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Unread 10-18-2007, 12:17 PM
 
1 posts, read 20,212 times
Reputation: 10
Question how to snake a main line

What is the best way to snake a main line? Do I need to climb onto the roof and do it from there? There is access behind the kitchen (outside) and I tried that but could only get the snake so far before it stopped. I think the line may be full of sediment and not sure if I should just call the plumber...

Thanks for any input.
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Unread 10-18-2007, 12:43 PM
 
Location: west coast
1,254 posts, read 1,593,939 times
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With no main line clean out, you can pull the toilet and snake from there. A main line requires a 3/4 inch cable and you might need 100 feet or more. Tree roots are a frequent culprit which may show up on the cutting end of the snake when you pull it out of the line and can be difficult to ream out, plus they grow back. If you find mud on the snake, the sewer line may be rotted out or broken.
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Unread 02-20-2011, 03:29 PM
 
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clean water on the cellar floor
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Unread 02-20-2011, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,537 posts, read 7,747,991 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lws1969 View Post
What is the best way to snake a main line? Do I need to climb onto the roof and do it from there? There is access behind the kitchen (outside) and I tried that but could only get the snake so far before it stopped. I think the line may be full of sediment and not sure if I should just call the plumber...

Thanks for any input.
Best way, dial the phone to : P-L-U-M-B-E-R
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Unread 02-21-2011, 11:30 AM
 
140 posts, read 125,454 times
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Snaking a main line is something the average home owner can not do themselves even with rented equipment, it can be very messy and DANGEROUS. If there is no cleanout then a toilet on the lowest floor is removed and it is done from there.
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Unread 02-23-2011, 07:46 AM
 
142 posts, read 141,331 times
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i dont know why people make this so difficult. go rent a snake with the root cutter and corkscrew for a 1/2 day or full day. open your cleanout or pull your toilet up and run the snake in while spinning the drum with the foot pedal. if your pushing or pulling the snake it needs to be spinning. keep the reel as close to the line as possible. im talking 2 feet away if possible. it will be labor intensive. have leather gloves. i did mine 2 weeks ago and saved around $230 and it took 2 hours.
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Unread 02-23-2011, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Happyville, USA
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You don't need a plumber.. check your local phone book and look under the heading ..sewer and drain cleaning. Plumbers have to be licensed and cost more. Sewer service companies don't need that license. Main lines are bigger than regular lines and need a larger cutter. You'll also need that larger cutter to cut through any roots and grease that are clogging the line. Ask for estimates over the phone. Some companies will give them. We do.
When we clean the main sewer line we usually do it from the trap which could be in the basement, in a closet if no basement, or sometimes they're outside the house. You really do need a professional to do this. If it was a sink line or toilet I'd say go for it.. but msl's are more involved and if you don't know how to handle the spinning cable properly you can get seriously injured.
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Unread 06-16-2011, 06:56 PM
 
1 posts, read 15,835 times
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Default rod out a sewer lateral

Ha ha. Obviously plumbers and rooter guys want you to think this is rocket science. It ain't. Here's what you need and how to do it.

1. First, you need to find the main cleanout. Sometimes it's in the basement for the east coasters. Sometimes it's around the back or side of the house, sometimes it's under the porch. It could be anywhere, but typically it is near the outer walls of the house on a street side. Google images "cleanout" and you'll see a bunch of different types. 99.9% of houses have at least one cleanout. If you've got a blockage, whether partial or total, then this will be oozing water, especially when you remove the plug.

3. Get the following tools together before you rent it:
- heavy duty extension cord (to plug it in)
- big philips head screwdriver - to remove and attach the bit
- gloves -- i use multiple pairs of medical exam gloves when I'm attaching the bit or removing the cleanout plug. Then, when the snake is dry, i use leather gloves. If it's very wet, then I have heavy duty vinyl gloves, but typically I only use it to remove the snake and for push the snake in the first 6 feet or so (after that, the wet snake has dried from all the spinning)
- an adjustable wrench (to remove the bolt that is supposed to hold the cable)
- safety glasses (you will get splashed with poopy water)
- work clothes
- make sure you do all this before you rent it out, you want the maximum time possible to snake it (unless you rent for 24 hours, that's plenty of time).

