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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a customer who I had snaked the drain on the 4th of December and it has plugged up again. The house in on a slab on grade. I told the owner that the cast iron drain is restricted and I was unable to get a cutter down the drain more that 30' the drain is scaled up and reduced in size. I mentioned that if it clogged up again I would recommend to try and descale it. I gave him a price to descale for 4 hours. The owner texted me yesterday and said the property was stopped up again and asked for a solution to fix the problem. I told the owner that the best idea was to saw cut the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room and run the new sewer through the home under or through the footing and out into the septic tank. He asked for an estimate I said thousands of dollars. The owner said he knew he would need to replace the drains in the future but lets try descaling this time. To be honest I have not tried descaling a sewer before, just watched a lot of YouTube videos and advice on plumbing forums.
 

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I just purchased a Ridgid K9 204 used off E-bay and I have a couple off home made flex shafts with 3/8th" cable 35', 75', and 100'. I have carbide flex shaft cutters. The electric drill that ran the clog dog flex shaft and battery drills. I also have a sewer camera. I will be doing this job from a 3" cast iron vent on the roof. I have snaked the drains at this property before and have not been able to locate a cleanout, I should trace the sewer and try and locate the clean out if they do not have one recommend installing a cleanout.
 

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My plan is to go on the roof to the 3" vent stack and push the 75' of homemade flex shaft down as far as I can. I think I can push it to the clog and that it is a soft blockage? After I have pushed it as far as it will go or to the septic tank. I will ask the customer to run water in the shower or tube and make sure it doesn't overflow Than I will run the flex shaft back slowly and try and remove most of the scale and open up the drain to full size. After I run the flex shaft I will check my work with the camera. If there if enough space in the line I will pull the flex shaft back and watch it with the camera. I will try the electric drill on the homemade flex shaft since it does not have a clutch. If I use the K9 204 I will use the battery drills because they have a clutch.
 

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Somebody check me on this. I would be thinking clear the soft clog with the cutters, camera to find the scale that is catching the soft. Start the water and chain knocker to descale. Camera to keep track. Consider bursting or sleeving to save cutting floors. Bursting/sleeving to be done from the hole for the new clean out.
 

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Be very very very very careful running any kind of flex shaft machine, brand, or homemade, without a clutch. This can get very real very fast. I would also be very very careful clearing any blockages with a flex shaft machine. From what I’ve heard, it’s much easier to bust a cable than you think.

I personally would camera to somewhat see where my cable is going to go. (I’m paranoid about blowing toilets out, but you’re doing this from a roof, so carry on) clear the line with my sewer machine, camera again to have a look at the problem areas, then begin descaling with the flex shaft ON A CLUTCH, trailing the camera behind it. And as you said, lots of nice, hot water.

if there’s roots, we’ll, good luck. Roots will eat your flex shaft alive
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Somebody check me on this. I would be thinking clear the soft clog with the cutters, camera to find the scale that is catching the soft. Start the water and chain knocker to descale. Camera to keep track. Consider bursting or sleeving to save cutting floors. Bursting/sleeving to be done from the hole for the new clean out.
That sounds really professional Dave , seal coating, sleeveing, or bursting sounds like this home would be a good candidate for these systems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Be very very very very careful running any kind of flex shaft machine, brand, or homemade, without a clutch. This can get very real very fast. I would also be very very careful clearing any blockages with a flex shaft machine. From what I’ve heard, it’s much easier to bust a cable than you think.

I personally would camera to somewhat see where my cable is going to go. (I’m paranoid about blowing toilets out, but you’re doing this from a roof, so carry on) clear the line with my sewer machine, camera again to have a look at the problem areas, then begin descaling with the flex shaft ON A CLUTCH, trailing the camera behind it. And as you said, lots of nice, hot water.

if there’s roots, we’ll, good luck. Roots will eat your flex shaft alive
Thanks good advice I ran my homemade flex shaft which is general 3/4" inner core cable with an electric drill a few times without problems. But I know **** happens I hope it will go well today I will post when the job is finished and try and take some pictures. thanks for the advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
There is about 1/2 to 1/4 inch of scale at the bottom of the pipe the line is broken outside in the patio area I gave the owner a price to bust a hole in the concrete and repair the sewer that install a cleanout an patch the concrete. If I get the job I will use my small jetter to pull the scale out before I repair the line. The customer has bathrooms on the opposite ends of his home I think the problem will be a wye where the two sewers join that broke collapsed. Did not get a real clear picture of why my camera stopped.
 

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It's a mess but if the scale is bad enough and the house is on slab level you can dig up a portion of the line outside and cut out a portion of the line, then dig down another foot and a half or so. Then use a cable to knock all of the scale loose from the ci inside. Then use a better to pull all the powder into the hole. Use a fernco clamp to put a window screen over the line going down stream while jetting to keep mud from going down stream while jetting. All of the scale goes into the bottom of the hole. I've done it several times with good results. In Wichita there were parts of town that required 4" running traps in the yard so you if you knocked too much scale powder loose you ran the risk of filling the bottom of the trap.


Edit: obviously all that isn't necessary for a house on a septic tank but it's something to think about for longer lines with some grade issues
 

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It's a mess but if the scale is bad enough and the house is on slab level you can dig up a portion of the line outside and cut out a portion of the line, then dig down another foot and a half or so. Then use a cable to knock all of the scale loose from the ci inside. Then use a better to pull all the powder into the hole. Use a fernco clamp to put a window screen over the line going down stream while jetting to keep mud from going down stream while jetting. All of the scale goes into the bottom of the hole. I've done it several times with good results. In Wichita there were parts of town that required 4" running traps in the yard so you if you knocked too much scale powder loose you ran the risk of filling the bottom of the trap.


Edit: obviously all that isn't necessary for a house on a septic tank but it's something to think about for longer lines with some grade issues
Thanks for the advice, I got the job to repair the pipe I will cut the pipe outside for repairs than jet the pipe with my l pressure washer/ jetter and pull the scale out and into the ditch, before making repairs.
 
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