Good Day,

I’m looking for some tips on using a drain snake. We have a 4” clean out on the outside of the building that a local plumber has used to clear some roots about 60’ down the 4” PVC line. The plumber believes that roots are entering into the line at the city tap junction (since the line is PVC all the way and trees are out by the street near the tap). We have been having a clog about every 4-6 weeks with debris getting hung up at the growing roots. The city of Atlanta may take months to investigate the tap, so my employer plans to purchase a 75’x1/2” powered snake to deal with the clog on an ongoing basis.

The posts on powered snake use have proved informative and though all evidence points to the fact that it should be left to the pros, my employer is going to “damn the torpedoes”.

I plan to measure off and mark the snake with a sharpie before starting to help understand where the clog is located and to know where I am in the line.

Our machine will have multiple cutters (2" Side Cutter Blade, 1-1/2" U-Cutter) but not a power feed. I think the plumber only used a 1-1/2” U cutter during his work. Logic tells me that starting small, removing what you can, and then going to the larger cutter for a second snake pass, attempting to open the line up as much as possible, may be prudent and lessen the chance of a larger cutter getting hung up.

I think I need to be really concerned with keeping the end of the snake from entering the main line at the street. I would think that it would be really easy to get it hung up at that junction. The entire run of the line is under concrete and brick and a stuck snake would be a nightmare. Not being a professional, is this a valid concern and are there any tips that I can undertake to lessen the chance of having a snake get hung up?

I plan to take it slow, position the machine right next to the clean out to lessen exposed cable, and to let the machine do its’ job by not forcing things. If I’m lucky, after doing it three dozen times I may move beyond the incompetent stage.

Thank you in advance for any words of wisdom.

(any wisdom on getting a municipality to inspect a tap that a professional deems the problem would be appreciated as well.)