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When Drain Cleaning

  • I have the customers flush toilets

    Votes: 9 52.9%
  • I have the customers run faucets

    Votes: 7 41.2%
  • I have the customers listening for the cable

    Votes: 3 17.6%
  • I have the customers running to the bank to get cash

    Votes: 6 35.3%
  • I have a second employee that does the above tasks

    Votes: 2 11.8%
  • All of the above

    Votes: 1 5.9%
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

5,480 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It was bitter cold today, had to bring my torch with me to keep my hands from clawing up while rodding the drain from an outside cleanout.

Certainly not complaining because having an outside cleanout is a drum machine dream, footstool and watch the wastewater go down when it is open.

I was told there was tons of paper towels in the drain. ??? It happens I suppose, and on my first pass, I intentionally took the cable out till I hit the spot where it was clogged, saw the water drop, told the customer to start flushing the toilets throughout the home.

When I pulled back, brought back a bunch of paper towels and sure enough, drain was backing up again. Didn't mind because I didn't here that famous cracking of the bellows when a drain opens up, hearing that huge rush of wastewater making it down the drain.

When it started backing up, of course, it was bellowing as they was flushing toilets back to back, running sinks. Owner comes out and he's about to puke, I'm sitting in the yard with crap all over the ground. It's all over my boots, equipment... I had to strip down when I got home because of the conditions.

On the second pass, cable jumped the other direction in the tee, it's not a 2 way. It's an older cast iron system that looks crooked coming out the ground.

34' later and I'm starting to hear a beating on the wall, sounding like someone was pissed off. ???

Turns out, cable went the other direction than intended, trailed a vent up the wall, back down and was starting at the toilet as the tinging noise startled the wife inside the home, thus the action of beating on the wall to stop me from going any further.

Of course, no reaction from the drain in water level during this, even though it was coming out the entire time onto the ground.

Explained how the blackened sewage is old sewage, meaning there's an underlying problem in the equation of the drain, the very reason I'm there.

He seemed uneasy of the sewage, so I grabbed a couple kernels of corn out of the liquid after lunch and chewed on it, guy was all up in arms saying I was gross. Couldn't help myself.

Pulled the cable back immediately, attempted my 3rd pass, hit that one bad spot again and just sat there and let it turn for 5 minutes, hearing the system finally break open, sucking the steam coming off the hot wastewater on the ground back into the pipe. Amazing sight actually.

Pulled the cable back, tons of paper towels, guy was livid with his family for turning the drain into a garbage can.

It obviously had been leaking out the cleanout for days...

It was everywhere and what little bit was coming out, just added to the already huge mess.

Then the damn dog came over trying to eat some of it on the ground.


I have the customers working for me every-single-time I'm doing a clogged drain. I tell them if we do not get water rolling through the system, it's going to clog up again because all of it didn't come out. (Paper Towels) and we cannot guarantee that the clog won't return.

I told him to have everyone flush the toilet about 30-40 times, and do laundry NOW!

If I had to stop drop and roll, clean my feet every time to run around their house, it would of been a PITA.

This way, the number of people in the structure now do what I can't at the same time, get the water rolling so I can complete my job outside and my dirtiness from the carpets completely, to which they appreciate.

Guy was a fellow marine, he gave me a huge pack of those hand warmer packets, helped me carry my soil-ladened tools back to the truck and thanked me greatly for solving the problem.

A harbor freight, $138 drum machine sat perched on the ground level deck, cable strung out all over the back yard, obviously in FAIL MODE from attempting to clear the drain with an undersized cable.

We came in, hometown proud and solved the issue with little to no effort.

I barely touched the cable, it was awesome... glad to have my drain equipment working again and the cash flow is beautiful.

I could handle about $800/week in baseline drain calls in the community every week. Been averaging $600/week for the past two.

I'm goin' fo brown gold danielson!:clap:

3,345 Posts
I was rodding sewer drain through 4" vent on roof once and cable demolished commode. helper was running machine on ground. What a mess, glad I was still working for other guy then.
Couple weeks ago I was rodding up into house and my helper started banging on window in a rather panicked way, she came out saying she heard the cable screaching and clicking under commode, LOL. Never know how some drains are plumbed. Thing is the line was plugged on horizontal under this bathroom. Had to go there.

890 Posts
Almost busted one last week. My partner was snaking through the closet bend in a loft and we heard a clang sound. We were like hmmm... pulled the cable out tried again heard the same sound. Found out the loft next door had a toilet on the opposite side of the wall. That would have turned out very bad :yes:

1,362 Posts
I've broken a toilet before in a doctors office, only problem was I had already pulled the rear toilet and run my cable 30 feet before it came out the trap of the front waiting room toilet, still don't understand that one considering the sewer went back to front...
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
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