Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "What is a sewer snake?"
A. A sewer snake (not to be confused with a toilet or urinal snake, a jet drain cleaner, or camera inspection system) is a long cable that you can send down a drain to clear away clogs. Several different attachments can be used - depending on the nature of the clog - and they can range from a simple auger to a grease cutting blade, a side cutting blade or even a spear-type blade which is used for going through the middle of the clog. If you intend to buy a motorized snake, you'll have a choice between a hand held model or a "drum auger." The drum auger is actually meant for use by a professional plumber; it's a heavy-duty piece of equipment and is generally more than what is needed by most homeowners. For home use, you can also buy a closet auger which is specifically-designed to clear clogs and obstructions from your toilet's plumbing, and is manually operated.
Q. "Is the drum on the General mini-rooter made out of plastic or metal?"
A. It is made out of very durable metal, and is designed to take the rough treatment generally associated with this type of equipment.
Q. "What causes a clogged sewer line?"
A. In older construction, there were three basic causes for clogged sewers: excessive mortar left at soil pipe joints, roots from trees and plants, and broken pipes. In both new and old construction, broken pipes allow foreign matter to enter the drainage system which often causes clogging. Clogged sewers in newer construction are often limited to broken pipes and poor design or construction. Using the wrong fittings during construction or allowing too little slope in the drain run can cause the drain to become clogged as well. Many times it is discovered that the clog is the result of human error; small toys flushed down the toilet (the "rubber ducky" clog), foods that have high starch content and turn to something akin to cement (such as rice, potatoes, oatmeal, etc.), and even coffee grounds - which are quite acidic - should not go down the drain as they can speed up corrosion with certain metals.
Q. "When should you use a sewer snake?"
A. This will depend on the location of the clog; is the toilet not flushing, or does the general plumbing drain very slowly? Most drain clogs that you'll find throughout the plumbing in your home won't require the use of a sewer snake. Easy clogs can often be cleared away with a plunger, mini snake, or even a bacterial drain cleaner. However, when there's a clog that stubbornly refuses to break loose, a handheld sewer snake is likely your best weapon. In the case of a toilet clog, a closet auger is often your best bet. If the clog is beyond the trap of the fixture, a snake may be needed to clear the obstruction.
Q. "Can the ClogChoppers be used to remove polyester CIPP liner from the insides of drain pipes?"
A. The ClogChoppers were designed for clearing the drain to prepare for installation of liners such as CIPP (cured-in-place pipe liner). They have not been tested for cutting out drain liners themselves so the manufacturer does not recommend them as a suitable tool for removing these types of liners.
Q. "How do these cutter heads attach to the cable, and how do I change them?"
A.The cutter heads for Flexicor® cables connect using a screw and lock nut. The sectional cables use a unique interlocking system in which the cable and cutter have connecting ends.
Before attaching any cutter, first unplug the machine.
- For machines using the Flexcor® cables, first remove the screw and lock washer from the connector at the end of the cable. Slide the cutter in the slot, then replace the lock washer and connecting screw and tighten the screw firmly.
- For the sectional cables, slide the slot on the cutter over the tab on the female connector until the spring pin pops into place. To remove the cutter, use the RCK-10 for 7/8" sections or the #CW Coupling Wrench for the 1-1/4" sections. Push the key into the hole just below the slot in the female connector, then slide the cable ends apart. Cable sections are coupled and uncoupled the same way.