save a plumbers job

I work for a company that has a restaurant franchise. They are strongly considering buying the techs electric sewer snakes fairly large one with half inch cable. We are not plumbers by any stretch of imagination. We are AC and kitchen equipment service men. We know from when we call plumbers in to clean out blockages there is some technique to using these things.(feeling when it is in a turn or hitting a clog) I have heard it is possible to break fittings or traps in the floors or cause other damage with these machines. If anyone could assist me with some information to combat their idea it will be greatly appreciated. We have good relationships with the plumbers we use in each of our areas and would like to continue to give them business. In addition, we don’t want the added work load as this was not in our job description when we started with the company.

They would be better off with a jetter. Cable machines are dangerous to the novice, they can break arms and legs if you don’t know what your doing.
Regards Bill

I have used the sewer snakes many times, and agree I wouldn’t want it added to my job description afterwards. I have heard stories of cables breaking and being bound in the main lines and having to pull up the floor to clear out the cable. I think that it takes a while to feel how to do it well and not just be back for a call back soon afterwards.

If you just knock down the blockage a little you will be back soon afterwards to do it again. If you knock out tree roots, and don’t treat it you will be right back soon afterwards. Maybe stress to your boss that the call backs won’t be worth the time and money.

If they do make you use one, insist on training and proper equipment so you don’t get hurt. I don’t think it is as easy as it sounds when people talk about using one.

Good luck,

and can pull fingers off too

You must feed it slow and use heavy duty canvas or leather gloves. Never use rubber gloves because it will stick and cause a big time boo boo on your hands.


With all the posts so far, I wouldn’t get near it with a 10 foot pole . . . no make it 20 . . . no 30 . . . 50 . . . you get what I mean . . . listen to the above advice.


Having cleared hundreds of lines and mains I would say it would be a bad idea. After a while you learn by the feel of the cable of what is going on inside. You can sometimes tell if it is a bad turn, bad main (tile ect.) or tree roots. I’ve had a few cables get stuck in a main and getting them out is no fun. I’ve had my hand wrapped up in cable, my fact slapped with pooy cable, poo splatter all over the room (always work with your mouth closed) and I’ve even seen cable come out of a few roofs when it made a wrong turn and headed up the vent stack.

Tell them to have the professional plumbers clear the sewer. Also, as a plumber I’ve been vacinated for Hepititis A, B and C becuase of the risks involved. I don’t think passing Hepatitis B onto customers would be appreciated especialy if the health depatment found out how in was trasmitted.