We see this situation many times a day in our industry and in Three Bridges, NJ. A licensed plumber from either ours or another company had been out to a property previously to snake out a sewer drain and now, only a few months later, the drain is backed up again and the owner is extremely unhappy. We are constantly trying to eliminate this problem by making the correct recommendations for the Three Bridges customer. It happens because we can’t know exactly what is going on in the sewer line until we see it and that costs money.
In most drain clog cases, a simple snake is all that is needed. At some point, either in a bathroom or kitchen branch line to the main sewer line or the sewer line itself, something got stuck or sediment built up in a specific place to cause a backup. Cabling the line sends a metal cable, usually with a three inch blade on it, down into the line sometimes up to 100 feet. The cable is constantly turning so when it reaches a clog, it can break it up and clear the line often times as good as it was before the problem started.
Complications arise when the original clog was the result of a more dramatic problem in the sewer line and that may require sewer line repair. A belly can occur as the line is going out to the sewer underground where the line dips. This could be caused by tree roots pushing it down or a void in the soil that eventually shifts the sewer drain. Older sewer lines could just wear out and form leaks or there could be an actual root intrusion breaking into the drain. If any these situations exist, a cable will clear the sewer but it will just be a matter of time before the line clogs again since the problem wasn’t fixed.
The only way to know for sure if there is a problem needing repair in a sewer line is to do a camera inspection to see bellies or instances of root intrusion. It is not feasible to perform a camera inspection on every Three Bridges job we do because the problem can usually be solved with a cable and the camera inspection would just create unnecessary costs for the customer. If we are going out to clear a drain in the same place as before on a property, then it becomes prudent to do a camera inspection to find out if the drain is simply clogged or needs repair.
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