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Running a Camera Through Your Sewer Lines

Should You Run a Camera Through Your Sewer Lines


John Wolf: Now is there any level of leakage, any minor amount that’s like hey it could be condensation I mean that you could just live with rather than do an expensive repair or a leak is a leak is a leak and you’ve got to get it closed off or it’s just going to get worse.


Roger Wakefield: On the sewer line it might drop just a hair and that’ll be water balancing in the vents and we’ll normally fill it up again to make sure it doesn’t leak. At Texas Green Plumbing, we either tell people there is a leak or there is not a leak. Now if it drops 8 or 9 inches we know it’s normally at a tub it could be a toilet flange.


If it drops 12 to 18 inches that normally puts it at a lav vent. So we can normally watchfully, see how far it drops and kind of determine where we think that it would be, because that’s where we find most of them. If it goes all the way down we tell people look this is probably in the main and they can be a little more severe. Some buyers want to run the sewer test also run a camera down. And it’s funny the first time that I had a customer asked me to do that I was surprised because he wanted the sewer and water test but he wanted the camera too. I told him look the main thing you’re worried about is the water leak. I said that’s the main thing, he said yeah but I want the camera ran from the two way clear out to the street, I want to know what this sewer main looks like.


And it was really funny because on that particular house it looked like a rollercoaster, it had been repaired multiple times and he ended up coming in and having the seller redo the sewer main from the house all the way out to the street. He didn’t have a leak out of the house, the sewer and water tested fine under the house. From the house out to the main he ended up having it replaced and then he actually paid additionally to reroute it around a certain area of the backyard because he was wanting to add a swimming pool later.


John Wolf: That guy knew what he was doing


Roger Wakefield: He is thinking ahead but then again he was smart enough to test his house before he bought it.


John Wolf: And he avoided the problem that had obviously occurred several times but as you say not underneath the house; the house itself might be your major problem to worry about or major situation to worry about but it’s not the whole thing if you’ve got a little bit of property around it.


Roger Wakefield: Especially if there’s a little property around it because that’s sewer line maybe 100 feet long on a bigger property and that’s going to be more expensive. If I was buying a house these days which I’m a plumber so it’s easier for me to say I’ll do a sewer and water test on it no matter what and I go ahead and run the camera too just to make sure.


If there’s been repairs under the house they’ll normally show up on my camera because you can run the camera through- a lot of the older houses in Dallas were built of cast iron most repairs are done with P.V.C. so you can run through and see was that repair done good, are the lines still lining up? There’s a lot of different issues that you can run into that doing a sewer water test and a camera test will help expose.


John Wolf: Tell me about the difference in quality and what you would do if it was your property as far as the cast iron versus the P.V.C.


Roger Wakefield: As in what? As in the repair?


John Wolf: Yeah, if it were your house would you want cast iron put back in if that’s possible or would you say that P.V.C. is cheaper let’s just put that in that’s fine.


Roger Wakefield: Pretty much everybody’s going to P.V.C. these days because even if you put a piece of cast iron in you’re not going to put it on like it was originally made to go together, it was originally made with a hub and actually originally with lead in the oakum but a neoprene gasket that goes in tweaks it, it pushes in, slides in and locks together.


So nowadays if we open up a piece of pipe and realize there’s a section of pipe the trotting along the bottom of it we would go back to where we could cut a good piece of pipe come and see where we can cut a good piece of pipe we would cut a piece of P.V.C. that will fit in there exactly and then the gaskets that we’re going to use to repair it…it’s a sheer coupling. It’s a neoprene gasket that has a real thick rubber band on it but the sheer coupling on it has a stainless steel band around it and stainless steel rings you know the rings like you clamp on a radiator hose on your car.


Same type of bands, they are larger and they’re going to hold this but the big difference being that stainless steel jacket around it is going to help make it- we run into a lot where people just use a regular C.T. adaptor which is just the rubber neoprene with the rings on each end and over time the house may shift and it’ll little cock it. That creates an area where toilet paper or any soft material can slowly build up and stop up and you’re going to run into issues again.


