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Main Cleaning 101

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  • Main Cleaning 101

    This is how I approach a main drain stoppage at a house I have never been to and don't know the line.
    1. I ask questions, have you had trouble before? When? Who cleaned it? What did they say last time?

    2. I run a arrow head out first for several reasons. To prove the line can be snaked to the sewer. And to note resistant points along the way. Also to see what comes back on the tip, roots,grease etc. If this succeeds It usually gets all the poop and toilet paper and stench gone.

    3. I have kept track of when the cable has thrashed around from bad bends or obstructions to know when my next choice of bit will run into trouble.

    4. Choose the next head root cutter for roots,4 blade for grease and even a mix of blades for really bad lines.

    5. I run out my 2nd selection very carefully at the lengths I ran into trouble before, when I get to those spots I go back and forth several times to clear it, then continue out, I am always stopping and coming back to prove I can still come back and not get stuck. If I cleared the line the first time I am now running water to flush the line at the same time and it shows me if I reclog the pipe while snaking.

    Those are my basic steps based on lines that go to a sewer. Learning the feel of the cable tells the story, I paint my heads with black engine paint to see the wear marks on them to further help me understand whats going on in the line.
    Seattle Drain Service

  • #2
    Re: Main Cleaning 101

    All excellent info Cuda

    It's almost like you've done this before

    The only thing I would add is after you have retrieved the cable and are ready to pack up, flush a few loads of toilet paper and dump the washing machine.

    I can't tell you how many lines that I thought were clear then back up again as I'm loading the truck.

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    • #3
      Re: Main Cleaning 101

      cuda, very good info

      i go about it identical to you, except, i don't start off with the arrow head.
      i start with my root saw or sharktooth cutter.

      just like you, i ask questions. same as anybody would expect from their doctor. i document my findings from my cleanings and make a sewer report for invoicing. thi way on return visits, i already have a head start of the line. roots will grow back traditionally on a semi annual basis, spring and fall.

      remember 95% of the line is spotless. properly cleaning the 5% that is dirty is the key to a good day fishing

      document the where you found the fish, for the next time they call.

      of course, once you use a fish finder/ seesnake, you'll know where all the hot spots are and come home with the catch of the day.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

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      • #4
        Re: Main Cleaning 101

        I agree with Cuda's method. I always start with the spear-head and follow the same steps he decribed.

        Also the first thing I do is ask questions to the homeowner (age of home, any history of backups, etc.) Then I figure out the best place to clean the line from, often there is no outside cleanout on older homes and so alternatives have to be discovered.
        Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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        • #5
          Re: Main Cleaning 101

          Another reason I paint the tips is if they come out with zero paint I know they just got washed in Draino or acid.
          Seattle Drain Service

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          • #6
            Re: Main Cleaning 101

            Cuda, what do you carry on your truck for most mainlines? Drum or sectional. I currently carry the K-60, but I was considering the k-7500 as my go-to machine, as the setup/breakdown time would be much faster.
            Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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            • #7
              Re: Main Cleaning 101

              I always have the k-60 with me to hit jobs, but I keep the Drum with the jetter in the trailer , just matters what my schedule is on what I bring.
              Seattle Drain Service

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              • #8
                Re: Main Cleaning 101

                99% of the time I start with a worn 3" spiral root saw just to get a feel for whats going on, because I use my trusty Edith (drill).

                I do consider what "the other guy did"
                I also consider all information the HO provides.

                BUT, I do not consider these answers as FACT.
                I do respect their offer of help but, who knows what lies they were told in the past. It's my job to figure out whats actually going on.
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                • #9
                  Re: Main Cleaning 101

                  Originally posted by Gene Bickford View Post
                  It's my job to figure out whats actually going on.
                  Bingo!
                  This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Main Cleaning 101

                    From a guy just starting out, that is great advise.

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