2. Go to a Home Depot rental center (or some other place where they rent out jackhammers and the like). I went to my nearest one and they had about 20 various sewer snakes there. The guys there are usually very helpful if you're a newbie. I rented mine for 4 hours for $55.08. It would have cost me an extra $20 for 24 hours. It was an Easy Rooter 100' x 5/8" electric with a foot pedal. It's a 2 man lift, but they'll help you with it if you pull up near their service door. (you might just need someone around when you're racing to get it loaded to get under 4 hours).

3. Set up the rooter. Start with the arrow shaped bit. Place the rooter 2 to 3 feet from the cleanout (i have to have mine 4 feet away because my cleanout is under my porch). Screw it on nice and tight with the philips head screwdriver.

4. Remove the bolt that holds the snake in the drum. Some people say it's safer to pull out some snake, screw the bolt in tight, feed the snake, then when it's fully in, stop, unscrew the bolt, take another bight of snake etc. By the time you're done, Halley's comet will be flying overhead. Just remove the screw and the spring thing (about 1 1/2 feet long) you don't need that either.

5. Here's the fun (and easy part, remember i said it's not rocket science). Feed the snake into the drain cleanout as far as you can. If you've fed it in over 4 feet, then you can stop feeding it in. Turn on the drum forward (only ever use reverse if it is impossibly stuck). Press down on the footpedal while holding the snake with both hands. It will start to rotate. What you want to see is a bit of a bend (it should look like a big P on its back) 1 foot or so poking out of the drain. Let the rooter do the work, if there is no blockage yet, it should feed itself into the drain. When that bend (the P) straighten out into a ")" shape, pull another bight from the drum to make another P, keep doing that until the snake get's all crazy and difficult to control. At that point you are either in the main sewer line or in the midst of cutting up a big blockage. Work it forward and back just before it gets all crazy. When you've got the hang of it, stop the drum.

6. Now, manually pull the snake back into the drum, bit by bit. Don't use the motor to help you (this is the safest way). Once it's all the way back out of the drain, reevaluate the blockage. It might even pull out some debris, like hair, gunk, condoms, baby wipes, toilet paper etc. If it does, all the better, the clog is getting cleared. Try it a couple of times, and once you feel like it's not doing any good, go on to the next bit.

7. Try the hook bit next. Only try it once because if it doesn't grab anything on the first go, it probably won't grab anything else.

8. Next try the rotary saw blade. Don't use the split saw pieces, they are too weak. Go to work with the rotary blade, it should do good.

9. You may have to do these multiple times to unclog a major blockage, but like I said, it's not rocket science. The plumbers and rooter guys want you to think it's hard because they need to eat too. But if you have plenty of time, don't mind a bit of physical labor, and want the satisfaction of knowing that you unclogged your sewer lateral yourself, DIY is the way to go. P.S. buy American whenever possible.
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Unread 11-26-2013, 02:24 PM
jzj
 
1 posts, read 2,067 times
Reputation: 10
Default when snaking from the roof, bring the snake up first

I hoisted a snake machine to the roof. It was difficult. Once there, it occurred to me that I could have made the task much easier by bringing the snake up first by simply pulling it out of the machine. The snake is heavy, its weight is in front, and as a bonus it would make a fine "rope" to use for pulling the machine up. I did this on the way down: much easier. And, indeed, as others have pointed out, it is a slightly longer route but easier to snake from the roof into the open vent at the top of the main stack that becomes the line out to the street (seemingly called either the lateral line or the house main sewer line).


Quote:
Originally Posted by lws1969 View Post
What is the best way to snake a main line? Do I need to climb onto the roof and do it from there? There is access behind the kitchen (outside) and I tried that but could only get the snake so far before it stopped. I think the line may be full of sediment and not sure if I should just call the plumber...

Thanks for any input.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
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