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Texas Green Plumbing

1300 E. Arapaho Road #101 Richardson, Texas 75081

Phone: 972-442-4101

Roger Wakefield, LEED AP, M-35105

Best Plumbing Test To Save You Money

Best Plumbing Test To Save You Money When Buying a Home in Texas

Roger: I tell all the realtors that I meet to recommend to their clients they do a sewer and water test. It’s funny because they’ll spend $500 to have a home inspector come in and inspect everything visually above the slab, check to make sure faucets works, toilets flush, the dishwasher runs, the oven gets hot and the light switches work. What I recommend to people is make sure that you recommend to your buyers to do the sewer and water test because it’s the buyer who pays for it, it’s an optional test. And we call it a leak test a sewer water test, a lot of people call it a hydro static test, the only problem with that me having a commercial background I had a hydro static test you actually boost the pressure in the system and on houses you don’t really want to do that. I know some of the realty companies have contracts that you have to sign to do a test that way they’ve got it worded in there if you do a test and you damage anything you’re going to repair it. If you just do a leak test you’re not going to damage anything, all you’re doing is putting a test ball in the sewer line where it leaves the house or putting a gauge on the hose bib to do a test. You want to determine if there is a leak under it. When you get people that are spending 3 or 400 thousand dollars or more on a house and then they have to come in and spend 20 to 50 thousand dollars to fix the sewer water leak; that can be devastating.


John/radio 1190: And I’ll tell you from my experience I was told you could have had this and it cost me a little over $6,000 and you could have had it covered in your insurance with a rider on your policy but guess what, the only thing you are covered for all major company policy. The only thing that was covered was was there damage in the house or to the house itself not to anything underneath which was the slab leak and finding this slab leak. So I don’t know what the additional rider would have cost but it probably wouldn’t have been $6,000 but without it, it cost me $6,000 and I bet you’ve got worse stories to tell as well.


Roger: It’s not that expensive. I’ve got some great insurance agents that I deal with and from all different companies. When you buy a house if you’ll have it done then it’s not expensive. I believe it’s hard to add it later because then they think OK you’ve determined you have a problem now you want to get insurance so you’re covered for it. One thing I tell people is on your insurance policy guys it’s a great thing to cover situations like that even though they don’t happen as often as you would think.  When it does happen you want to make sure you’re covered and the way some policies are written they may cover only like you said if damage occurs inside the house above the slab that way it’s the insurance company’s way out to say OK you’ve got a slab leak underneath but didn’t damage anything so that’s your problem.


John/radio 1190: And it’s just like with the insurance out of this is a plumbing surely an assurance but there’s oh if you’re buying a car or you could have this option you could have this I mean it didn’t add up and you can’t cover everything so it would be nice to at least have a check on it first.


Roger: And if you look at it from an insurance point of view, we charge $350 for a sewer water test if there is a two way clean out there.  And if you will look at that as insurance that $350 is a great insurance policy against 5 to 50 thousand dollars for a plumbing repair.


John/radio 1190: In your experience that it’s probably not I’m guessing it’s not a newer house that would normally have a slab leak it’s slightly older house, but if it’s happened once are you thinking I want to sell this house now because it’s just as likely to happen ten feet down the road here.


Roger: Well and if you’re selling the house and I go back to dealing with my relationship with realtors the seller normally doesn’t do a test, the sellers normally are like I’m selling the house because I’m moving. It’s the buyer’s choice as to whether they want to have that tested to see if they’re going to have issues. So if I was buying a house, a new house or an old house I would do it. And if you asked me that six months ago I would probably know I used to tell people if you’re representing a buyer that’s buying a house 10 years or older, tell them; I always recommend to my clients to do a sewer water test. For whatever reason I showed up at a networking event and I’ve talked to you about it before I networked through Master networks and I showed up an event at a new location Ron Hunt  a great realtor up north in Frisco, invited me to his group and I went up to his group and one of the home inspectors there said, Roger we tell every client buying a house to do a sewer and water test on the new houses too.  He said and you’d be surprised how many of them have leaks under them, so that was a surprise.


John/radio 1190: Would you say those are from lesser builders not mentioning any but the higher quality houses shouldn’t have that possibility or hey things happen.


Roger: I think it really gets back to the quality of the plumbing company you use.  If you look at and whether it’s a smaller builder a larger builder everybody wants the cheapest plumber.  Everybody you know America was built by the lowest bidder.  So that’s not us. And I tell people that all the time is look I’m not the cheapest plumber.  We want to come in and do what’s best. I never grew up wanting to be the cheapest of anything I did, but I always tried to be the best. So remember that when you’re buying a house it was built by the cheapest plumber. Did they take shortcuts to get their price lower or what did they do that there’s no way of knowing right.


