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Thread: Drain Line (Snake) Advice

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member prestonv's Avatar
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    Default Drain Line (Snake) Advice

    Hi:

    I have a 4" (inside diameter) cast iron drain pipe that is clogged (very slow to drain). I tried cleaning it with 20' of 1/2" cable ... no success. I estimate the clog is about 50' down the drain (I let the pipe drain for 24 hours, then filled it up quickly and measured the volume of water and pipe to estimate where the clog is).

    I went to my local tool rental shop and the only thing they have is a heavy duty drain cleaner with 100' of 3/4" cable. The guy said 3/4" cable is good for pipes between 3" and 6".

    Is 3/4" cable too big for a 4" pipe?

    Another problem is that the closest I can get the machine to clean-out point is about 5'. I know it is best to get as close as possible. Is 5' too dangerous?

    Thanks for any advice.

    Preston

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Default

    3/4" cable is good for 4" pipe.

    5' of uncontrolled cable is dangerous.

    I'd consider the safe approach and hire a pro.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default snake

    I would, and do, only use a 3/4" cable for 3" and 4" pipes. 3' of cable can be dangerous if it gets caught in a serious clog. If you have 5' between the machine and the cleanout, you MUST be very experienced using the machine to be able to tell when it is getting close to the danger point. Otherwise the cable will "fly" out of the drum twisting as it goes and will wind YOU and anything else into a ball. There was a news report of someone it happened to. The snake wound his shirt so tight he perished. The other thing, is if you damage the snake, you will probably get a very large bill for repairing or replacing it, and I have had plumbers who should know how to manage a snake destroy a brand new snake before it was even used once.
    Last edited by hj; 12-04-2009 at 06:12 AM.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member prestonv's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. My problem is that I've lost my job and money is tight. My local rooter company wants $300 ... the rental will be $28 for a couple of hours.

    Based on your comments, I will remove my toilet and go in through the toilet. This will keep the distance between the machine and drain to about 2' ... and will proceed carefully.

    Thanks for the confirmation that 3/4" is not too much for a 4" drain pipe.

    Preston

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    You could also consider trying a company that doesn't have rooter in their name...

    They tend to be more reasonably priced...

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member prestonv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    You could also consider trying a company that doesn't have rooter in their name...

    They tend to be more reasonably priced...
    Thanks. I'll give it a try.

    Preston

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member prestonv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
    You could also consider trying a company that doesn't have rooter in their name...

    They tend to be more reasonably priced...
    Redwood:

    Thanks again ... I found someone that will do it for $145 (no Rooter in the name). My only concern is that he says he will use a 1/2" snake. Is that big enough for a 4" inside diameter cast iron drain pipe (snake up to 70')?

    Can you confirm?

    Thanks,

    Preston

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