Fixing a House Drain Pipe

Since around November of 2012, I’ve been dealing with a drain pipe issue for my parent’s rental house.

[quick note:  a drain pipe is the main line that connects all of the waste water from your house to the city’s main sewer line.]

Our tenants had the pleasure of dealing with sewer water backing up into the tub and shower of the master bathroom (disgusting!)  We acted quickly and got things repaired the same day they called us about it, but the issue came back later that same month.  So again, we got the repair done, but on the second go-around, the plumber indicated that the drain pipe could possibly be cracked causing this issue to reoccur.  This is common with older homes for numerous reasons.  It could be a tree’s root breaking through the pipe.  It could have been because we haven’t gotten a good amount of rain so those dry summer months hardened up the soil so much that it cracked the pipe.  We figured, it is what it is and we have to get it repaired so yesterday we had our plumbers go out there and get the work done.  This was actually something I would have liked to try, but cold weather and the distance pulled me away from making it a DIY project.

The job is theoretically simple, but would need some time, effort and willingness to get a little dirty.

Every house has a “clean out”.  It’s usually a hole in the ground (close to the house where the master bath is) and has a PVC cover on it.  From there you can run a plumber’s snake to customarily clean out your main line.  To find the crack, you run the snake down the pipe until it stops.  When it stops, it usually means you’re in the general area of the crack or major block.  Plumbers use a camera to be more precise.  Mark the snake as to how deep you ran it then pull it out.  Line up the mark you made on the snake to the clean out and run it in a straight line on the surface.  Wherever the snake ends will generally be where your crack is.

Finding the crack would be the hardest part.  If you’re not up for that, just call a plumber and pay them to identify the area.  Everything else is a matter of digging, cutting and replacing PVC pipe, which is relatively simple.

Our plumbers did the job in a few hours and I requested that they send me some pictures of the job.  When I saw the pics, I couldn’t believe my eyes

Fiber optic cable thru pvc

Someone ran an orange Fiber Optic Cable through the easement in our backyard and bored right through our drain line!  Not dry soil.  Not the roots of a tree… A FIBER OPTIC CABLE broke my drain pipe!

Luckily the plumbers are pros and they were able to make the fix around the fiber optic cables, so we’re good to go.


But now I’ve got to figure out who’s cable that is and how to get them to pay for the repairs!  Wish me luck!

2 Replies to “Fixing a House Drain Pipe”

  1. Holy Crap! That’s horrible! The Nerve of some folks. BUT maybe it was unknowingly done. I hope you get your reparations!


  2. Sorry for running that cable man. I was so sure it wouldn’t hit your drain pipe.


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