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  • Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

    This is my first time posting here so I apologize in advance for my untechnical nature and language.

    Long story short, I own 2 houses that consistently have the sewer lines back up due to roots every 18 months or so. I got tired of paying Roto Rooter $400 dollars each time to clear the sewer line, so what I did yesterday was go out to Home Depot and picked up a rigid k400 electric snake. So last night I pop open my sewer trap located in the garage and attempt to start using the thing, 3 hours later (after I read the instructions and watched the DVD) I unclogged my sewer line and pulled out a ton of roots.After doing some research today online, I realized that I was very lucky not to get my snake coiled up or trapped in the sewer line.

    So my question is, how far is too far with an electric snake? Last night when I was retracting the line it got stuck and I really had to use some elbow grease to get it loose, does this mean that my snake was coiled up in the city sewer system? How do you know that the snake head has hit the city sewer? Also do I have the right machine to clear out roots, I only now realized that there are various types of electric snakes out there? I got tired last night and gave up after the line was unclogged but I know that there are roots still left in there so I want to make sure that when I go back to really clear the lines this weekend I am somewhat capable of doing it. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

    Sounds like a Job for a proffesional !

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

      i'm not familiar with a K-400. if you meant the K-40, well that's a sink machine and not for roots at all. what size cable are you using and how much did you have out? sometimes it takes a lot of elbow grease to retrieve a cable full of roots.

      steve
      In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

        the distance is not as much of an issue as the cable size, and type of construction the cable has, and what it is designed for,

        there are small units that are basically an electric drill with an attachment on them to hold the cable, under 3/8" in diameters, for under 2" lines,

        then you basically have a mid size that uses a 3/8" to 1/2" cable, that is what the K400 is, it is designed for soft stoppages, TP, grease etc. (it is designed for use in side the house out to the lateral to the main) Good for under 3" lines in soft stoppages,

        the K750 or K7500, or the sectional K60 is the Ridgid manufactured machine most on this board would use in your situation.


        the smaller cables can make turns because there softer, and lighter, when you get into the mains 3 and up, you need a cable that is stiff and can not hardly flip on it self in a 3" to 6" line, that is normally a 5/8 and up cable preferably a 3/4" cable,
        (yes they make machines that will do big sewer mains, but that is not the discussion)

        for roots you want the larger machine, with the larger cable,
        you need a machine that has the power to rip the roots out and a cutter that will cut them as well,

        why you got stuck I do not know, but more than likely you got tangled in roots that were not cut loose and you did not have the strength to break them thus a stuck cable,

        as far as knowing if your in the city main one if you have an approximate Idea of where the city main is one can step it off and get an approx distance, and and if the cable is marked in 10 foot increments (paint), one can have an idea of where one is and how much cable is out, (when using a drum machine), and many times you can feel when you go into a different pipe, (If I am remembering right the K400 holds 75 foot of 1/2" of 100 foot of 3/8"), and if you got the roots out with the 3/8" cable you were one lucky person as the 3/8" can flip inside the drain fairly easily on a 4" pipe), also the K 400 does not come with a leader in the drum and the cables the same, only come with one end on them so you can not join two cables together,
        If that machine has the 3/8 cable on it I would not (even with the 1/2 cable) I would not put it back down the line, with roots in it,

        simply stated the machine you rented is not what you need for your blockage,

        Now there is a danger with running a machine, people have lost fingers and life operating a drain clearing machine, there is a fairly new thread on that subject on the board here.

        the cable can flip and twist around one or there hand if the cable hits and stops and even if you let up on the foot control the drum inertia is enough to do a great deal of damage, to one.

        but you need a larger machine and preferable a spiral cutting saw type head,

        you may consider if your wanting to Band aid the sewer along find a reputable person who will work out a maintenance agreement with you for a twice a year clearing,
        what you really need is to have the sewer line most likely replaced,

        have you had a reputable person camera the drain, to see it real condition, (I am not suggesting a Franchise operator), you may be just money ahead to bite the bullet and have a quality new line put in and save your self the money on the band aid approach and the problems that come when the thing plugs,
        Last edited by BHD; 11-05-2009, 05:58 PM.
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        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

          Did you think about replacing these lines? Cheaper in the long-run, and alot less hassle

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

            Originally posted by Roamer View Post
            This is my first time posting here so I apologize in advance for my untechnical nature and language.

            Long story short, I own 2 houses that consistently have the sewer lines back up due to roots every 18 months or so. I got tired of paying Roto Rooter $400 dollars each time to clear the sewer line, so what I did yesterday was go out to Home Depot and picked up a rigid k400 electric snake. So last night I pop open my sewer trap located in the garage and attempt to start using the thing, 3 hours later (after I read the instructions and watched the DVD) I unclogged my sewer line and pulled out a ton of roots.After doing some research today online, I realized that I was very lucky not to get my snake coiled up or trapped in the sewer line. Yes you were lucky.

