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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few days ago I got a call for a stopped up drain, the customer called me back after a few days to come and clear it, Her husband tried but could not clear it. Anyways the toilet was already pulled and I could not locate a cleanout in the front yard. I brought my Spartan 300 into the bathroom with 55 mag cable and a 2 1/2" cutter on it. I went in through the toilet flange and thought every thing was ok? Unfortunately my cable went up the vent and got caught. It took quite a while running the machine in forward and reverse to finally get my cable out. Well my cable had some insulation wrapped around it. My guess it there was an opening in the vent in the attic and my cable went out the opening into the attic and twisted up in some insulation. The small camera would have been quick to check the vent from the roof to look for a hole in the vent. I did not want to try again from the toilet flange so I went up on the roof with the K60sp and tried to clear it. I was out about 100' and was not able to clear it ran into a root stoppage that stopped the K60 and even caused it to run backwards when there was a lot of torque on the cable. I gave up after about three hours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I could have probably came back with a different machine like the K-1500 or put the Spartan 300 up on the roof. Another day of course I was beat tired. But I think they had money issues, so they could find another guy to clear the drain.
 

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Camera and locate the pipe outside and install a clean out there. No reason for you to give work away if they don't have proper access.

I hope you billed them for something. What about jetting?

I took the on call duties this weekend. 3 jet jobs, all from upstream/ inside. One was drained down already and my jetter is remote controlled so very little blow back. Second was similar, more backwash but we just vacuumed and kept jetting.

Third job was from the vent and I had tons of backwash but outside so no worries.
 

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The job should’ve switched from trying to clear the sewer to finding the sewer outside so a proper cleanout can be installed or to clear it from the ground.

I don’t use roof vents to clean roots. I use roof vents to clear soft stoppages or to locate the sewer so I can dig it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I agree Terry, the customer waited a few days with a backed up sewer because they did not want to pay me $200 to snake the sewer. Also the customer did a lot of hardscape and tile work in the front yard and most likely covered up the sewer cleanout. It was a small house with one bathroom with a couple of families living in it. I just assumed they were the owners, but they could have been the renters? I did not think the money was there for additional work.

Dhal I did bill them, I could of offered a location with camera and an estimate for repairs. I was beat tired and it was getting dark so I called it a day.
 

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Having the staff around to get right on locating and installing a cleanout would be the tough part for me. We’re still about 1-2 weeks out on scheduling those kinds of jobs and that’s not one someone is going to wait around for you on. I would have to reccomend a buddy of mine.
 

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I'm getting to the point where I rarely offer to pull a toilet for drain access anymore, unless the stoppage is confined to that bathroom group. If it's a main line stoppage I'm selling a cleanout.

I'm with Terry, roof vents are for camera access and the occasional kitchen drain.
 

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I had to throw in the towel on an island kitchen the other day. It was one of those older triple sinks with the disposal in the middle. Cabinet doors were half height, and each side basin was individually trapped into a sanitary cross with a loop vent. Of course, there's no cleanout, and no room to add one without gutting it. I try every trick I know off to get my cable down that cross, to no avail. I even cut the vent loop to the dismay of the customer. No dice.

The guy was dogging me from 20 min into the call. Said the other 4 companies that had been out over the years had been in and out in 30 mins and he couldn't believe I couldn't do the most basic plumbing task. I finally told him sorry for the inconvenience and that we wouldn't charge him anything per my managers instructions. He says he's going to call a lawyer and I tell him we have nothing else to talk about.

Fun day.
 

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I had to throw in the towel on an island kitchen the other day. It was one of those older triple sinks with the disposal in the middle. Cabinet doors were half height, and each side basin was individually trapped into a sanitary cross with a loop vent. Of course, there's no cleanout, and no room to add one without gutting it. I try every trick I know off to get my cable down that cross, to no avail. I even cut the vent loop to the dismay of the customer. No dice.

The guy was dogging me from 20 min into the call. Said the other 4 companies that had been out over the years had been in and out in 30 mins and he couldn't believe I couldn't do the most basic plumbing task. I finally told him sorry for the inconvenience and that we wouldn't charge him anything per my managers instructions. He says he's going to call a lawyer and I tell him we have nothing else to talk about.

