Problem with sewer cleanout - AKA The Devil Pipe! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 50 Old 04-19-2008, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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So I have have a problem I have been avoiding for a year or so.. I have a sewer cleanout pipe in the middle of my concrete floor that is raised over .5"+ and it is driving me nuts. I call it a sewer cleanout, but I also have a normal looking one that Y's off the main pipe coming down the basement wall, so I am not 100% sure what the correct term is for this POS pipe.

The cap is in there so tight, I cannot get it off, and as you can see the cross in the top makes it hard to get anything in there to turn it. I have spent hours scraping out hardened plumbers putty with a dental pick tool, but now all of it is gone, and it still will not budge!

I want some advice before I just start breaking concrete or trying to cut the lid out with a dremel because I imagine the stench that can result will probably give my wifes morning breath a run for her money...

Top View:



Side View:



The options I am thinking of so far are:
-Get a cross shaped key/tool made out of steel that will fit in there.

-Cut the top off and try to find a rubber sealed cap I can slide in, then tighten to push out the rubber seal (If this exists)

-Get a hammer and a punch and break out the concrete enough to cut the pipe and try to glue on another that is slightly below grade (caps always stick up higher).

-Double layer of padding during the carpet phase and trim around the cap?



Anything else I am missing?

I am such a NOOB at A/V..
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post #2 of 50 Old 04-19-2008, 09:32 PM
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Hrm....welp..looking at it, have you tried putting the curved end of a crow bar into it and tried turning it with that? I figure that the head would be wide enough to fit across one side of the "X" and give you some leverage.

Then, if it cracks the lid, then you still have your other choices :-)
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post #3 of 50 Old 04-19-2008, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, but I do not have a large large crowbar, I will try to borrow a neighbors this week. I even tried cutting a small notch and hitting the crowbar at an angle to try to spin it!

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post #4 of 50 Old 04-19-2008, 10:23 PM
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How new is your home? If new would or could be a "knock out" for a toilet. If an older home then it is more than likely not that. If it is a sewer access point and if it is the "low point" in your system messing with the cap could bring serious problems.

If you are just looking to even it up what about laying down 1/2" or 5/8" plywood over the floor to even it up.

This could be cheaper that busting up concrete, re-plumbing, and the potential mess.

I don't think two layers of carpet padding and then cutting around it would work very well. I think it would be pretty obvious that something was amiss in that location.

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post #5 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 01:16 AM
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My guess is this is not a sewer line. It would not make sense to run a sewer line under the basement concrete. The sewer line probably goes out the wall.
I could be wrong.

My guess is this is a cap over a drain line under your concrete to remove any water that gets under the concrete. It may have also been installed to allow another place to drain condensate from an air conditioner or dehumidifier. Do you have a sump in the basement where you could check to see if there is a second line draining into it in addition to the line coming from perimeter tile?

Check with some plumbing supply houses in the area. The 'X' on that cap is made for a specific tool that fits down inside to allow easy removal of the cap. That tool should be available for a few bucks. It is most likely steel and not too fancy.

If your house if fairly new and you can get in contact with the builder, he may have blueprints or can help identifying the purpose of this cap.

Do not cut this until you know what you have. If it has to stay, build up the floor with dry-core and make a small piece you can remove to cover it with. This is put there for a reason, don't remove it or damage it until you know what that reason is.

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post #6 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 05:41 AM
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Any chance it will end up under the riser or the front row of seating where it won't be a visual issue?

Another thought is to use recycled tire matting on the floor and gain sound isolation.

I expect you'll be able to rent that tool.
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post #7 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys - it is about 8 feet out from the screen wall almost in the middle of the room, the house was built in 1997 I believe. I honestly do not know what purpose it serves at all... I could put a crapper on it I guess, but the people sigging 5 ft behind me in the berklines might not enjoy it... but eff em, it is my room

Tedd I will look into the tire matting before I tear it up anymore.

RTRose, I might do plywood, but they it would have to be treated, would it not? Plus then I would have to plywood the room next to it and that screws me on the custom door install I did.

If I can get the lid off, I can see if I can take a saw and cut it down and re-screw in the cap or get a new cap for $4

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post #8 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 12:11 PM
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Staffy,

You would be correct. It should be treated plywood however I have seen some basements with the subfloor with just OSB. Treated is always the better option but yet it is more expensive but cheap insurance against moisture.

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post #9 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 12:32 PM
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I have the same situation, but luckily mine ended up in a spare bedroom. I was told mine was a cleanout. I went with the "just carpet it over with the pad cut out around it". It did leave a lump in the carpet that was not really visible unless you look for it. Don't think I would want to go that route in my theater, the little lump would bug me. Perhaps you could put a subfloor down that was wedge shaped - depending on where your door is, that might work.
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post #10 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 12:37 PM
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I second the idea of placing drycore over the basement floor. You can then cut out that shape in the drycore and make an access hatch. Not to sure how big that PVC cap is but I wonder if a round brass floor box plate would fit over that? If it does than you can treat it like it was a floor outlet.

