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I have a 4" cast iron sewer pipe in a concrete floor basement dating to 1910.

I can't figure out how it is configured. Here is what is visible:

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The connection to the house drains is cast iron pipe about 5' long that slopes down into the concrete of the basement. It connects up to a vertical cleanout which might be part of a U or P-shaped trap, but if so it is buried in concrete below and not visible. Then nearby in the well is sloping cleanout. I cannot figure out how these might be connected because they are are at different angles.

The cast iron is 100 years old and probably should be replaced with new pipe, but I am not sure how to configure the new pipe. Should I just start jack hammering the concrete away to expose all the existing pipe so I can see where it goes?

  • Check out this YouTube video. It shows how to use a fish tape and a rented locator, to find the pipe. – Tester101 Dec 19 '17 at 17:57
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Before resorting to demo you might hire a plumber to use a drain camera to scope upstream and downstream of the vertical cleanout, it might cost $60 - $100 but would be money well spent if it saves you some jack hammering and digging.

There are some pretty effective and long lasting methods of rehabilitating old sewer pipe by "shooting" a new internal pipe lining, the liners will even bridge cracks and small breaks. It involves high-pressure hydroblasting to clean the I.D., and opening up the line for access, but maybe that could be done from the exposed portion above the floor and 16" deep well. It may be a good alternative to extensive concrete demo and excavation.

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I suspect that you and an electric jack hammer are going to become well acquainted in the next couple of weeks. However as Jimmy says above, I would pay an experienced plumber to come down and look at your basement first. His input would be well worth the price of a service call.

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