Clippings by barrychan

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great way to clean out old clogged sewer pipes

posted by: harveymasons on 07.07.2007 at 12:26 pm in Plumbing Forum

As an avid reader/poster for years on this forum I'd like to give back to it by posting a great way I came up with to clean out clogged or backup up sewer lines, this application can also be used on smaller 2 or 3 inch lines as well. There has been a wealth of info on these forums and I hope I can contribute to it w/ the following post...

As a landlord/home owner sometimes you get to spend your Saturday doing fun things like jetting out your sewer line!! It seems I have a slight belly in my lateral (pipe running from my house out to my city sewer line) @ about 23 feet in. Unfortunately the only way to remedy this is to replace the line at a cost upwards of 10k. I don't plan on living here long enough to warrant that kind of investment right now so every couple of months I jet out my main sewer line to make sure it stays clear and free of clogs.Preventative maintenance goes along way! If you own a pressure washer you can do this relatively easily.Otherwise to have the pros come in and do it it will cost you anywhere from 800-1200 bucks for the same job! All you need is a decent pressure washer capable of at least 2500 psi and around 3 gpm.(the more the merrier) That is the biggest expense. If you own this already you are golden. All you need to do is buy a special jetter nozzle for around 30 bucks, 50 or 100 feet of sewer jetting hose depending on length needed, and lastly a ball valve to start and stop the flow of water because you won't be using the wand in this application. Just make sure the ball valve can handle high pressure! With these parts you have conveniently turned your ordinary pressure washer into a lean mean sewer jetting machine for a fraction of the price of buying one!!
This job is definitely a 2 man job as my pressure washer stays outside and I run the hose in my basement into my main sewer line. The ball valve is near the pressure washer so it is smart to have someone near the machine to turn it on once everything is ok and you have control of the jetter hose in the sewer line.I generally start the pressure washer then run to my sewer line and give a signal to my helper (usually my wonderful wife - she is a goodf sport) to turn on the water flow. Once this is turned on you will feel a tremendous amount of pressure in the hose and if everything is set up correctly you will feel the hose take off into the sewer line with a fury not to be reckoned with!! You just need to hold it lightly and maintain control of it.This is all due to the special nozzle I mentioned earlier that is on the end of the hose. This sewer jetting nozzle sprays various streams of water backwards and forwards at various angles. The backward jets serve two purposes: 1 to clean and scrub the walls of your sewer line(after 50 years of poo and sewage believe me those walls really can use a good cleaning, and 2 to propel it forward at a high velocity. The forward jets just break away and blockages that may be obstructing the pipe itself. Similar to what a snake will do but but at a much higher and efficient level. The beauty (if there is any lol) of sewer jetting are the backward jets the really scrub the pipe walls and move the hose deep into the pipe to clean where no cleaner or snake has gone before!! With my 100 foot hose I have actually gone in so far that I Was actually jetting out my city main line!! My run from my clean out to my city main is ~ 48 feet and when I measured how far I was in I Was in over 60 ft OOPS!!! Maybe I should send them a bill!!
After jetting your sewer line you can bring it pretty close to like new condition as far as flow and diameter. I have seen pipes with a 3 inch diameter only flowing @ about 20% due to 80% blockage especially those galvanized steel lines, those are the worst! My main sewer line is cast iron which is probably what you want if you are jetting and will last the longest. A word of caution, if you happen to have orangeburg piping which is basically clay pipe used in older houses built before 1920 DO NOT SEWER JET your line, you run the high risk of damaging and or breaking your pipe.
Now that I taught you how to sewer jet I want to also say that I am not in any way shape or form a pro at this. I am just a landlord who figured out a great way to keep my pipe clean and free of clogs. Saftey is of the utmost importance here and the use of these machines can cause very serious injury and or death if one is not careful remember...... SAFTEY FIRST!!! Happy sewer jetting!!!


clipped on: 01.04.2010 at 11:04 am    last updated on: 01.04.2010 at 11:05 am

Chimney condensation

posted by: barrychan on 01.04.2010 at 11:01 am in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum


I bought this new construction in 2007 at new york city and have been battling with lots of leaks since we moved in. Luckily most of the leaks are resolved by the builder who built it and those that can't be resolved are resolved with the awning solution (that solved my patio leak).