I agree to not tamper with it until you can identify what it is. If you cover it without access to it that might haunt you sometime down the road when you might need to find it again.

My $0.02

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post #11 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driving_Hamster View Post

I second the idea of placing drycore over the basement floor. You can then cut out that shape in the drycore and make an access hatch. Not to sure how big that PVC cap is but I wonder if a round brass floor box plate would fit over that? If it does than you can treat it like it was a floor outlet.

I agree to not tamper with it until you can identify what it is. If you cover it without access to it that might haunt you sometime down the road when you might need to find it again.

My $0.02

I have something similar in my basement. Luckily, it's located in the back of a closet under the stairs. My builder told me that it's a backflow valve for the sewer. In my particular instance, the builder left about 3' of pipe sticking out of the concrete. I cut the pipe even with the floor and made a small cap for it out of wood. The valve has a cross shape on it similar to yours, but it's recessed below the floor about 2.5 inches. Since it's in the back of a closet, I'm going to have the carpet layers cut around it so that the plug will be the only thing that one can see.

I think the idea of installing drycore is a good one. That may just solve this issue.

I wonder why builders do these goofy things. In my house, the drain for the basement is located at the end of the stairs from the first level. About 1' from the landing and directly in the middle of the stair landing. I don't know how I'm going to treat that just yet... Guess they didn't figure that anyone would ever use the stairs?!!?

CJ

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post #12 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, I am just struggling with the drycore thing because it will raise the floor to a height I cannot use the door I ordered, plus I only have 7 ft ceilings... would it not be cheaper if I chipped out the concrete, then had a plumber come install a new one (under 100$).

That vs the expense of 1000 sq ft of crycore?

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post #13 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Staffy View Post

Thanks, I am just struggling with the drycore thing because it will raise the floor to a height I cannot use the door I ordered, plus I only have 7 ft ceilings... would it not be cheaper if I chipped out the concrete, then had a plumber come install a new one (under 100$).

That vs the expense of 1000 sq ft of crycore?

I'd recommend trying to open that darn thingie, but you've already asked that question.

You may find that the screw cap is hiding something similar to mine, thus you may be able to just chip away some concrete and cut off the screw cap thing. You'll be able to plan the next step better if you know what is underneath that cap.

CJ

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post #14 of 50 Old 04-20-2008, 09:55 PM
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The dri-core accomplishes a couple of additional things. The plastic bottom establishes a decent vapor barrior and it can actually help keep the room a little warmer.

Unless you are really limited on headroom you can always cut an inch off off the bottom of the door. Of course, I am assuming it is not a glass or metal door.

If you can figure out exactly what the purpose of the plug is you will know how to handle the situation.

Good luck.

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post #15 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 04:52 AM
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In my experience, roughouts don't normally have threaded ends on them. I'd say it does look like a waste cleanout to me.

You may want to rethink any suggestion to remove it because I believe that code is to have cleanouts easily available. For example, if they're in walls you have to have an access door infront of them.

Don't you love it when GC's don't bother thinking about how something will affect future homeowners and leave crap like this in the middle of your floor?
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post #16 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 05:42 AM
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If your house is based on the same floorplan as others in your neighborhood then consider asking one of those homeowners what this looks like in their basement. Or if they've had to use it for something (like as a cleanout).

If/when you get it open you'll be able to tell if it's possible to lower it's height. If it's got enough pipe underneath, it could be possible to put a new fixture on their and eliminate the hump entirely. Better that, honestly, than endlessly screwing around with raising the floor and the like. A bit of time with a jackhammer and a bag of concrete will be a lot less expensive in the long run.

Also consider if you can't get it open easily, can you get another one of those lids? If so, use a dremel to cut into that one and remove it (an X pattern or pie slices).
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post #17 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 04:56 PM
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all i know is someone really didn't want anyone else to open that cap. could be the gateway to hell. could be sewerage with 10ft of water pressure behind it.

ask neighbors! if it is the gateway to hell, they are probably all linked up in the 'hood so someone should know.
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post #18 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

could be sewerage with 10ft of water pressure behind it.

Completely unrealistic. Because if there was anything backing up to it you'd already know due to not being able to flush or use any sinks in the house. That and the filth coming out of all the drains in the house. Yes, it's possible for sewers to back up, no it won't be a problem with a clean out unless you're ALREADY having MAJOR plumbing problems. There's funnier **** to joke about. (pun intended).

My advice is to get this dealt with INSTEAD of screwing around with trying to raise the rest of the carpet around it. It's often nowhere near as expensive or that much hassle to even go so far as to completely move a drain pipe. Yes, it'd require concrete work but that's CHEAP material. Certainly a lot less than cobbling up some raised floor nonsense. After all, when you DO have plumbing or flooding problems what would prefer to have to replace? Just the carpet over a properly leveled cleanout, or entire sections of raised flooring? Keep it simple, do it right the first time and save yourself untold hassles later.
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post #19 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 05:23 PM
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post #20 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

.
Reason: ascii drawing doesnt work

That and it's nonsense to claim anyone's under the floor drain line is going to be LOWER than the street. Even if it IS low, then that's all the more reason to properly level the cleanout.
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post #21 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayhigh View Post

In my experience, roughouts don't normally have threaded ends on them. I'd say it does look like a waste cleanout to me.

