$15,000 repair averted...simply

6 Replies

The property consists of 3 residential units upstairs and our laundromat downstairs. A while ago we started to smell dirty water. Initially we thought there was a busted pipe for the washers and water was leaking out somewhere and sitting. Well, we were partly correct. However, it wasn't a drain for the washers but a sewer line that was leaking. It was leaking into an area underneath the stairs leading up to the apartments and just sitting there smelling the laundromat up. Im sure customers were not pleased. 

Once we found out where the water was sitting we had a "large" company come out and pump the water. The same company came out and ran a camera through the line. This guy was a fast talker and just wanted us to pay them their money to dig up our property and out into the road to replace the whole sewer line. 

After that we had our normal plumber come out and run a snake aaannnndddd problem solved. Turned out to just be clogged up. 

Point of the story is always make sure to get multiple opinions and try everything cheap first. Instead of a $15,000 bill, we got away with about $600. Three hundred for the pump truck, one eighty for the camera and about one hundred for the snake. 

Great tip Travis.  Its always sad to see how big a difference of opinion there is on things in this business.  If you find someone you can trust pay them well and keep them happy!!

Just playing devil's advocate, but I wonder if the large company saw that the line out to the street is damaged? The only reason I say that is I had the same issue at a rental. We snaked it to get some temporary relief and it works for now, but eventually we are going to have to shell out $5k to have the line replaced, it's damaged by a tree root. Currently it clogs up about every 6 months. 

Yes, our regular plumber is great. Very reasonably priced and easy to deal with. He just didn't have a pump truck or a camera. 

NIck, he said the line was damaged out in the street. The clog was in or very near the building though and works well now. We shall see what the future brings.  

@Travis Frenchak

 - Yes, that's well worth the risk to try for the simple solution. You saved yourself a lot of money and in so doing, learned a lot from the exercise and which you are able to share with us.

Always a nice surprise when you don't have to shell out the big $$$ today, and can plan for the later repair on your time. You may want to ask the video guy if he can provide you with the footage. He may not have recorded it, but I know many of those guys have the capability.

With developer clients of ours, they'll often video existing sewer and storm drain as part of their projects. Sometimes it's to assess the condition prior to taking private responsibility for it (the City of San Diego wants to privatize stuff so they no longer have to fix it). Or sometimes they're putting in a new line and need to make sure that they've accounted for all the laterals that tie into the system...no one wants to find out they didn't reconnect all the sewer lines. 

Either way it's worth asking, you may be able to review the footage and see what exactly the damage is to get a better idea of if this snaking is going to fix it for a few years or a few months.

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