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Old 03-22-2010, 06:12 PM   #1
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Sewer line snake recommendation


Hello,

I own a number of buildings and find myself calling a sewer line cleanout company pretty frequently.

I would like to purchase a sewer line snake to use on the buildings main lines.

My super and I have watched them do it many times.

Can someone recommend which brands and models are worthwhile?

I'm referring to the large, motorized, on wheels type that can clean out a 4" apartment building drain.

Thanks very much,

Joseph

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Old 03-22-2010, 09:29 PM   #2
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Sewer line snake recommendation


be very carefull those machines can get away from you very easily,i busted up my right hand really good years ago when a glove got caught in a big main line machine.
both the machines i keep on my service van are made by rigid,they arent big monsters but they take care of the majority of calls i get.if they dont do it ive got a really good drain guy i call

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Old 03-23-2010, 05:58 AM   #3
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Sewer line snake recommendation


Plummen,

Thanks for the advice on safety. I'll have to be sure that anyone who uses it does so with great focus.

I see the ridgid line but it's hard to know which model I need.

Most of my properties have 4" drain lines.

I was thinking about the K-400, but even that has choices/options like 3/8 or 1/2 or 5/8" line; or autofeed, etc.

Thanks,

Joseph
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:39 PM   #4
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The K400 is to small for what you are talking about, To do building main lines the minimum you will need is 100' of high quality 5/8 cable powered by approx. 1/2 hp. motor. you would do better with 3/4 cable. or a sectional machine. All of these machines have an unforgiving learning curve. It looks easy because the drain guy probably knows what he is doing. If you are going to use a progression of $10.00 hr. maintenance men to run it make sure your liability and workman's comp are paid
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:05 PM   #5
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Sewer line snake recommendation


I can attest to the safety issue. I had the experience of helping a guy run one recently. My first time as well as his. Part of the problem was the machine was borrowed and the guy that owns it doesn't take care of it. It had some kinks in the cable and boy I will tell you, when they come out and start whipping around:

watch out 'cuz it isn't stopping nearly as fast as you want it to and if you let go, then it really starts whipping around.


be very cautious.
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Old 03-24-2010, 06:58 AM   #6
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I would definitely look for a auto feed machine.
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:17 AM   #7
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What makes it so difficult and dangerous? My super is pretty strong and handy, and has watched this done a number of times. How can I help him do it safely and effectively?

I spend Between $100 and $300 each time a main line gets clogged, which happens a total of 4 to 8 times per year for all buildings combined.

I thought it would make sense to buy a $500 tool to avoid that ongoing cost and the delay in getting it cleaned out.

The K-400 says it's good for lines up to 4" -- what about it will be inadequate?

Thanks very much!
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:53 AM   #8
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Good judgment comes from experience, Experience comes from bad judgment
Do what your going to do.
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:52 PM   #9
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Sewer line snake recommendation


Quote:
Originally Posted by josephny View Post
What makes it so difficult and dangerous? My super is pretty strong and handy, and has watched this done a number of times. How can I help him do it safely and effectively?

I spend Between $100 and $300 each time a main line gets clogged, which happens a total of 4 to 8 times per year for all buildings combined.

I thought it would make sense to buy a $500 tool to avoid that ongoing cost and the delay in getting it cleaned out.

The K-400 says it's good for lines up to 4" -- what about it will be inadequate?

Thanks very much!
I am not going to say you can't do it or even that you shouldn't do it. Obviously everybody that uses a drain auger has a first time. If there are people out there using these with regularity, then an reasonably intelligent and cautious person should be able to learn how to use one properly.


all I am saying is it can cause some serious injuries if the auger wins the fight.

You ask what makes it so dangerous:

think about how it works. You take up to a 100' length of semi-flexible tube/cable that is spinning and you put a cutter head on the end. The cutter head is going to attempt to stop the thing from spinning and the motor is going to keep spinning it. Especially if the cutter grabs solidly on a broken pipe or a tree root, it will stop hard. The cable/tube will wrap up, that is, it will twist itself into a spiral rather than simply a long relatively straight cable. The spiraling is storing energy plus it can cause the cable not inside the pipe to continue to wrap up on itself.

If that happens, you now have a big twist of the cable spinning around with a powerful motor driving it. It does not stop instantly if you cut the power.

In the time it takes to stop, you could have a finger or an arm or a shirt sleeve caught up in the cable. Not a fun place to be.

That spinning mess moves a lot faster than you might realize. It can whack you in the head before you even notice it if you are not paying close attention.

Like I said; it's not that I am suggesting nobody should ever use one of these. It's that due caution and care and understanding of what can happen must be used when operating one.

In your situation, I would think it would be a good investment but as with all power equipment and you as an employer, there is a great deal of liability in using such a machine. As long as you are willing to accept that liability, then go for it.

I do not know if the retailers or manufacturers offer any training for their machines but if they do, I would suggest accepting their training.
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:44 PM   #10
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No way I can put it any better then Nap said,,,,, would be beneficial if the op could get someone to give some training with the snake. We all have our "first" time, but with the snake its experience. Put great importance into what kind and type of glove you are wearing. You hope to "feel" the snag and react fast enough to not get hurt. Also, maybe rent a snake and try it out before purchasing.
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:28 PM   #11
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And the shorter the distance from where the cable feeds out of the machine to the pipe being snaked the better!!! At least that was my experience in using a rental one this winter. When they fetch up it is not pretty when that cable is curling up
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:34 PM   #12
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When i got my glove caught in that main line machine it folded all of my fingers over backwards before i could do anything about it!
I did the alligator death roll around the damn cable and machine to get my hand out and while i was rolling on the floor trying to get my hand out of the cable i bumped the foot switch and it took off again!
That was a decent sized spartan machine,it was years before i ever cleaned another drain!
When i clean a drain now i dont care how nasty it is i dont wear gloves anymore,i can was my hands but walking around with 4 broken fingers and a screwed up wrist costs me a hell of a lot more than the $100 my guy charges me to run a main line.
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:12 PM   #13
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K400 is good machine get self feed machine. Never use loose clothes or rubber globes,leather gloves are the best also make sure feed the snake little by little to avoid the snake kink and get you hand. Sometimes the new machine come with a video make sure you watch it. Good Luck
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:00 AM   #14
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Go for the 100 foot and 3/4 inch cable. With that said keep a record of what building, and how far out you hit the stoppage. You may try locating builder and the plumber who put the lines in, he just may have pictures. Have a man stand-by the sewer lid openings in the walk or street and see what flushes out when it breaks loose. use a mirrow and the sunshine. There are some companies that provide camera inspection ,or you can do it yourself and use a led type camera .The camera works after the line is cleaned out and finds the mud?broken pipe or the sewer lid area. Keep records is the trick. Yes, operating a cable is dangerous and the same for operating a car. I took care of 30 large apartment buildings for 20 years and having your own cable equipment and the right labor is the way to go. Just remember ,never let a man work alone doing this.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:38 PM   #15
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Sewer line snake recommendation


another option is using high pressure water to snake the lines. I have done this for 7 years doing all kinds of piping from 2" to 48". Of course I had massive pumps for the big pipelines, but for sewer and water lines you only need about 3 or 4,000 PSI and atleast 8-13 gallons per min.

What you need is a Big pressure washer, snake line (reverse water jets which feed itself in and flush the crap out) and a water supply.

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