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.