Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

When we’re asking discovery questions of our clients trying to get a better understanding of how the plumbing is laid out, we often ask:  “Do you happen to know where the sewer cleanout is?”  The perplexed response we often get is:  “What’s a cleanout?” 

6TH CO

It’s important to know where this little gem of a cap in your main 4″ drain leading out of the house is.  Sometimes they’re outside the building foundation.  Other times they’re hidden inside walls, behind or next to washing machines, at the base of an old cast iron soil stack in the basement, behind a toilet, or inside crawl spaces (as illustrated in the picture above).

In the septic world (homes with onsite wastewater systems); rather than city sewer, we often hear them referred to as “pump-outs” which isn’t correct.  A septic tank cannot be pumped out from the cleanout.  The septic tank lid needs to be exposed  and opened up for or pumping.  A cleanout is simply an access point to the line itself for servicing.   i.e. snaking, jetting, or video inspection. 

Regardless of what you want to call it; make sure it’s readily accessible for servicing or access in the time of an emergency back-up.  Keep it exposed– Prevent covering it up with drywall, plumbing other fixtures into it, building decks over it, planting shrubs (especially thorny ones) around it, or piling storage boxes or other obstructions in the way of it.  These tips will save you time, money, and give you peace of mind in the event the sewer or septic lateral needs immediate servicing.

Have questions regarding your homes sanitary infrastructure?  Call us at:  (208) 818-8241.

 

Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections and locates in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, or to schedule an inspection, contact us at: 208.818.8241

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Our primary purpose is to inspect, report, and consult on the internal condition of sanitary infrastructure – During our inspections however, we often run into other common plumbing problems that you should look out for when purchasing a home.  Take a close look at this picture of the plumbing at this home in Spirit Lake, Idaho and read our comments below.  1091860_594352073936214_328369133_n

The 2″ stack of piping that we’ve pointed out on the right is for a laundry discharge. You’ll notice how high it is. Because of the elevation of the main 4″ sewer leaving the foundation wall. Someone has improperly added the laundry hook ups. It’s way too high. You’d basically be using the washing machine as a pump. The pump in a washing machine is not designed to lift that high.  This puts undue stress on the washing machine shortening its lifespan.  The appropriate solution would be to add a plastic laundry tub to drain the washing machine; that would drain to a sump pump, then the sump pump would eject the grey water to the 4″ sewer. Another problem is that if the sewer ever backs up, the first place it will go is into your washing machine (and that’s just gross).  When we do find a problem as such during an inspection, we strongly encourage buyers to seek additional recommendations from a licensed professional plumber.

If you have any questions regarding the sanitary infrastructure of your home or a home you’re considering purchasing, don’t hesitate to give us a call.  Phone calls are always free!

Spy before you BUY, Locate before you DIG!

Give yourself peace of mind! Call us at: 208-818-8241.

Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections and locates in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, or to schedule an inspection, contact us at: 208.818.8241

 

Excellent information from our friends in Cincinnati! Keep in mind however, the cost estimates quoted in this blog do not exactly coincide with pricing in the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane areas. In North Idaho and Eastern Washington, you should expect to pay around 15-20% less for such a repair. It’s always best to do your homework. Get multiple bids and advice from knowledgeable professionals. Better yet, have an unbiased third party get involved to help with such an overwhelming process.

Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections, locates, and consulting in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, you may contact us at: 208.818.8241

Mainline Inspection Services

Currently, the two most common methods of repairing a damaged sewer line is a Full Line Replacement, and what is known as a Reline, sometimes referred to as a Sleeve. If an inspection reveals serious issues with the sewer lateral that can only be remediated with a full replacement or repair, these are the two methods I most often consult my customers on.

An excavation is a pretty straight forward option in which the yard is dug up and the old line is removed and replaced, usually, with either SDR 35 or SCH 40 PVC pipe.