You may want to rethink any suggestion to remove it because I believe that code is to have cleanouts easily available. For example, if they're in walls you have to have an access door infront of them.

Don't you love it when GC's don't bother thinking about how something will affect future homeowners and leave crap like this in the middle of your floor?

I just want it down 1/2 to 3/4" is all.. do not want to remove it, just don't want to trip over it

I am such a NOOB at A/V..
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post #22 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post

If your house is based on the same floorplan as others in your neighborhood then consider asking one of those homeowners what this looks like in their basement. Or if they've had to use it for something (like as a cleanout).

If/when you get it open you'll be able to tell if it's possible to lower it's height. If it's got enough pipe underneath, it could be possible to put a new fixture on their and eliminate the hump entirely. Better that, honestly, than endlessly screwing around with raising the floor and the like. A bit of time with a jackhammer and a bag of concrete will be a lot less expensive in the long run.

Also consider if you can't get it open easily, can you get another one of those lids? If so, use a dremel to cut into that one and remove it (an X pattern or pie slices).


That is the plan I am leaning towards, the caps are a whole 4$.

Thanks guys!

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post #23 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 08:05 PM
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Well,

It looks like to be a Floor drain for future fixtures when the house was built, hit the top and sides real good with a mallet and then wedge a large flat head into the + and tap it loose, it looks like some crete may have gotten into the threads. I personally would break up the surrounding floor and recap the pipe below your floor grade, it serves no purpose what so ever.

BTW, use a piece of 2x4 when you hammer the hell out of it to protect most of the pvc.
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post #24 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bull1962 View Post

Well,

It looks like to be a Floor drain for future fixtures when the house was built, hit the top and sides real good with a mallet and then wedge a large flat head into the + and tap it loose, it looks like some crete may have gotten into the threads. I personally would break up the surrounding floor and recap the pipe below your floor grade, it serves no purpose what so ever.

BTW, use a piece of 2x4 when you hammer the hell out of it to protect most of the pvc.

Definately was not concrete, it was a putty of some sort, but thanks so much for idea, I am going to go scrounging for a big screwdriver.

Thanks!

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post #25 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bull1962 View Post

Well,

It looks like to be a Floor drain for future fixtures when the house was built, hit the top and sides real good with a mallet and then wedge a large flat head into the + and tap it loose, it looks like some crete may have gotten into the threads. I personally would break up the surrounding floor and recap the pipe below your floor grade, it serves no purpose what so ever.

BTW, use a piece of 2x4 when you hammer the hell out of it to protect most of the pvc.






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post #26 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 08:49 PM
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Can't wait.....I have been loosing sleep! As evident I'm posting here at 2349 hrs.

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post #27 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 09:08 PM
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Staffy! Staffy? Are you asleep or did the sewer gas get you?

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post #28 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BShaw@BedHandles View Post

Staffy! Staffy? Are you asleep or did the sewer gas get you?

I hope this is not the case.....I want to know what that stupid thing is!!!

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post #29 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Update: I was unable to sleep and was sitting here trying to figure out what to do with this mystery pipe that was sticking up in the middle of my floor with a screw cap:


I posted an additional thread to get specific advice (http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1021255), and based on encouragement from Bull1962, carboranadum, wkearney99, and others... I figured WTH and got a bigger hammer!

As soon as I hit a 2x4 against the side of the cap, the outside ring shattered and this is what it looked like:


Next I got the biggest Snapon screwdriver I had and a gasket scraper (the 2 seated perfectly in the X and held eachother in place) and torqued on it until the cap unscrewed!


I was not prepared for what happened next...




























JUST KIDDING!!! actually the cap twisted off and this is what resulted:


I can definately say it is a cleanout now and I definately see a Y down at the bottom. I experimented and ran the water throughout the house and it appears to be the pipe coming from the laundry room by the garage.


After inspecting the cap and pipe further, I noticed that the threaded peice was very thin and just glued to the inside diameter of the sewer pipe!!!


I put it all back together for the night and I now plan on grinding down the concrete level and buying a new cap setup tomorrow and glue this mother in!

DOWN GOES THE MYSTERIOUS PIPE FROM HELL!!!!!!!!!!!
YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA


Last update for the evening: I in fact thought I smelled something bad a few minutes ago... it took me a second or two, but I then realized I kicked off my grubby work sneakers underneath the table to update this thread

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post #30 of 50 Old 04-21-2008, 09:22 PM
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Great! Mystery solved........I can sleep now

Actually staffy I'm glad you have it figured out. It looks as though we have one thing in common.....When you have something that is bugging you, you obsess over it until you get it figured out.....or have a psychotic episode which ever comes first!

Regards,

RTOSE

I'm keeping tabs on you in your build thread.....Keep it up!

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