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Thread: Sewer drain company has broken off its drain snake

  1. #1

    Default Sewer drain company has broken off its drain snake

    I have a sewer drain company working on my house sewer drain pipe. They came over and used a power snake at the clean out. After working on it for a while the tech got the snake stuck and subsequently got it kinked and broke it off.
    This morning they came out to my house but I had gone to work. As I understand it, they tried to locate the blade end and dug a hole in the front yard but it is raining today and called off the work until Monday.
    My question is how are they going to get at the blade and snake? I suppose they could come in from the city sewer manhole.
    I imagine this could be a big mess or maybe not. Any comments?

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    I would guess that they plan to cut out a section of pipe to gain access to the snake. If they are professionals, they will remove the snake, make a proper repair to the pipe, and then to your yard.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    NORMALLY, the only way to damage or break a snake is if the sewer pipe itself is damaged. In that case it has to be dug up and repaired anyway, and the broken snake removed during the process. I am not sure how they are doing it, but if I had to repair the sewer, YOU would pay for it. The broken snake would just be an indicator of the problem and where it is.

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    In the Trades jnaas2's Avatar
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    I have a ridgid 7500 with a 3/4 inch cable and broke off it off in the line because I feed it to fast. Replaced the tip and put a larger cutter on and 3 hrs later working slowly I finally cut thru the root that was clogging up the line. When I pulled the line back out the root was stuck on the end of the cable with my broken cutter attached. The root was 6 inches round and 5 feet long. So some times it can be operator error that causes the problem. Before I paid for someone to dig up my yard and retrieve there cable I would like to know if the line was broken or if they just got into too big of a hurry. Another time it got stuck and wouldnt come loose I started tracing the drain line and found a steel fence post was drive into the drain line, I pulled the post and my cable came right out

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    Plumber jay_wat's Avatar
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    i totally agree with HJ,, the customer called out the plumber,,who by all rights better be a good operator of the sewer machines,,, their issue,,their problem

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    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnaas2 View Post
    I have a ridgid 7500 with a 3/4 inch cable and broke off it off in the line because I feed it to fast. Replaced the tip and put a larger cutter on and 3 hrs later working slowly I finally cut thru the root that was clogging up the line. When I pulled the line back out the root was stuck on the end of the cable with my broken cutter attached. The root was 6 inches round and 5 feet long. So some times it can be operator error that causes the problem. Before I paid for someone to dig up my yard and retrieve there cable I would like to know if the line was broken or if they just got into too big of a hurry. Another time it got stuck and wouldnt come loose I started tracing the drain line and found a steel fence post was drive into the drain line, I pulled the post and my cable came right out
    If you pulled a root out that was 6" round, the sewer needs to be repaired period. I have broken a cable two times in the 20+ years I been rodding sewers. Each time was due to a defect in the sewer, first one was a broken pipe, second one was such a large root intrusion the only way to clear it was to remove the portion of the pipe where the roots where entering the pipe which did cause a huge crack down the whole length of the that section of pipe.

  7. #7
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quickstep View Post
    I have a sewer drain company working on my house sewer drain pipe. They came over and used a power snake at the clean out. After working on it for a while the tech got the snake stuck and subsequently got it kinked and broke it off.
    This morning they came out to my house but I had gone to work. As I understand it, they tried to locate the blade end and dug a hole in the front yard but it is raining today and called off the work until Monday.
    My question is how are they going to get at the blade and snake? I suppose they could come in from the city sewer manhole.
    I imagine this could be a big mess or maybe not. Any comments?
    As to getting the cable and blade, it needs to be dug up. 99% of the home owners sewers make a blind connection to the city sewer, meaning the rarely ever tie directly into a manhole. So rodding from the city side is imposable. I am up in the Chicago area, I see you are down in Central IL, I would be willing to make a trip down there attempt to use a retriever to remove their cable, and if need to be I can also televise your sewer. Its about a 3 hour drive. To be helpful I would only charge an hour travel time.

    If you are concerned about the company you hired, check them on the BBB site, and call the city to see if they had any complaints about the company. I do wish you luck.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I think that hj meant "you" to be the homeowner pays.

    If someone has a broken pipe, or large root, and the cable gets stuck, that's an existing problem that needs to be addressed, at the homeowners expense.

    A root six inches in diameter? Nothing is going to go through that.

    A friend snaked a sewer line for my mother one time, and hit a plastic gas line that had been run through the clay tiles.
    That wasn't a plumber's issue either. I wound up digging up the pipe and fitting and replaced it.

    but if I had to repair the sewer, YOU would pay for it. The broken snake would just be an indicator of the problem and where it is.
    "you" means homeowner.


    A snake with cutters will get the small roots that find their way in, but they don't chop larger wood very well.
    Last edited by Terry; 04-26-2010 at 06:34 PM.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for the comments. The manager of the sewer cleaning company said pretty much what was said here, if it is a root ball that caused the problem there will be no additional cost. If it is a broken pipe there will be a cost. And if it is a large city pipe the cost could be high. I'll deal with the cost when I see the problem. I am taking the day off to watch the work done.

  10. #10
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Well good luck, if you do need a second opinion , just remember, have rod and camera will travel.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The ONLY way I would make a 3 hour travel time call, is if I got paid for three hours, or I was so desparate that it was the only thing I had to do. I am not altruistic, and the customer might have more money than I do.

  12. #12
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    lol, I was planning to head to KY after the job and visit my girlfriend. Just jump on 74 head east. So I do not mind the drive all that much.

  13. #13
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quickstep View Post
    Thanks for the comments. The manager of the sewer cleaning company said pretty much what was said here, if it is a root ball that caused the problem there will be no additional cost. If it is a broken pipe there will be a cost. And if it is a large city pipe the cost could be high. I'll deal with the cost when I see the problem. I am taking the day off to watch the work done.
    So did they dig? What did they find? ANy pictures? We all love pictures. Here is a picture of a outdoor grease trap I installed a week and half ago.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  14. #14

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    Everything went well. I will post pictures when I figure out how to do it.

  15. #15

    Default Pictues

    Pictures of the project. Everything went well
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