Just when I thought all the leaks have been resolved; my chimney started to leak around the flue pipe area in the basement. I have two water heaters and 1 furnace connected to the chimney. It is leaking around the where the flue pipe connects to the chimney. Pictures located at

It doesn't leak in the spring,summer,fall and would leak throughout the winter. It started leaking when there is no precipitation on the outside and as the temperature gets colder outdoors, the leak starts getting worse and will continue until the March time frame. Do you guys have any idea of what can be done to fix this?? The contractor caulked and check the flashing around the roof and added more weep holes in the chimney but that still did not resolve the problem and has been leaking for 3 winters. I am suspecting that newer efficient appliances makes it worse and I have a pretty tall chimney around 40 feet. Thanks for your help.


clipped on: 01.04.2010 at 11:04 am    last updated on: 01.04.2010 at 11:04 am

RE: Inspection items (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: pew1 on 12.20.2006 at 04:38 pm in Home Repair Forum

Sounds like a house to run from.

Placement of heat / cooling vents can make a home comfortable or very uncomfortable. Single vent for a structure will not provide sufficient ventilation. Ungrounded outlets, no excuse!

How many items are unseen for each one found?

"not a handy person" RUN!


clipped on: 08.05.2008 at 02:34 pm    last updated on: 08.05.2008 at 02:34 pm

RE: Roof Leak (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: barrychan on 11.10.2006 at 08:13 am in Home Repair Forum

Thank you guys for your inputs. The reason why we decided to add another layer is because in other areas of the roof, shingles have been blown off and missing. maybe i'll have the roofer repair the areas where shingles have been blown off since the other areas look fine. thanks again.


clipped on: 08.05.2008 at 02:33 pm    last updated on: 08.05.2008 at 02:33 pm

Cost of concreting

posted by: barrychan on 06.05.2008 at 06:29 pm in Smaller Homes Forum

Hello guys,

I live in New York City and would like to concrete a portion of the back yard so we have a neat area for outdoor bbqing. Just curious, what is the current rate for concreting?

I just want to concrete the lawn area in the back. Would the price include digging and removing the soil, plus cost of labor and material. Thanks!


clipped on: 08.05.2008 at 02:32 pm    last updated on: 08.05.2008 at 02:32 pm

Oil smell from soil

posted by: barrychan on 05.13.2008 at 04:50 pm in Professional Gardener Forum

Hello everyone,

I bought a pear tree yesterday and in the middle of digging a hole for it (got to around 2 feet deep), I discovered some black stuff on the soil. I do not know if this is oil but it smells bad. I have natural gas at home and it is a new construction so I am not too sure what was there before.

My question is if that is indeed oil leaked from a rusted oil tank, what do I need to do? Can I just dig deep enough until all the black stuff disappears and then I can plant the tree? Any feedback will be appreciated. Thanks!


clipped on: 08.05.2008 at 02:32 pm    last updated on: 08.05.2008 at 02:32 pm

RE: What to do about clay (Follow-Up #25)

posted by: barrychan on 08.05.2008 at 10:49 am in Lawn Care Forum

Hello guys,

I have a similar problem like skizot but I am not too sure if what I have is clay. I grabbed some soil from the ground and hold but it is does not clump together but when I wet it, it forms clumps and holds together. Whenever it rains, there are puddles that do not drain until an hour after the rain ends. I live in a new construction in new york city and whenever I tried planting something I dig into rocks and sometimes huge boulders (pieces of the old foundation, sheet rocks, copper pipes). It seems like my front and back yard has only two inches of topsoil and the rest is maybe clay.

I've been attempting to start a new lawn but do not know if I am doing the right thing. can someone tell me if the approach below is correct or not? Two photos below shows what my lawn currently looks like. one is the front yard and the other one is the backyard. My lawn area is small so maybe about 500 sq ft in total.

1. Remove the top 6 inches of soil which includes top soil and hard soil underneath.
2. Rent a tiller to loosen the compacted soil underneath.
3. Get a truck of topsoil delivered and till in into the lossen soil.
4. Add 2 inches of compost and rototill?? Not sure about this and do I need anything else.
5. Grade it away from the house.
6. Spread the seed, fertilizer, lime.

The other two photos shows a cherry bloosom on the sidewalk that is not doing too well. Does anyone have suggestions to heal the wound on this tree. The bark is coming off on the northwest facing side of the tree. Thank you for the attention!!! Any suggestion is appreciated.


clipped on: 08.05.2008 at 11:05 am    last updated on: 08.05.2008 at 11:06 am