            So my question is, how far is too far with an electric snake? Hard to say, that really only comes from experience. School of hard knocks if you will. Last night when I was retracting the line it got stuck and I really had to use some elbow grease to get it loose, does this mean that my snake was coiled up in the city sewer system?There is rarely a way of knowing this without a camera How do you know that the snake head has hit the city sewer? A camera with a locator is about the only for sure way to know. Also do I have the right machine to clear out roots, I only now realized that there are various types of electric snakes out there? I personally would not use that machine to clear a 4" line with roots I got tired last night and gave up after the line was unclogged but I know that there are roots still left in there so I want to make sure that when I go back to really clear the lines this weekend I am somewhat capable of doing it. Thanks in advance.
            Please send me 65.00. Thanks
            Last edited by Tyman; 11-05-2009, 06:24 PM.
            Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

              Probably with the k-400 you have poked a hole in the stoppage and you will probably not get the 18 months till it occurs again that you did when roto rooter used a bigger snake and also a bigger cutter head. If you want to do this job yourself rent a bigger snake and keep yours for the smaller lines. Also read thru this section of the forum for more ideas like using rootx after a good rooting.
              Seattle Drain Service

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

                i would continue to use this machine. breid..........

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

                  I have a older K-375, same machine. You should not use this in a 4" line out doors.
                  I have a general Maxi rooter that has the poop to beat up roots. Why not look for a used larger machine on E Bay. Good idea to pay an experienced drain Guy to mentor You for Your
                  Ist cleaning. Big Machines can cripple You!
                  I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

                    You are lucky not to have got the cable stuck in the line, luckier not to have hurt yourself.

                    BHD gives plentiful and accurate advice... but really there are just too many possible things to go wrong to anticipate them all and tell you what to do in each instance.

                    The half inch cable could be used for this if the run were under 60' or so. but really it's undersized, and it would take care, skill, and experience (or a great deal of luck) to do a good job with it in this size line on roots without hurting yourself or the equipment.

                    A 3/8" is just not appropriate. It would fold up easily under the torque needed for roots in a 3 or 4" line.

                    A 3/4" machine is a huge step up in weight, power, danger, and required experience. Things can go very badly wrong pretty quickly with a machine that size, and the danger levels are much higher with the power and weight of the machine and cable. The warning signs are more subtle with a stiffer cable, and an inexperienced operator can easily miss them.

                    Jetting is another option for removing roots, and in my experience does a better job (at least on the types of roots I see around here).

                    There is a good product, Rootx, a foaming herbicide, which applied annually after a thorough job of removing roots does a good job of preventing them from returning.

                    I really think this is a job for a pro. Just maybe not the pro's you've been using. It's not too dificult to open a root choked line. It's a different matter to do a thorough job that will last. You need someone with a camera to verify that they've done a good job and that the problem is simply roots at the joints of an otherwise sound line.

                    If you really want to do this yourself, please understand the risks you are running, and ask yourself if they are worth it. An experieced operator was killed using similar equipment not long ago. It's very easy to break a finger, or to lose one. A 3/4" machine can break your arm.
                    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

                      roamer, seeing your an attorney, are you being 100% honest with us or just trying to build a case for a client who chose to use the wrong machine for this application and are fishing for ideas on who to sue

                      i'm usually the first to lend a helping hand, but in this case i feel you're smart enough to have read the box, directions, and video. you already know you bought the wrong machine for the task at hand.

                      now for the disclaimer. use the machine at your own risk. you've been warned.

                      guys, i think we're being set up

                      rick.
                      phoebe it is

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

                        thanks for asking the professionals bout solutions to your problem. I hope this info helps, and the advice is reciprocated when we plumbers have to deal with the likes of people that have no respect for our profession and will opt to negotiate terms of payment after services are rendered.

                        If this advice helps, could you help us plumbers with the legalese that will assist in collection upon completion of service rendered?

                        Please let us know if our collective advice helps to solve your problems.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

                          Rick, he's just a struggling joe like the rest of us

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

                            Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                            roamer, seeing your an attorney, are you being 100% honest with us or just trying to build a case for a client who chose to use the wrong machine for this application and are fishing for ideas on who to sue

                            i'm usually the first to lend a helping hand, but in this case i feel you're smart enough to have read the box, directions, and video. you already know you bought the wrong machine for the task at hand.

                            now for the disclaimer. use the machine at your own risk. you've been warned.

                            guys, i think we're being set up

                            rick.
                            now will we get free advice from an attorney when we need some
                            Last edited by HVAC HAWK; 11-08-2009, 08:03 PM.
                            Charlie

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                            • #15
                              Re: Non-Plumber Needs Help with Electric Snake

                              Originally posted by HVAC HAWK View Post
                              no will we get free advice from an attorney when we need some
                              charlie, i'm no attorney

                              butt i'm sure i can get you off

                              do i need to post photos

                              rick
                              phoebe it is

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