Fun day.
You should have asked why he didn’t call them back. People always want to run their mouth
 

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You should have asked why he didn’t call them back. People always want to run their mouth
I was going to, until he mentioned the lawyer. Then he got all upset that I wouldn't talk to him anymore. I told him he'd already thrown down the gauntlet so to speak, and he could take it up with management or our legal department.

I sure as heck wasn't giving him anything else to work with.
 

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You should have asked why he didn’t call them back. People always want to run their mouth
Whenever someone calls me for a drain issue that someone else has already dealt with before I press them really hard to find out why they called us instead this time. There's only a handful of reasons and most of them aren't good.

-The job sucks/will be a literal schitshow.
-The last guy did it right and the customer thinks the charge was too much, probably won't want to pay us either.
-The last guy got it clear but told them he wouldn't come again because it needs to be fixed/is too risky to snake again.
-The last guy didn't actually fix the issue which is why I am there, in which case it might need to be replaced and snaking isn't the answer.
-The last guy was an azzhat in which case I definitely want to hear the whole story!
 

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Rooterboy, even if you don't have a sewer camera {I don't } you can usually hear the cable spinning inside the sewer line and locate the sewer line that way. I have run my K-60 from the roof vent and asked my customer to listen along the ground for the noise of the cable spinning inside the line. Then dig it up and TELL them that they need to install a ground level outside c.o.
Don't ask them if they want a c.o. Don't give them the option to refuse.
 

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Rooterboy, even if you don't have a sewer camera {I don't } you can usually hear the cable spinning inside the sewer line and locate the sewer line that way. I have run my K-60 from the roof vent and asked my customer to listen along the ground for the noise of the cable spinning inside the line. Then dig it up and TELL them that they need to install a ground level outside c.o.
Don't ask them if they want a c.o. Don't give them the option to refuse.
That's not a good option when the line is 4-8' deep.
 

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That's not a good option when the line is 4-8' deep.
It’s the only option sometimes or locate with a sonde/tracker and dig it up.

I never clean roots from inside or the roof. The cable can wrap up in roots an you can’t pull it back through the fittings, most building drains in our area is 3” and sewers are 4”. So you can’t use a proper size blade. I don’t use expanding cutter heads.
 

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It’s the only option sometimes or locate with a sonde/tracker and dig it up.

I never clean roots from inside or the roof. The cable can wrap up in roots an you can’t pull it back through the fittings, most building drains in our area is 3” and sewers are 4”. So you can’t use a proper size blade. I don’t use expanding cutter heads.
I average two main lines clogs a week over a year, most of those are roots, half of those are done from a toilet flange, many done from a basement c.o., some done from a 2" hole drilled in the side of a pipe. Almost none of those clogs get snaked from an outside c.o., they just don't exist here. Sometimes I get lucky and can snake back from the septic tank.

Must be nice not having a frost line.
 

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I average two main lines clogs a week over a year, most of those are roots, half of those are done from a toilet flange, many done from a basement c.o., some done from a 2" hole drilled in the side of a pipe. Almost none of those clogs get snaked from an outside c.o., they just don't exist here. Sometimes I get lucky and can snake back from the septic tank.

Must be nice not having a frost line.
you cant clean roots in a 4" pipe through a 2" hole with a sewer cable

im sorry......

And if you cabled drains here, cleaning roots through a closet flange it wouldnt be long before you wrapped your cutter head and cable full of roots and got it stuck. time to dig to get your cable free.

The fact that we dont have a frostline puts most of our sewers in the root zone of a tree. Your sewers being deep wouldnt see the roots we do in the south.
 

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you cant clean roots in a 4" pipe through a 2" hole with a sewer cable

im sorry......

And if you cabled drains here, cleaning roots through a closet flange it wouldnt be long before you wrapped your cutter head and cable full of roots and got it stuck. time to dig to get your cable free.

The fact that we dont have a frostline puts most of our sewers in the root zone of a tree. Your sewers being deep wouldnt see the roots we do in the south.
When the ground freezes conifer roots keep growing below the frost line looking for water, water seeping out of rust holes or cracks. Yes, you do get roots that deep.

And no, you can't do a thorough cleaning through a 2" hole, but you can unclog it enough to let you cut the pipe without a mess, then run water while you run a full size cutter set.
 
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