Rooting and snaking drains

As much as I hate doing plumbing work, there would be days when I need to do the dirty work of rooting a stuffed/slow train as the “joy” of the home and rental-property ownership. Last week was those days and I learned a few things I would like to share:

1. Stuffed toilet is best tried with a good accordion type of plunger shown as below: Of course, one must be careful not to make a mess; making the person who created the situation to clean up the mess may help prevent future occurrences.
Accordion-style plunger

2. If the above doesn’t work, then the toilet snake may be deployed. I used the 6-ft model below to ensure the “thing” gets pushed out farther away from the toilet. Make sure the rubber hose protection hug around the neck of the toilet to prevent scratches to your porcelain toilet. I found this tool to be very effective in cleaning up just about anything that got thrown into the toilet.
Toilet Auger/Snake

3. To fix the slow tub train, I used a simple handheld snake with an electric drill. Below is a good Youtube video that may help. I don’t necessarily endorse this particular electric snake/auger machine as I don’t own it but the outlined safety steps and the techniques (like backing off when reaches resistance during snaking) are right on the dot. In my particular case, I had tried snaking this tub several times. I even hired a “professional” rooter to do it without much success. (He just told me there is something “hard” in the path and gave up without fixing it and charging me – bless his soul.) In this case, I snaked in roughly 3 ft from the tub vent before hitting a hard resistance. In all past trials, I tried forcing the snake through and ended up kinking the snake cable and got stuck and eventually gave up. I suspected the P-trap design for this old tub has a sharp angle or too big a diameter that caused the snake cable to curl on itself. But This last time I tried backing off a bit while turning and pushing in a bit several times before making the breakthrough – my Voila moment. Patience and persistence are the key steps toward cleaning out a stubborn stuffed drain. Of course, good techniques help.