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How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

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  • How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

    Is there any real way of telling that you cleared the blockage 100% without using a camera? (Well, 99% because I'm sure there is some dirty water spots or some light crud on the pipes if it's galvanized).

    If some lawyer had you on the stand and said, "Mr. Sewer Guy, is there any proof that you cleared Mrs. Johnson's drain 100%?

    I'm curious because I have a callback. Some guy put cat litter down his toilet about three weeks ago and I told him don't do it again. I had to pull the toilet on the main floor because all the toilets were working fine downstairs. This is also the toilet that sits right next to his cat's litter box. This is PVC piping also so the pipes are more than likely in good condition.

    So I put on a spade bit to power through (wish I had my 2 1/4" Spiral cutter that day) and noticed that after 10', the water in the top half of the pipe went down (it was a flange 90 degree elbow), then after going through some more, the bottom half of the pipe was clear of water. It just flushed down. I flushed toilets and ran water for a good 1/2 hour and things were good.

    So now it's been about three weeks and he calls me back saying its clogged solid. This bathroom is the master bathroom so I'd assume they use it quite often.

    By the way, this house is nice on the outside and REALLY messy on the inside. So, I could almost assume that they got lazy and just wanted to dump more cat litter down the toilet, but how can I be sure without a camera?

    Anyways, thanks for reading this. Just wanted your thoughts on everything.
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  • #2
    Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

    Tell him you want to see where he's putting the litter. Clumping litter accumulates every single day. Look for signs of litter in the toilet.

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    • #3
      Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

      on something like baby wipes and in this case, cat litter. i would write on the bill that if it plugs up within 30 days. i'll come back and continue snaking for my hourly rate. no service call charge or machine charge.

      basically a continuation of the original job time. the customer should understand and appreciate the jester.

      with cat litter/ coffee grinds, there is no way to tell if you washed it all the way out and clean. unless you charge for a camera to verify.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

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      • #4
        Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

        I agree with rick. Also, to answer your question....first, get a camera if you are going to clean drains. Second, I NEVER guarantee sewer-cleaning UNLESS I video-inspect it and it checks out. Most people are willing to pay a little bit extra (I don't charge much for the camera) to get the guarantee, or at least know for sure what the drain looks like, etc.
        Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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        • #5
          Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

          Without a camera you can only go by your gut feeling And years of doing it.
          But when you return for the call back you get to be Drain Detective! Trying to bring back whatever evidence you can the second you get the drain to flow, then making note of how far out the clog was to defend your prior job.
          Roto Rooter by me says "Oh yes we where just there the other day but you didn't order the camera inspection to have a warranty so it is a complete new charge!"
          Seattle Drain Service

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          • #6
            Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

            You would never know unless you did a camera, and had a video.

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            • #7
              Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

              With just a cable you are not clearing a drain 100% you are clearing a stoppage. You should test the drain to make sure it flows and recommend additional work needed if it backs up again.

              Mark
              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

                I don't understand.
                If the line is video'd for warranty the only way it would clog would be misuse or faulty waste system thereby justifying a second charge for a call back within the warranty period?
                Is the warranty for piece of mind for both plumber and customer?

                I humbly ask only because I see this happening to me in the future.
                And I'm afraid I'll be tempted to start a line of bull which a customer will pick up on cause I'm no good at it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

                  "IF" you ran a 3" cutter down a 4" line you did all you can do. If it plugs right away they are doing something wrong. The roots left by a 3" cutter will not clog a sewer in just a few days time or months for the matter.
                  When I get call backs I run my retriever and show em what comes out along with the new bill.
                  http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

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                  • #10
                    Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

                    People can load up a line in one day.


                    Perfect example: church or bar.
                    Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                    • #11
                      Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

                      Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                      I don't understand.
                      If the line is video'd for warranty the only way it would clog would be misuse or faulty waste system thereby justifying a second charge for a call back within the warranty period?
                      Is the warranty for piece of mind for both plumber and customer?

                      I humbly ask only because I see this happening to me in the future.
                      And I'm afraid I'll be tempted to start a line of bull which a customer will pick up on cause I'm no good at it.
                      You got it. If you clean the drain correctly, and video it to see it is clear and no problems, then you know it won't back up for a long time unless its abused. Both you and the customer have peace of mind. Now, if it DOES back up, its because of abuse, so your a$$ is covered.
                      On the other hand, if you video the line and it is bad, you get a repair or replacement on the spot 9 times out of 10. NOW you get it. Its business 101.
                      Last edited by Service Guy; 10-31-2008, 10:45 PM.
                      Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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                      • #12
                        Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

                        i put on my invoice no warranty without video inspection, and we are not responsible for humnan error such as yada yada yada. my camera is a money maker more than a tool.
                        Mike
                        Clark County Plumbing And Drain
                        www.plumbinginclarkcounty.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

                          Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                          You got it. If you clean the drain correctly, and video it to see it is clear and no problems, then you know it won't back up for a long time unless its abused. Both you and the customer have peace of mind. Now, if it DOES back up, its because of abuse, so your a$$ is covered.
                          On the other hand, if you video the line and it is bad, you get a repair or replacement on the spot 9 times out of 10. NOW you get it. Its business 101.
                          Thanks Carl,haycad.
                          Loud and clear over here.
                          Last edited by drtyhands; 11-02-2008, 09:11 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

                            Our invoices were printed with "NO GUARANTEE ON DRAIN CLEANINGS". If it was within a reasonable time we would go back for free unless it was roots. We had very few free go backs on drain cleaning because we were
                            thorough in cleaning and we documented what we found and what addition work was needed.

                            Mark
                            Last edited by ToUtahNow; 10-31-2008, 11:55 PM. Reason: Joey is mean
                            "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                            I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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                            • #15
                              Re: How do you KNOW you cleared a drain?

                              When I get to the job I get the home owner to fill up the bath and after I think that I have got the blockage, before I pack up I get the home owner to let the bath go and listen through the clear out as to the noise it makes.
                              You can usually here if it sounds okay or if it makes a gurgling sound it would still be blocked.

                              I actually does two things, firstly to wash the roots away ( baths here hold about 400 litres) and secondly so that you can here if the drain sounds okay.

                              Simon

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