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clay sewer pipe help

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by lukem, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    My clay sewer pipe that runs from the house to the septic has a major crack(chunks missing...can see water running) at a cleanout tee. I need to replace a tee and an elbow. I know i cant get clay fittings any more....so i will try to replace everything with pvc and fernco fittings. That's plan A.

    If the new PVC fittings don't line up plan B may be to make everything fit the best i can and then form it up and encase it all in concrete. Does plan B sound like trouble? I've never messed with this stuff before.?

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  2. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I would think that would be an "OK" option, with fall and winter coming so fast. But as for a permanent solution, I'd be considering going with all schedule 40 PVC as soon as money/time/weather conditions permit. If you decide to encase it in cement, make sure you seal around the clay pipe/PVC connections with RTV or duct sealant, so the cement does not invade the pipe and cause really bad problems....The also make rubber couplers (with stainless steel hose clamps) that you could join new PVC to your clay pipe, if the outer diameter is close to the same.....
    hilbiliarkiboi likes this.
  3. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I hear ya Scotty but replacing it all would a HUGE undertaking as the majority of the drain runs under the basement floor which means it is REALLY deep. I'm about 4 feet down as it is.
  4. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I'd find a place that was close to the damaged area, make up your tee with a stub of PVC and couple that PVC to your clay pipe via that rubber adapter. Then pour cement around that adapted area. It'll be as good of a permanent fix as you'll be able to get. Should outlast our lifetimes...
    lukem likes this.
  5. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    That's what I'm thinking. Just need a shovel operator to dig it all out....wait....that's me.
    Eatonpcat and ScotO like this.
  6. shmodaddy

    shmodaddy Burning Hunk

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    Need some help?

    Sent from my rooted and eclipse running X2--thanks nitro-- if im posting on here I'm probably supposed to be working! I can't help im addicted to HEARTH.COM!

    Attached Files:

    Eatonpcat likes this.
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Holy buckets Batman - thats a big shovel.
  8. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I've got a broken line between house and septic but mine is outside in dirt about 12" deep. Way easier and I guess I should consider myself lucky. It is concrete pipe though and I have every intention of using PVC and the proper fernco which transitions from PVC to thick wall concrete/clay/cast iron. No plans for concrete encasement though.

    In my case, the juice seems to leak out of the pipe and cause a green spot in the otherwise dried to death grass. That's how I found it.
  9. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    It is a weird set-up. There is a 4-way T - one is a cleanout, one is capped, one goes to the main line to the septic, and the other goes to the main line from the house. The main line from the house elbows into that "+". The + and the L are in bad shape and need replaced. I'm just more concerned that I won't be able to get the new PVC fittings to line up correctly and would only encase in concrete if I didn't think I had a tight seal.
    ScotO likes this.
  10. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Ahhhh, the tell-tale green oasis..........;) definitely a sign that something is going on!:)
  11. TeraFirma

    TeraFirma New Member

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    Clay pipe is still available if it would be easier to line up with your existing lines -- check with your local clay flue liner distributor. They will have access to the manufacturers.

    If you opt to encase in concrete, make sure you use a low strength material (CLSM) or flowable fill otherwise you can end up with voids around the pipe, which in the case of a PVC pipe would be deadly -- PVC doesn't provide it's own structure in the trench. As a result, a PVC line is entirely dependent upon the bedding for it's structure. A concrete encasement that doesn't flow and fill around a PVC pipe will not provide the necessary bedding. A concrete encasement that is not formulated correctly can also lead to issues with flotation -- be very careful here. You're heading down a very slippery slope!
  12. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the reply. Every place I've called locally laughs when I ask about a 4" clay cross/4 way tee and 4" clay elbow. They haven't been available for about 10 years.

    Lots of questions.

    I guess I'll start with the "deadly" part since that is the most concerning. Can you elaborate on this?
  13. TeraFirma

    TeraFirma New Member

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    Luken: What state are you in? I could at least find out if there's a reasonable local resource for you.