John/radio 1190: I should mention now if people hop in and out of their car hopefully while they’re stopped that your phone number 972-442-4101, 972-442-4101 Texas green plumbing.  Again we’re speaking with Roger Wakefield of Texas green plumbing. The number here if you’d like to call it 214-787-1190. And as you say the lowest bidder I mean I think of that even with pizzas or hamburgers how low can the price get? There’s so much competition but there’s going to be a give on the other side and that could be your slab especially when it’s a row a row of houses or they’re putting them as quickly as they can and it may not be an effort to cut costs in a bad way but they’re not looking to as you say you’re not the cheapest guy necessarily but you want to have the best job done.


Roger: I see signs all the time that show 3 different circles; quality, speed and price.  You can get 2 out of the 3. If you get quality and value or quality and price you’re not going to get it fast, if you get quality and fast you’re not going to get it for a good price. So you’re always going to give up something. The best way to look at it is look I want it done best at least that’s how we look at. The plumbers I hire, I hire the most expensive plumbers in town because I want the best plumbers. I don’t want the cheapest plumber that I can get chances are he’s going to give me the worst job. I’ll try to find the best people and understand I pay more for that, I charge my customers more for that.  But if I’m having a plumbing job done I want to know that I’ve got the best guy in there doing it and that’s what we strive to be.


John/radio 1190: And you said your test is only about $350, did I hear that correctly?


Roger: Yes sir, $350 for a sewer water test, if they’ve got a two way clean out, because we have to be able to isolate and plug up the sewer line in order to test it.


John/radio 1190: Let’s pretend I don’t know what that to a clean out is, what exactly does that mean, say that again?


Roger: Your server system where it comes out of your house should have a two way clean out or sometimes there’s a bi-way clean out that’s optional you can go both ways, but there’s a clean out out front with either a black rubber gem cap on it or a screw in threaded plug and what we do is we go in there we put a test ball in where it exits at going towards the city main and that way we can fill up the water under the house to slab level just to see is it holding. If it holds you have no problems.  If it leaks down we’ll look at how far it leaks how fast and try to determine where that leak may be or how severe it is.


John/radio 1190: OK and I’m going to say only $350 if the house is $350,000 that’s really not a big chunk of change compared to what you’re looking at if you have a problem down the road.


Roger: Call it insurance.


John/radio 1190: There you go. You know things can still happen but at least you’ve done what you could do and you can’t take your whole house apart. You can’t put your house on an oscilloscope and check everything, but at least again you’ve done what you can do, you’ve had a quality job come out and quality person come out and check it out.


Roger: Look at it like this if they have a home inspector come out and he says OK there’s a leak at the water heater. And people are thinking, oh my gosh he saved us a couple of thousand dollars because we’re going to get the seller to install on the water heater now that’s great. If I come out and say look there’s a leak underneath the slab, and two of these I told you about this week we’re actually doing repairs on coming up, we’re saving that buyer on one house in particular almost $17,000 for a $350 investment that sounds like a great return.


John/radio 1190: Absolutely.


Roger Wakefield


Texas Green Plumbing

Have a Clogged Drain in Plano, TX

Nobody can escape the inevitable clogged drain, be it your sink, tub, or toilet.  Depending on the reason, the remedy is typically a do-it-yourself easy fix, as described below.

Kitchen Sink

If you find your water is pooling and slowly draining, food is most likely the problem in this area.  Garbage disposals prevent this by chopping up food waste into much smaller pieces that flow easily.  Run your disposal with very hot water to see if it clears it out, as hot water helps turn fats into liquid.  If it seems broken (making a quiet rather than normal grinding sound), you may need your disposal replaced.  It is possible that silverware is stuck in a blade too, so fishing around for this could be the answer.  Of course make sure your disposal is off before ever putting your hand near the blades inside!

If you don’t have a garbage disposal, the best way to fix this is by getting your hands dirty, and digging out the food sitting in the drain and throwing it away.  Make sure to always throw as much food away rather than in the sink to prevent this from happening.  Also, running very hot water helps liquidate grease and get it flowing as well.  If your pipes are full of grease from years of coating, a some people try a liquid or granular clearing agent; but we never recommend these, as they only decrease the size of the problem if anything, leaving the issue still present, and here at Texas Green Plumbing, we believe in keeping the Earth and our water supply as clean and safe to all as possible!

If these strategies above do not help, you may need a plumber.  Texas Green Plumbing has cameras to visualize the exact problem, be it grease, or even a broken pipe or tree root growing into your pipes underground; just give us a call at 972-442-4101.

