Ooops, there goes my snake

Discussion in 'Drain Cleaning' started by Tim Othy, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. Tim Othy

    Tim Othy New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2019
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    Happy Holidays! Today I was enjoying a beautiful day golfing and came home to a clogged kitchen sink. I tried to snake (25ft manual) from under the sink, but no luck. No external clean out so went to the roof and sent snake down the air pipe (1 1/2"). Thought it had a stop, but nope, it just slid out of the case and down the pipe. I can feel the end about 8" down but can't retrieve it... any suggestions on how to get it out?

    * I've tried fishing it out with another snake & also a metal pole with screws in it to try and grab it (no luck).
    * Also, I just went under the sink to see if I could grab from below...and managed to unclog pipe, so now it's not an urgent problem.

    2nd question- Can I just leave it in there? Will it make it out to the main? (it's 75ft away)
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    You inserted the snake through the roof vent.

    You can feel it from the top of the roof vent, I think you said. Feel it how -- with some sort of probe? Can you see it?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
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  4. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida When the wife won't let you get a Harley!

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    Retired
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    The old wire hangers makes a good fish hook. A magnetic pickup tool might work if you can reach it. They extent to about 18" or a screw pickup tool.


    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Put a wire loop down a tube. Slide it into the vent so the loop goes around the snake, pull the loop tight, and lift the snake out of the drain. A magnetic tool will stick to the snake but will NOT be able to pull it out. DO NOT "leave it in the drain, because "stuff" will build up around it and cause a stoppage and the stuck snake will make it much more difficult to unstop the drain.
     
  6. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
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    New York
    Try using a 3/8 cable with a retrieving head and very slowly see if you can catch the wire

     
  7. Tim Othy

    Tim Othy New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2019
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    Thank you for the feedback!
    I've tried a magnet, but it's 25ft of steel and the magnet is not strong enough.
    The grabby tool would work, but it's not long enough.
    I can insert a piece of wood/steel/etc down the vent 4-5ft and then I feel it, so then I put a flashlight down and could see the end (the coil, not the auger tip, thats the other end 25ft down my pipe).
    *that managed to fall off & now is in my pipe too *ugghh*
    I've tried a couple other long pieces of poles w/ different screw configurations, all trying to grab/pinch the cable, but no luck. I've looked online and have seen a tool called wormer tool- will probably try that next.
    Called a plumber, they took a look and quoted $750 to brake a piece of my wall and dig it out through the hole, but would only fix the pipe, not the wall- so that's not an option at this point.
     

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  8. Tim Othy

    Tim Othy New Member

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    Dec 26, 2019
    Location:
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    I'll also try the wire loop, that might work- we actually used those when I was younger to catch actual snakes!
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Another variation on the loop is to run the loop/noose through a pipe. I am thinking of maybe 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, or even 1 inch PVC with the leading edge tapered/sharpened on the inside. EMT (thinwall conduit) would be maybe be even better. This forms an "overshot" retrieving tool. Tape (lightly) the tip of noose around and up the outside. Shove the prepared pipe over the tail of the snake. Then tighten the noose.

    I have some really strong cord I would use. Very strong fishing line would be really good. Maybe wire that is flexible enough would be good too.
     
  10. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered In the Trades

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    If the vent goes up through the attic, you could go up there with a saw and cut all around the pipe and push the top part up and grab the snake right there.
     
  11. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Or use an old-time pipe cutter that can cut galvanized pipe if you have galvanized pipe.
     
  12. Tim Othy

    Tim Othy New Member

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    Dec 26, 2019
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    Well, we went to CA for a few days and sadly upon returning it wasn't magically fixed...so, up again I went to the roof armed with multiple tools and contraptions- please enjoy the pictures.
    Unfortunately, none of these worked...I could feel it and see it (if no tools were in at the same time), but just couldn't get it to snag in one of the traps or cinched in a loop. It's the lack of visibility that's making it near impossible! So, I've ordered an endoscope from amazon for $20 and will see if being able to visualize will help capture the end piece. I'm certain if I can see it, I'll be able to grab it and hoist it up the needed 4 feet.
    Keep you posted in a few days- thanks again and Happy New Year!
    IMG_2844.jpg IMG_2845.jpg IMG_2846.jpg IMG_2847.jpg IMG_2848.jpg
     
  13. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    img_1.png
    I would have run the cord through the big hole, and tape the noose in position outside loosely enough such that it could be tightened by pulling once the tube was over the snake.

    Place A is the tubing outside edge that you drag along the inside of the vent pipe to encircle the lost snake.
    D is a slip loop etc to let the noose tighten. D is on the inside of the tubing but at the place farthest from place A. B represents one of several pieces of tape or wax or whatever that will hold the string in place during insertion, but can release when the noose is tightened. Pull string C to tighten the noose after the chrome tubing is sufficiently over the snake.


    Your way probably works too.

    I don't understand the picture with the 3 screws. Is that the upper end that is covered in tape in later photos?
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
  14. socrates15

    socrates15 New Member

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    Location:
    New Orleans
    Use a fishing pole/line with a weighted hook

    (All my favorite lures seem to get tangled up... so I am sure it can snag your line)
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
  15. Tim Othy

    Tim Othy New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2019
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    SUCCESS!
    I used the outside of my pool brush cleaner and the same hanging frame wire as before. I had to go larger since it was further down than I originally thought (as I'm sure you understand better than me, looking down pipes distance is very difficult to gauge!). With the endoscope I was easily able to see the broken auger and just slid the post over the hole thing and then tightened my noose. It took 3 tries only because I couldn't figure out the best configuration to hold it (ended up w/ the nut on the inside of the pipe), but eventually I had it firmly and was able to gently raise it up without any resistance. Thank you for all your advice, it was appreciated!!!
     

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  16. Tim Othy

    Tim Othy New Member

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    *replying to previous post* The three screws were just in there to try and catch the cable w/ friction- it did not work. The 1st two photos were of that attempt, then I tried just a noose (middle photo), then the last two photos I added a metal spur to get it off the wall and then noose it. None of those worked because I was actually 2 feet away from the end of the broken auger...duh! Once I had optics on it, no problem!
    * & yes, that happens to me all the time fishing :)
     
  17. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

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    Repairing and remodeling homes
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    Go to the Ridgid plumbing forum . Look for Plumber Ricks reverse Auger . It will get it out for You. Good luck Sully
     

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