacement or a patch done. This can solve the problem if there is a particular reason why the line broke in that spot and the rest of the line is fine. If your line is getting old and likely to have continual breaks, you might want to have the entire line replaced. This can require digging a trench in your yard and leaving you with landscaping repair needed. A third option is a sewer liner that is installed in your existing sewer pipe. This option saves your landscaping and can be a very long lasting great option, although it can be very costly. You will want to weigh the options and determine the cost and convenience of a traditional sewer line replacement with landscape repair or a sewer liner.
Some companies who specialize in replacement of sewer lines will offer a very low up-front price to clear your main line and send a camera down the line for free in hopes of selling a sewer line replacement. We recommend getting at least two opinions if you are diagnosed with a broken line or a “belly” in your line. Our company does not replace or “line” sewer pipes, but we can give you some recommendations of both companies that dig up and replace sewer lines and those that install liners. Because these options are costly, we recommend making sure the clogged line is more than a “one time” or “once every several years” issue and has not been clogged by roots, build-up or flushed products before spending the money on a major project.