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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Permanent solutions for roots in the sewer line of your Pueblo, Colorado area home.

Besides controlling the roots, replacing or rehabilitating the pipe is the most permanent solution, and with most circumstances you have multiple options here as well.

Once roots have found an opening in your sewer line they are tenacious in their effort to get nutrients and water through that opening.  No matter what you do to remove the roots these measures are temporary at best.  The most common approach to a permanent solution is to dig up the line and replace the old system whether it is clay, cast iron, or a failed PVC system.  In this process we take extreme care in protecting and preserving landscape and property, but obviously the location and depth of the line and in some cases concrete slabs and even some out buildings may prohibit or limit the ability to use this option.

Other options are lining or bursting systems that can replace the drain system with little or no digging at all.

Root damage inside the pipe

After lining of the pipe.

These option provides significant savings of time and money when landscape and patios are considered.  As always, with any of these options, the corrective action starts with a proper video
inspection of the existing system.  This is needed both to examine the condition of your system and to explore multiple options in providing solutions to your needs.

One final note, something we have noticed recently with some of the sewer line back up issues, is that some insurance policies have started to limit their liability towards the damage caused by sewer line back ups, especially if they are a result of root penetration into the pipe.  Some policies require a specific rider dealing with this, others have denied claims all together, based on the insureds “lack of maintenance.”  Because of the obvious costly nature of dealing with the clean up, the harmful bacteria, potential mold,  and just the water damage alone associated with such floods, checking with your insurance provider to go over your  coverage might be a good idea. Because of the expensive nature of a claim like this it would be better to be proactive than reactive when dealing with your insurance claim.

Patterson Plumbing & Heating has several options for  permanently solving root problems including the Perma-Liner sewer pipe re-lining system.  Call for us to evaluate your problem and possible solutions.  719-544-4922 or schedule on line at www.pattersonplumbing.com.

OK, You have roots in your Pueblo, Colorado area sewer line, now what?

OK, you have roots in your sewer line, now what?

There is a misconception on the part of many homeowners that believe having roots in their sewer line is normal, and that having a plumber or sewer and drain company come out and “clear” the line once or twice a year is to be expected.

Sorry to say, both of these are just not true.

  • First, homeowners should never look at roots in their sewer line as normal, it is a failure of the sewer system.
  • Second, having a plumber or sewer and drain contractor out to your home to “maintain”, or do regular maintenance, should not be necessary.  If your sewer pipe is water tight, as it should be, there will be no way for roots to penetrate it.
  • Third, snaking, or cabling the line will remove all the roots from the pipe, except for perfect circumstances cabling a line merely opens the pipe temporarily.

The problem with “clearing” a sewer pipe is that in order for the cable cutter to completely clear the line of all root intrusions a special root cutting tool needs to be used that is the same diameter as the interior of the pipe itself.  This blade needs to be the proper size so that the blades can hold tight to the interior wall of the pipe as it is inserted through, thus cutting these roots as it passes and allowing them to be washed down stream.

Issues arise when the access point into the sewer line for the cable is either smaller than the diameter of the main line pipe, as is the case when snaking the line from inside the house, or when the turns are too tight to allow for the cutter to maneuver around the fittings.

Usually when a snake is run from these lines a single cutter blade is used rather than the optimum size blade for the job.  In these cases, rather than cutting the roots the cable twists the roots up and pulls them away, breaking them off rather than actually cutting them ahead of the blade.  In such cases the roots are wrapped around the cable like spaghetti on a fork, and after so many roots are wrapped up on the cable it can then become stuck in the line, like a Chinese finger trap.  This allows the cable to move forward but not backward. This leads to the probability of sticking the cable in the line eventually breaking the cable and forcing the issue of digging up the line to retrieve the cable and roots.

In some cases if the root intrusions are small enough they can be controlled by chemicals put down the drain lines to kill or at least discourage root growth so they won’t be using your drain lines as a fast food joint.

I have heard some of the remedies that include but are not limited to flushing rock salt down the drain  or putting lye down the drain, and I’m sure there are many more.  Some advertised products that we have seen used are Copper Sulfate or Metam Sodium which are both harmful to the environment and to the bacteria/fungi, which normally decompose dead roots.  These two chemicals also have harmful effects on waste-water treatment plants.  They obviously can create some issues that I think may be worse than the roots themselves, and would probably have limited effect on the problem.  There are some products available that we have had some success with over the years.  Root-X is one of these products, it contains Sulfamic Acid which is widely used to feed and preserve waste-water treatment plant biology.  This product also has a foaming agent that allows it to expand in the pipe, coating the upper portion of the pipe, the area that usually has the most root penetrations.

 

However, no matter what one of these methods you use to control the root intrusion into your homes sewer line, one fact remains, the cracks or penetrations still exist and the roots will continue to grow and attack that weakness.

 

Read our next post for more permanent solutions to the problem.

 

If you have roots causing problems in your home’s sewer line you can always call Patterson Plumbing & Heating, Inc. at 719-544-4922 or schedule on line at www.pattersonplumbing.com.

When evaluating a home service company there all sorts of qualities that you will want to consider

How long have they been in business?

A company that advertises long term warranties but has only been in business a year or two might be something to give some thought to.  It’s OK to offer long term warranties, and the company may be doing business and building a brand for themselves that indicate that they are going to be around a long time to cover their warranty claims, after all every company has to cover one once in a while no matter how good they are.  But what if a company is new to the market, offering long term warranties, and does not have good customer reviews and comments let alone a high BBB rating.  That company’s claims to offer long term warranties are not too valuable to you.

Are they locally owned or a national company?

Either one can be good or bad. A local company usually has an owner who is concerned with his own reputation in the community as it is affected by his relationship with his company. He is likely available to help clear up issues that might come up with service or quality. On the other hand national companies generally have significant corporate standards that they have to live by. Sometimes these are motivated only by profits but often they are motivated by an understanding that repeat and referral business is the key to success and that without those customers willing to spend more money with them on subsequent visits they will soon run out of customers. The real goal should be to find a company that is the best of both worlds, local with high standards of quality service. This company is concerned about building long term customer relationships by providing consistently high quality. They have a vested interest in the community since the owner and all the employees live there.

Are they fully licensed and insured?

This is a biggie.  There are lots of people out there performing similar service out of their garage or the back of their pick-up or van. Although the end result might be similar for a lot less money what happens when something goes wrong. You might as what could go wrong? Let me tell you. After being in business for almost 30 years in our community we’ve seen many things that can and do go wrong. Employees have been injured while performing their work in the home. Property has been accidentally damaged. We’ve seen jobs that have been done that don’t meet standard building codes and the customer has had to pay a reputable company to re-do them after paying the first person to do it wrong. It’s important to make sure the company you hire is licensed and fully insured. This protects you from accidents and the company buying permits for the work they do and then having that work inspected puts another set of eyes on the project to confirm that it was done safe and correctly.

What about the individuals that are dispatched to your home?

Just because the company passes all the tests doesn’t mean that each of their employees will. What should you look for in a technician and how can you check them out? Click here to read our post.

If you need help with your Pueblo area home’s plumbing, heating or air conditioning, we can help. Learn more about Patterson Plumbing & Heating, click here.