Bathroom Sink, Tub or Shower

This room typically gets a drain clog from excess hair stuck close to the entrance of the drain, or jewelry.  Home supply stores have tools to remove hair and other items, and they are pretty efficient.  But if this doesn’t work, give Texas Green Plumbing a call at 972-442-4101 to help identify the issue and solve your drain problem.

Bathroom Toilet

A clogged toilet is NEVER fun to deal with, but is an inevitable life experience we have more than once in our lives. Be it our kids over using toilet paper, or flushing something crazy like a stuffed animal, just to see if it works, it just happens.  I recommend you invest in a plumber quality plunger for best results on forcing solids down. Make sure it is an air-tight seal before you plunge to get the most force out of your plunger.  And of course, if it is not normal toilet-type solids causing the problem, you will have to fish it out the best that you can.

Again, if you are still having a drain problem, Texas Green Plumbing is there for you, with same day service for urgent issues like this!  Again, our number is 972-442-4101, and we are here to help!


What does it mean when my plumber tells me I have a “belly” in my sewer line?

A “belly” in your line can also be described as a sagging line. The pipe has gone from straight to having a dip or sag, where water and solids stay in the bend and can’t travel to the sewer main. This is a common occurrence here in north Texas where our soil is known for shifting. Sagging lines can be caused by shifts in the soil, rain, irrigation leaks, improper drainage around the house, sewer leaks, and water leaks.

One symptom of a “belly” is a flushing toilet or draining washing machine, backs up into the house, often a bathtub. You may initially think you have a clogged drain and unstopping it may work for a while. However, depending on the size of the belly, you will continue to have problems until a repair is made.

When you call a plumbing professional to unstop a toilet, it is a good idea to ask him/her to also run a camera through your line to determine the cause of the stoppage. This is especially true if you have recurring problems with sewer back-ups.

Repairs for a “belly” can take several hours. Your plumbing professional will locate the sagging line by using a camera and locating equipment, then marking the area to be uncovered. The general steps to make the repair include: accessing the line, either by removing concrete, or tunneling under the house. Then removing the sagging line and replacing it with new pipe, properly placing hangers on the new pipe to stabilize the pipe in the soil, testing the new sewer line, recovering the floor in the house or refilling the tunnel with the removed dirt.

Making plumbing repairs underneath the soil can be frustrating to a homeowner. When we spend our hard-earned money to make improvements to our home, we want to see the end result. Some plumbing repairs are not seen, but are necessary not only for the health of your family and for our water source, but also for maintenance of your most precious and expensive investment, your home.

Avoiding Frozen Water Lines in Richardson Texas

The worst thing that could happen to you this winter could be a plumbing nightmare. Frozen busted water lines in Richardson Texas. I have been in some houses that have suffered this problem and it isn’t a pretty site. What happens is when the water isn’t moving and the temperature gets low enough, the water will freeze. When water does freezes in a pipe it expands and can create pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch. Normal water pressure is under 100 pounds per square inch. At 2,000 pounds it is enough pressure to rupture any pipe that is filled with water and has no place for the ice to expand to. When the water line bursts it can spill hundreds of gallons of water an hour. That equates to thousands of dollars in damage to your home. This is completely unnecessary when you know how easy it is to prevent a water pipe from freezing.

First, if you have lines on an exterior wall that are under a cabinet, open the cabinet doors. This lets the warmer air in and closer to the water lines and lessens the chance of frozen water lines and the necessary plumbing repairs. Second, let the water drip – This will help avoid Frozen Water Line in Richardson Texas.   I know that we are in a drought and I never recommend wasting water, but this is a very slow drip and could save you thousands in repairs. I let both hot and cold drip. This will also avoid plumbing repairs.

Some other things that you can do to avoid frozen water lines in Richardson Texas  and plumbing repairs would be to seal up cracks and holes outside that might let the cold in. Adding wall insulation or actual pipe insulation could add an extra layer of protection that keep the lines from freezing. Last applying electrical heating tape to lines that are easily accessible can be good. There are two types of heat tape, thermostatically controlled and the kind that you just plug in to get it hot. Be careful with these, like a space heater they can be very dangerous.

Don’t get me wrong. I want you to call Texas Green Plumbing for all your Richardson Plumbing Repairs. I just don’t want you to call me for repairs that could have been avoided by following a few simple steps.