LESLIE: Richard in New Jersey, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
RICHARD: Yeah, I had a root problem in my cellar, which the plumber came and took care of. And he recommended I get this Breakthrough and I got it in our local plumbing supply store and the first time I ever used it – and it’s a root killer – and I poured it, per instructions, down the toilet in the cellar and the first dose was only about a – maybe a cup full. Then the second one, I through it down there; flushed the toilet plus extra water. Ever since then I’m getting this odor coming through my toilet downstairs and my sink downstairs.
RICHARD: I even had the fire department here and …
RICHARD: … it was really bad …
TOM: Did it smell like a sewage odor?
RICHARD: No, more like the acid. It was the second dose. It was only about a coffee cup full and I flushed it, threw extra water down there and …
TOM: How old is your house?
RICHARD: Built about 1955.
TOM: So what do you have? Cast-iron waste pipes?
RICHARD: I believe so, yes.
TOM: Yeah. You know what? It might be a good idea to do a drain inspection, Richard. A drain inspection is done with a camera. It’s something like a drain service company can do for you. It’s not terribly expensive.
LESLIE: And it’s not invasive at all.
TOM: Yeah, it’s not invasive.
TOM: And basically the camera is run down the line. You must have something that’s obstructing your sewage lines that’s causing this gaseous backup. Something has gotten stuck in there and it may not be roots. It could be something else.
RICHARD: Yeah, one plumber came and he took the toilet downstairs off; resealed it and everything, which was good, and he said, “Maybe you need a smoke bomb down in the …” – it comes out of your vent out of your roof.”
TOM: I wouldn’t – that sounds kind of explosive to me. I think a camera is a lot safer way to go, Richard.
RICHARD: Camera? Yeah, OK.
TOM: Yeah, because a guy that knows what he’s doing can look through those lines and find out if they’re broken, they’re cracked, they’re clogged or obstructed and he’ll know exactly what to do. You won’t be speculating and guessing and trying this and trying that only to have the smell come back.
TOM: So we have the technology. I’d recommend you get a camera line inspection of those lines. You’ll know exactly what it is and then you can figure out exactly what to do about it.
Richard, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.