Rooter - When A Plumbing Snake Isn't Enough

When to trade in your plumbing snake for a rooter...

I recently had a plumbing emergency. During a recent heavy down poor, I found out that we had a clogged drain when water from the roof started overflowing the guttering. Thinking that the guttering had filled with leaves, I was up on a ladder in the midst of the storm checking for blockages in the guttering but finding none. I finally tracked the problem down. Roots had got into the stormwater pipes and reduced the flow to a trickle.

But first a little background. We recently moved into this house. It's about 40 years old but has been well maintained and is in good condition. There are a few things that need to be done but nothing major.

One of the jobs that needs to be done is to put some gutter guard over the gutters to stop them filling up with leaves and other materials which fall from the large trees in our area. Until I get around to putting up the gutter guard, I have been making sure I clean out the leaved regularly. But they build up again quickly. This is why I assumed it was the leaves when the getters overflowed.

What I've since found is that all of the stormwater is carried by clay pipes. What this means is that the roots from the large trees have discovered the moisture and forced their way between the gaps in the pipes and clogged the drain.

During the storm, once I had worked out where the blockage was, I was out there with my plumbing snake trying to clear what I thought were leaves causing the blockage. What I soon worked out (from the material I was pulling out) was that it was roots which were preventing the water flow.

I've come to the conclusion that I will need to get a plumbing contractor to come in and perform a pipe inspection. I suspect my options will be to call in a rooter service or to replace the clay pipes with pvc plumbing. Another option I've considered is a hydro jetting service, but I suspect hydro jetting wont be able to clear the blockage.

I will write more about the differences between a rooter and a plumbing snake in an upcoming post.

Which Plumbing Snake?

What type of plumbing snake is suited to which type of job? With a variety of makes, models and types of plumbing snakes available, it's important to choose the right drain auger for your job. This article will discuss the various jobs you may need to tackle using your plumbing snake and the type which is best suited to each job.

Clearing Clogged Toilets:

A water closet auger (also called a closet auger, toilet auger or toilet snake) is a special kind of plumbing snake specifically designed for clearing clogged toilets. It is shorter and more rigid than other drain augers, it is bent to allow access into the u-bend of the lavatory and it has a protective cover over the rod or cable. The protective cover is intended to prevent damage to delicate porcelain surfaces of most toilet fittings.

Clearing Clogged Basin or Shower Drains:

A hand auger (or hand spinner) is another kind of plumbing snake designed to clear clogged basin or shower drains. It consists of a cable with a handle at one end and an auger head at the other. It is normally longer than a closet auger and therefore has a longer reach. It is normally not quite as rigid. A variation is a model that fits on a power drill. Instead of turning the auger by hand, the motor of the power drill turns the auger head.

Clearing Tree Roots From Blocked Sewers:

A heavy duty sewer snake or plumbing snake is required for this job. It consists of a much longer, thicker cable, and is powered by its own electric motor. Some also have a drum the hold the cable. These larger models have a detachable auger blade designed for cutting through tree roots and other major obstructions. Care should be take with these more powerful units as plumbing can easily be damaged. If in doubt, a professional should be called in to handle these larger jobs.

Read more about plumbing snakes and drain snakes.

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