As a homeowner, it is your duty to be aware of various plumbing terms. After all, a house’s pipes ensure warmth in the winter and running water all year round. Of course, some are trickier than others, as they are hardly ever discussed in popular media. One of those situations refers to sewer rodding.
But what is sewer rodding exactly? What does it consist of? According to the ThePlumbingInfo, the term is completely interchangeable with that of sewer drain snake. It refers to a mechanical way of clearing sludge buildup or tree roots from the main sewer line of a home so that it is unclogged and starts working properly again. Here is what you need to know about it.
Diagnosing a Clogged Sewer Line
The typical diameter of a sewer line is of at least 6 inches, if not more. This means that the situation has to get really serious before it actually gets clogged. Pieces of paper or small clumps of dirt usually pass right through, but stickier substances can cause the debris to stay and pile on top of itself until the pipe can no longer take it.
Tree roots are also a danger for sewer lines from this point of view, as they are attracted by the moisture and burrow within the system. They feed on the debris passing through, which clings onto them and causes a major blockage over time. But how can you tell if you have this problem at home? Well, diagnosing a clogged sewer line is rather easy.
When this happens, water flows slowly regardless of how many attempts you have at unclogging the drain. What is more, you will most likely hear unpleasant and ominous gurgling sounds coming from the main pipeline. The best way to determine whether or not the sewer line itself is the culprit is with a small professional camera.
When Sewer Rodding Comes In
After establishing the root of the problem, you can use a sewer drain snake to take care of it. Also known as sewer rodding, this technique involves inserting a flexible metal cable with an attached mechanical head that has teeth which drill through the roots or sludge buildup. To use it properly, you first need to position the tool as close to the cleanout as possible.
Put the head into the cleanout and feed it a few meters of cable before turning it on. Make sure to use a pair of reliable leather gloves so that the machine doesn’t grab at your hands. When the sewer drain snake reaches the tough spot, pull on the cable and hold it tight to avoid injuries. Move it back and forth until you feel that the clog has been removed.
Feed 10 more inches of cable into the rodding tool to ensure that the drain is completely unclogged. Pull the cable out and check the pipes and drains. Does the water flow normally now? Are you hearing gurgling still? The answer to both these questions should be a firm ‘no’, which means that you performed the job right.
If you have a two-way cleanout, it’s essential to have someone inside the house to ensure that the drain snake went the right way. Instruct this person to listen to the toilet. If they hear banging on the bottom of it, they need to let you know so that you can take the rod out and try again. Requesting the assistance of any family member is fine in this situation.
Nevertheless, this mechanical method is the older way to take care of things. If you request the help of a professional, you will be able to opt for hydro jetting instead. it is safer, faster, and a lot more effective overall. During the cleanup, a high-pressure stream of water blasts through the sewer line, clearing out tree roots, sludge, and any other buildup that stands in its way.
What is more, it doesn’t just poke a hole or push some of the residues down. It actually cleans the entire sewer line, which means that clogging will happen a lot slower in the future. Your pipes will feel like new, but you won’t have to replace them. Of course, hydro jetting is also pricier, but it is an investment well worth it.
The Bottom Line
Sewer rodding used to be an indispensable technique, but it has now faded in favor of newer, more elegant alternatives such as hydro jetting. Nevertheless, if you want to unclog the main sewer line by yourself, a drain snake is all you need. It is cost-effective, and it gets the job done. All you need to do is handle it with caution.