snaking kitchen drains of apartment building

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by bobv22, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. bobv22

    bobv22 New Member

    All, TIA for advice. I work in a 6 floor apartment building and we're doing a routine maintenance snake of the tiers of kitchen drains. The plumbing company is suggesting they need to snake every unit on every floor, but I would think they would only need access to each of the top floor units and can snake the whole tier from there (and thus not need access to all the lower units that feed the same drain lines). Is the plumber correct for some reason I'm not considering or is he simply trying to bill me to needlessly snake every unit?

    Also, if the drains are all one and quarter inch pipe, is that the size of snake that'd ideal be used? I believe they're suggesting the use of a three quarter inch snake, which seems undersized. Again, I'm concerned they might just be trying to use a three quarter so we have to use them again sooner and shell out for the job again.

    Finally, how often would everyone recommend we have the snaking done? Every year? Every 3? Every 5?

    In summary - do we need to snake every unit, how often, and what size snake. Thanks for the advice.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona
    1. The drains are NOT 1 1/4" pipe
    2. The size of the snake's head is what is important
    3. A 3/4" snake will NOT fit in to your drain lines through the sink openings
    4. The vertical stacks seldom need snaking
    5. If the piping was installed correctly, and you are not in Philadelphia, there are portions of the drain lines that are unique to each floor and a snake down the main line would not clear them.
    6. I consider "preventive snaking" to be a waste of time and possibly a contributor to stoppages, because you cannot usually run sufficient water to flush out whatever you dislodge.
    7. With preventive snaking you never know if you actually went far enough to reach the potential clog area.
    8. It may be "inconvenient", but I only recommend snaking when a drain stops up. That way you know when you have gone far enough and it is clear, the backed up water creates a flood to flush the pipe.
  3. MACPLUMB 777


    Houston, Texas, United States
    For preventive maintenance I would recommend having the lines hydro jetted !
    this could be done from the roof vents down to the building drains in basement/garage area
    as gas powered cart jetters will have up to 300' of hose to run
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Good luck if it breaks loose a lot of debris and it gets stuck at the bottom elbow, then the water from the hydrojet backs up into the first floor apartment while the operators are up on the roof and blissfully unaware what is happening.
  5. wjcandee

    wjcandee Wise One

    New York, NY
    Ah! But then you will know where to snake! :)

    Yes, but then you have to call in the 'restoration" crews to clean up the place. And finally, your insurance company.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 2, 2014
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