A reline is  often referred to as a “no-dig” trenchless sewer repair, as it requires very little, if any digging. It involves re-lining the interior of the existing damaged  sewer line with a seamless liner. The new sewer liner can sometimes be installed through an existing access point, called a clean-out…

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When you open the lid to your toilet tank, is the water nice and clear like the one in the picture above?  OR is it bright blue from one of those drop-in, tank-type, or whateveryawannacall’em automatic bowl cleaners? If the answer is bright blue, consider this: I highly discourage the use of them, and here are several reasons why:  Over time, many of the chemicals in those tablets such as bleach and chlorine will damage the flapper, the fill valve, and all of those other little plastic and rubber components that are essential to providing trouble-free flushes.  The deterioration of such components may also lead to flooding and extensive water damage.  Many manufacturers warranties will also be void by the use of these tablet-style cleaners.  Additionally, if the water closet  (toilet) were to overflow due to a clog or a sewer back-up, the blue dye will stain and destroy everything in it’s path;  tile, granite, hardwood, carpet, or grout.  Likewise, your dog may be smart enough not to drink water that smells like chemicals… but why take the chance?

Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections, locates, and consulting in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, you may contact us at: 208.818.8241

Spring in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – Sun, rain, wind, snow.  We’ll soon be blessed with warmer days!  Looking out the window as the sun still hasn’t set, I can’t help but to think about all the fun and ambitious things that spring brings.

As Spring unfolds many homeowners start thinking about outdoor type projects. i.e. landscaping, porches, decks, patios, retaining walls, ponds, water features, gardens, new trees, shrubs, etc.   Below are some tips to help you avoid some common problems during your next spring or summer project.

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Keep in mind and be extra cautious around septic tanks, drain fields, leach fields, and sewer and septic lateral drain lines. Avoid a potential disaster by having them located prior to beginning your Spring landscaping projects. Most people know it’s the law to call before you dig. National 811 service however, does not locate private utilities like sewer lines, septic lines, tanks, drainfields, storm drains, etc.

To most; underground utilities are just that, “underground” = out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t already know the location, depth, and layout of your sewer or septic system, this is the perfect time to find out. By having a video inspection and locate of the lines and tank, you’ll not only gain valuable information to help with future periodic septic system maintenance, potentially detect “underlying” problems before become an issue, and make more educated design decisions for your project.

We; as well as most plumbing companies, septic companies, and state and government entities recommend having a
septic system serviced (pumped and inspected) every 3-5 years dependent on the size, capacity, and
type of system you have on site. To better accommodate regular and necessary maintenance have Poly or PVC risers installed on your septic tank to eliminate the need for future excavation. They don’t have to be an ugly green eye-sore in your yard either. Check out septic lids that match your landscape. Oh and you don’t need a licensed contractor do to that. Risers are fairly inexpensive..  and with a little ambition to dig (or some good friends and a healthy beer supply), you can do it yourself!
dig for beer
If you’re on city sewer, you may or may not already understand that you; as a homeowner, are
responsible for the proper care and maintenance of your own private sewer lateral (main line) from the
house to the street. In many municipalities, you’re responsible all the way to where it ties into the city main (under the street or alley).  More information regarding private sewer lateral responsibility in the City of Coeur d’Alene can be found here.

sewer in street

Because the home in the picture above has basement plumbing, the sewer lateral in that case was over 7′ deep.  In some cases though, sewer or septic lines can be quite shallow. Thus a simple excavation for a landscaping project like planting a tree, or installing an automatic sprinkler system could lead to damage of you sewer or septic system. Likewise, planting a tree too close to your sewer or septic lines or drain field, regardless of the depth, may cause future problems with infiltration from tree roots. Inevitably leading to a back-up.

trees by sewer

Spring is the time when trees start come out of that “semi-dormant” winter state and start searching for
water and nutrients from the soil. If you have a break, crack, or offset joint in your sewer or septic lines or a leaky septic tank; you’re not only allowing untreated wastewater into the aquifer and nearby lakes and streams, but you’re providing an incredible source of nutrients for your landscape. Sure the trees, shrubs, and lawn may look lush, green, and great, oh and those veggies in your yard?  Truly “organic”.  (and you just thought you were a green thumb ;)).  The sewer back-up that occurs when a blockage happens however, will quickly turn those beauties to beasts.


Lateral Concepts, LLC is a locally owned and operated business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We provide unbiased sewer and septic lateral video inspections and locates in and around North Idaho, Spokane, and Eastern Washington. For more information, or to schedule an inspection, contact us at: 208.818.8241