    The "deadly" part is all about deflection. A PVC pipe is prone to deflection, especially in an installation where the bedding is not sufficient. A concrete encasement with voids around the pipe (especially likely below the haunches) is a classic example of a poorly bedded pipe. Deflection will cause the line to fail. The out of round PVC will pull away from whatever it is joined to and you will be digging up the whole mess -- only this time you'll have to figure out how to deal with getting all of that concrete out of the ground.
  14. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I'm in Indiana near Terre Haute. Even if I could locate the clay fittings I don't think I'd be able to get them in there without excavating a lot of the lines to give myself some wiggle room to fit everything together.
  15. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Just want to also reiterate that the pipe itself is firmly bedded and only the "+" and "L" fitting need replaced. I understand the concerns about deflection, bedding below the haunches, etc...but given the orientation of the pipes that's not a huge concern. The top of the "+" faces upward for cleanout access.

    I picked up some fernco and pvc fittings this morning. I still have some digging to do to full expose everything, but I'm hoping to be able to take some measurements tonight to see if it will all fit together.
  16. TeraFirma

    TeraFirma New Member

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    If you've already got the parts, I'd just go with that, but I know clay fittings are available in your area. The fernco coupling should do what you need and would probably be needed even if you were going to join new clay pipe to old clay pipe.

    Good luck.
  17. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    What a complete cluster!!

    I had a ton of damaged pipe that has been leaking a LONG time...can't believe it didn't leak into the basement. I had to cut out all the damage and piece it all back together with PVC. It is dry fit right now..will glue it together tomorrow.

    Its beer o'clock.
  18. TeraFirma

    TeraFirma New Member

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    WOW! You were working late. It's way past Beer-thirty in Ohio!
  19. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Just a suggestion. While you have access rent/borrow a sewer inspection camera. Check out all the pipe with it, in both directions, all the way to the tank & to the house. Experience tells me that any system with one failure is likely to have more, you just cant see them. At least that way you will know when you are backfilling this patch. Yes, I know could be really bad news, but better to know than not. Inspection camera with 100' of cable, camera & monitor rent for $100 - 150/day here. Cheap peace of mind. Failing that most larger plumbing firms will have one, just have to pay the hourly.
  20. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I was having some pretty major septic issues earlier in the month. The tanks (yes, two) were completely packed with hard sludge and the lift pump to the finger system was completely smoked. After I had my tank pumped they had to snake a couple lines from the house to get it flowing correctly. They weren't sure exactly how it was laid out so they camera'd the system...that's how we found this issue. It wasn't where the partial clog was. I'm amazed I didn't notice any trouble sooner.

    I feel pretty good the rest of the system is now in good shape....compared to where I started out. This system is WEIRD and probably really poorly designed...but it works and I'm not putting in a new one. Its worked pretty not bad for 50 year with little/no maintenance. Tanks are sound and now the lines are sound.

    I'll glue all the PVC fitting, put a bead of silicon around the ferncos, and backfill around the patch job with pea gravel tonight and be done with it.
  21. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    I have either a broken terra cotta line or the packing (Oakum?) at one or more of the joints in the line has failed. The reason I know this is because every six months or so, our toilet flushing will start to be problematic & I hafta
    remove the clean-out, get my mechanical snake out & attach my 1/2' drill to it. I hafta get in there 16 - 24 feet with a point & then a 4" cutter blade before I clear the obstruction, & that obstruction is capillary tree roots. There isn't a living tree within 40' of there, but those damn roots just keep coming back. After I clear it I flush about 4 lbs of Copper Sulfate thru the line, but 6 months later....I'm gonna hafta suck it up & jackhammer thru the slab & replace it all with Schedule 40, but not this year...I might add that we're on a grinder pump sewer system & that I don't have a septic tank to worry about the the chemicals...
  22. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    You can get furnco fittings for just about everything now a days . no way would i be buying any clay pipe. WHatever you tear out replace with sched 40 or the gray street pipe with the bushings and adapt with furncos.
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I agree. No reason to use clay when something as ggod as PVC is available.

    We have lots of failing side sewers in my city, they were made of something called orangeberg pipe. It is like tar paper and was cheap at the time, it squishes down eventually and clogs. Compare it to using the cardboard core of a paper roll or even a sonotube concrete form. People used crazy stuff back then and there is no reason to turn back the clock. There's a reason it is now obsolete.
  24. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    Watched a"This Old House" episode the other day and they had like a sock which is coated with resin and blown into old sewer pipe. I think they then fill with air and it essentially made a PVC pipe inside of old clay pipe. Don't know the cost but it was pretty cool.
  25. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    Yes,saw that same episode, it is to reline old pipes with out the need to dig it all up. But op is still going to have to go after the junction unit in the floor.

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